Be the Biggest Fan

The Old East Mill was built in Orleans, MA in 1800. This smock-style windmill has quite a history, having passed through several owners and surviving multiple moves before landing in its present day location at Heritage Museums & Gardens in the fall of 1968. As we approach its 50th year at Heritage, we’re asking for your help to restore this iconic piece of Cape Cod history, so that it can be enjoyed for generations to come.

What is the Old East Mill?
The Old East Mill is the last remaining of many smock windmills built in Orleans, MA. It was constructed from timbers of solid pine and oak left over from the remodeling of the Congregational Meeting House in Orleans. The Reverend Jonathan Bascom, minister of the Congregational Meeting House in Orleans, donated the timbers to build a windmill on Snow's Hill, right off of Main Street on Great Oak Road. The mill ground corn, barley, rye, and salt. It was used during the Civil War to grind corn for the Union Army. The mill stopped grinding in 1893, when it became less expensive to buy flour produced by mills in the western United States.

The Old East Mill was first moved in 1819, bringing it from the top of Great Oak Road to the hill overlooking Meeting House Pond-- closer to the tremendous grain producing areas of Pochet and Barley Neck - and to boat landing sites in Orleans. During this move, it was dismantled and carried by an ox team across town. Throughout its working lifetime, it passed through the ownership of over ten individuals before going to auction in the 1960s. In the fall of 1968, the Old East Mill began its final and greatest journey, traveling disassembled, in four pieces, from Orleans to its current location on the grounds of Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich. This trip spanned over thirty-two miles and took ten days to complete as each power line along Route 6A needed to be raised by hand for the mill to pass underneath.
While at Heritage, the mill was modified to grind corn with the assistance of an electric motor. In 1989, due to structural weakness, the mill ceased operation and was closed to the public. The windmill was extensively restored in 1999 and 2000. In the winter of 2014, structural issues were discovered with the blades of the windmill. For safety, the rotted remains of the blades had to be removed. We’ve researched the history of the Old East Mill, and have created a plan to preserve its look from the 19th century.Why do we need your support? In order to restore the blades to our beloved Old East Mill, we’ve taken many factors into account. In addition to planning blades that are the right shape and size for the period, the Old East Mill’s blades are vulnerable to the variable New England weather, from scorching sunlight to driving rain and snow. Because of this, the blade planning and installation team will work to make sure that future damage can be prevented before it can cause long-term harm to the mill.

We need your help to ensure that this restoration happens. With your help, we will be able to restore the blades of the Old East Mill, providing the opportunity for generations of visitors to admire it, learn a little bit about our Cape history, and maybe even take a selfie with it in the beautiful flower garden where it is now the centerpiece!

What’s in the budget?
· Costs for materials, tools, and historic preservation carpenters for the restoration work – this includes research, construction, and installation of the new blades
· Repair to the area around the mill damaged by the re-installation.

What are the rewards?
Thank you for joining us in restoring the Old East Mill blades to celebrate its 50th year at Heritage. Because you are helping to restore the Old East Mill to be enjoyed for generations to come, we'd like to thank you with these exclusive rewards: · Your name displayed on our Be the Biggest Fan acknowledgment plaque at the Old East Mill for its 50th year at Heritage;

Gifts of $100+: 
Be the Biggest Fan tote bag. Take this tote with you everywhere to show your proud support of Heritage Museums & Gardens.

All gifts are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Please allow up to six weeks for delivery of physical reward.

About Heritage Museums & Gardens

Mission: Heritage Museums & Gardens celebrates American culture and inspires people of all ages to explore, discover and learn together. We do this through excellence in horticulture, garden design, outdoor discovery and the exhibition of great collections.

Established in 1969, Heritage Museums & Gardens is the largest public garden in Southern New England, one of the top-25 museums in Massachusetts, and the premier cultural attraction on Cape Cod. 

Heritage Museums & Gardens offers 100 acres of family fun! The grounds include three galleries and expansive gardens. Annual special exhibits highlight American art and aspects of American culture.

The gardens feature internationally important collections of rhododendrons, including those created by Charles Dexter, who did his ground-breaking plant hybridizing work here. Their typical bloom time is from Memorial Day Weekend to mid-June. Other horticultural areas of interest include the country’s most comprehensive collection of hydrangeas, a collection of over 1,000 varieties of daylilies, hostas, herb, and heather gardens, and more than a thousand varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers along beautiful and easily walked paths.

A labyrinth designed by Marty Cain, one of the best-known labyrinth designers in North America, provides a shaded tranquil spot for contemplation.

The Special Exhibitions Gallery is a replica of the Revolutionary War building known as The Temple of Virtue, located in New Windsor, New York which is known as the location where George Washington bestowed the first Purple Heart to a wounded soldier. The 2017 season will features Painted Landscapes: Contemporary Views from April 15-October 9. 

The American Art & Carousel Gallery houses our working 1908 carousel manufactured by Charles Looff. In addition, this gallery hosts The Heritage Collection, an exhibit of American art and artifacts that tell stories of our country’s people, including a charming collection of military miniatures.

The Automobile Gallery includes an impressive collection of American automobiles within a replica of the Shaker Round Barn from Hancock, Massachusetts. The gallery includes cars loaned by area collectors, providing a glimpse of rarely seen autos of interest.
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Heritage Museums & Gardens 
Sandwich, MA
Heritage Plantation of Sandwich, Inc. (Heritage Museums & Gardens) 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.