Roslyn Grist Mill Project
Roslyn Grist Mill is one of the few surviving examples of Dutch wood-framed industrial architecture in the United States. Built between 1715 and 1741, the water-powered mill operated for over 150 years providing the local farmers with ground meal or flour from their grain. President George Washington visited Roslyn on his historic 1790 tour of Long Island and met with businessman and mill owner, Hendrik Onderdonk. Washington wrote in his diary that he was “kindly received and well entertained” and the mill “seems to carry on with spirit and to profit.” From 1920 to 1974, the mill served as a tea house and popular tourist attraction. The building was placed on the National Historic Register of Historic Places in 1986.
The long-awaited mill restoration began in November 2018 under the supervision of the Roslyn Landmark Society. Chris Cole of Cole Engineering & Construction, a Vermont company specializing in historic structure restoration, manages the project. The work included safely staging the site, stabilizing the wood structure, mold removal, restoring power to the site, installing a temporary protective roof and removal of the front façade to re-establish the original form of the mill. The wooden “husk frame” which contains gears and shafts for driving and supporting the millstones were also removed for restoration. The first phase of restoration was completed in September 2019.
Over $3 million has been raised for the restoration by the Roslyn Landmark Society from New York State, Nassau County, the Gerry Charitable Trust, the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, and Roslyn Landmark Society’s sponsors and members. Once the restoration is complete, the building will provide historical and educational exhibits for the public to enjoy.
On January 23, teams of preservation specialists will raise the historic Roslyn Grist Mill eight feet off its’ current 114-year old foundation so a new foundation can be poured. While the mill is being lifted, workers will quickly add sections of timber cribbing to account for the additional height. Upon completion of the foundation and timber restoration later this year, the mill will be lowered four feet to street level in order to provide safe public access to the mill in its’ future use as an education center. It will be the first time the building will be at street level in over 100 years.