Cape Cod Windmill
This "Tower" windmill from West Yarmouth, Massachusetts on the north side of Cape Cod, was originally constructed in the 1600s and moved to Greenfield Village in 1936. It is said, that this is the oldest windmill in the United States.
The windmill had many owners and was operated in three different locations to grind corn. The Farris family, one of the many owners, ran this windmill for three generations.
Windmills were an early power source in America. The top of the mill (the turret) revolves, by the large wooden arm and wheel (fantail) located at the back of the windmill, to keep the sails pointing into the wind. This way the wind from any direction could be used to run the millstone for grinding grain.
Hundreds of "Tower" windmills like this one dotted the landscape along the east coast of colonial America, where strong ocean breezes provided wind force to turn the heavy wooden sails. When revolved by the wind, the sails drove three half-ton millstones located on the second floor.
When brought to Greenfield Village, the Cape Cod Windmill was put on the stone base for safety
purposes to raise the sails.
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