|Dexter's Gristmill, Sandwich, MA|
|Another view of the mill|
Most gristmills are so picturesque you'd think you are looking at something out of a Thomas Kinkade painting. You can find 18th century gristmills throughout several states in the east, but not all of them still work. This one does work, however, and it is fabulous!
Not only that, you can order organic cornmeal ground from this mill every fall. But you have to hurry, because from what I understand supplies are limited. (Contact the Sandwich Chamber for more information.)
So, the pictures are lovely from the outside, but what about the inside? How did it work?
|The inside! At the top, you can see the large granite millstone.|
Well, gristmills are typically near a water source--as this one is. Thomas Dexter built this gristmill next to Shawme Pond, and constructed a small dam near the edge of it. (Pictured at the bottom.)
The dam forces the water to flow over the large outer wheel and cracks it, which moves the large wheels/gears that are inside the mill. (pictured below.) Those inner gears move the large and very heavy millstone (pictured above) which grinds the grain into flour. Pretty simple, right?
|Large inner-gear that is moved by the outer wheel.|
|View of the small dam in front of the gristmill|
I am fascinated by this kind of historic site--I just wish I could have seen it when it was in its prime! But I am very happy that there are people interested in restoring and maintaining sites like this for myself and others to enjoy. I didn't get to see it in action, but it sounds like it is quite a production.
So have you ever visited a gristmill? If so, which one and what did you think?