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Dec 6, 2011 3:22 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Hook Mill Expected To Glow For The Holidays In East Hampton

Dec 6, 2011 5:54 PM

Hook Mill in East Hampton Village will be lit for Christmas this year, thanks to a huge assist from John Hummel Jr., whose workers started shingling the windmill free of charge on Friday.

The sails of the mill are traditionally strung with holiday lights, but they were removed in 2010 when a restoration of the landmark began. Last year a miniature replica of Hook Mill, dating back to an East Hampton Town anniversary celebration, was placed in the front of the original, and its sails were illuminated instead.

Restoration work on Hook Mill is coming to a close, but village officials feared that the work would not end soon enough. The “little tyke,” as Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. fondly refers to the replica, was already strung up, plugged in, and lit up for this holiday season. “We are hedging our bets,” the mayor said last month.

Mr. Hummel passes Hook Mill on his way to and from work on Route 114, he explained Friday, and had hoped to see it back in action again this Christmas. “The village came to us to ask if we would bid on it,” he said, “and we decided that we would donate our time, the labor and everything, to get it done.” He and Bruce Rambold, also of John Hummel Custom Builders, offered to do the reshingling about three weeks ago.

“We just had to wait for the guys to finish up the sheathing,” Mr. Hummel said Friday of the men from the East Hampton Village Department of Public Works. “They finished yesterday, and we jumped on it today.”

The shinglers continued to work through the weekend, and early Tuesday morning Mr. Hummel was able to report, “Everything’s going well. ... It should be buttoned up probably by Thursday, the end of the day,” even with rain called for on Wednesday.

“And then, when he’s done, the crane will come again to put the sails on,” Robert Hefner, the village’s historic preservation consultant, explained last Friday. Bistrian Materials sent a crane to Hook Mill this Monday, for free, to put the sail stocks back on while Mr. Hummel’s men continued to shingle. Village Administrator Larry Cantwell said the hope was that the sails would go back on Friday or Saturday of this week.

Before the restoration project was started, the mill had been listing and floorboards were popping up. Mr. Hefner said on Friday that Richard Baxter, who did the restoration work, had maintained “the level of timber framing craftsmanship of Nathaniel Dominy,” who built the windmill in 1806. “The workmanship is very, very nice,” Mr. Hefner said.

Before parts of the mill were disassembled, Jonathan Yuska, who has since retired from the village’s Public Works Department, “took everything off and marked it and covered it so that it did go back together,” Mr. Hefner said.

Now the windmill’s machinery is back inside, “every floorboard is back where it was” and the public works crew “even found the nail holes” from the original sheathing, said Mr. Hefner, who also praised Scott Fithian, Paul Anderson and Rob Aldrich of the Public Works Department.

“It looks very good in terms of getting shingled and getting the sails on and the Christmas trees lights on it before Christmas,” said Mr. Hefner, who had not sounded very optimistic back in October. On Friday he predicted that lights would be glowing warmly on Hook Mill’s sails “by the end of the week of the 12th.”

“A lot of it has to do with the great gift and generosity of John Hummel,” he said.

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Well done to all involved. Thank you to John and historian materials for the final push at no charge. That is the holiday spirit. Now I WILL make it a point to drive through the village on my way home every night. The village is truly beautiful at this time of year and the hook mill caps it off. Thank you
By tito (56), e hampton on Dec 6, 11 6:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thanks John
By Jac-man (22), Southampton on Dec 6, 11 8:04 PM
Way to go Mr. Hummel! Thanks
By Talbot77 (53), southampton on Dec 7, 11 9:05 AM