Inside the Jamestown Windmill

The 1787 structure received a few much-needed upgrades after a two-year pandemic-induced shut down.

Photography by Wolf Matthewson.

The pandemic took the wind out of a lot of sails, Jamestown’s included. For the last two years, the 1787 structure has stood tall and still on Windmill Hill. The stay-at-home order shut it down first, then it self-shuttered for extensive repairs to the wind shaft, which shares space in the windmill’s bonnet with the sprattle beam, drive shaft, brake wheel and wallower, pictured here. As the interior mechanisms were renovated, the Jamestown Historical Society decided to repair the exterior wooden sails, as well, “although one wouldn’t wish for a pandemic to do this work,” says historian Rosemary Enright. The $35,000 project, funded through investments and a windmill endowment, is set to wrap up in the spring, and the scenic white cloths will catch a breeze in time for the first Windmill Day in three years on July 23. Thereafter, Enright anticipates smooth sailing at the site. “I’m crossing my fingers as I say that,” she adds – along with the rest of us.