Shingle All the Way

At long last, Hook Mill facelift is almost complete
A flurry of activity, if not snow, has surrounded the Hook Mill
Durell Godfrey

    A flurry of activity, if not snow, has surrounded the Hook Mill in recent days, as teams of workers donated time and effort to get the East Hampton landmark ready for the holidays.
    After more than two years of reconstruction and rehabilitation, the Hook Mill at the north end of East Hampton Village is being shingled this week, courtesy of John Hummel and Associates, a builder with offices in East Hampton.
    “The village provided the shingles,” said Robert Hefner, the village’s historic preservation consultant. “The Highway Department crew were going to reshingle the mill themselves, but with Christmas approaching and all, it was decided to put it out to bid. John Hummel stepped forward and donated the labor.” Mr. Hefner added that the builder’s largess saved the village thousands of dollars.
    Jim Field and Sons, a local painting company, has also offered its services free of charge and will paint the windows and the door once the tower is shingled.
    The shingling, painting, and then the replacing of the windmill’s sails is the culmination of an intricate and lengthy process of restoring the 19th-century landmark at the intersection of Montauk Highway and North Main Street, a structure that had not been seriously rehabbed since the 1930s.
    Richard Baxter and his crew repaired the frame. The village Public Works Department crew — including Scott Fithian, the superintendent of public works, along with Paul Anderson and Rob Aldrich — put back the sheathing and flooring, and moved the mill’s machinations back inside.
    The project took far longer and cost approximately $11,000 more than the $200,000 originally intended, as the walls revealed more rot and damage to the mill tenons, or joints, than previously assessed.
    The plan had been to splice new bottoms onto seven of the eight wooden tower posts that hold up the structure, “maintaining the same sort of craftsmanship as Nathaniel Dominy,” said Mr. Hefner, referring to Nathaniel Dominy V, a member of the famed East Hampton family of craftsmen and wood makers who built the mill in 1806.
    “On the northeast side,” said Mr. Hefner at a village board meeting in May, “the deterioration was worse than anticipated.” He described the discovery as “very frustrating.”
    With the repairs nearly complete, it looks as though the mill will be shingled by the end of this week, with the sails, or arms, being reattached and lined with the traditional array of lights in time for the holidays.