WILLIAMSBURG — Early risers were in for a treat Monday morning as The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation (CWF) transferred the main body of its two-story windmill through the streets of downtown Williamsburg at approximately 6 a.m.
The 28,000-pound mill house traveled on a flatbed truck from its previous site near the CWF’s Visitor Center to its new location at the intersection of Francis Street and Bucktrout Lane.
The foundation decided to move the windmill “to improve visitor access to the iconic landmark and to create a more engaging and immersive guest experience around 18th-century farming,” according to a news release.
The process to move the windmill to a new location began in Spring 2022, but was delayed due to a structural issue found when disassembling the mill. This newly found issue required repairs to the structure.
CWF says that the mill house was the final piece of the windmill to be transferred. The sails, tailpole, trestle, and the king post were previously moved to the new site.
The windmill was constructed in 1957 and is based on 1636 Bourn Mill in Cambridgeshire, England. Originally, it was located behind the Peyton Randolph house. In 2010, the windmill was moved behind the Visitor Center to be a part of the Great Hopes Plantation.
“Unlike familiar smock-style windmills, in which the sail assembly rotates to face the wind independent of the structure’s base, the Colonial Williamsburg windmill is a “post” windmill: the entire two-story mill house and sail rotate together atop a post-and-trestle base. A miller rotates the structure to the wind using a wheeled tailpole boom that protrudes from the house,” according to the news release.
Windmill measurements, according to Colonial Williamsburg:
- Main or post height: 18 feet
- Mill house height: 25 feet
- Assembled house height: 36 feet
- House Weight: 28,000 lbs.
- Sail Span: 55 feet
- Millstones’ Diameter: 3 feet
- Combined millstone weight: 2,500 lbs.