The Spocott Windmill

Brief History

The Spocott Windmill
The Spocott Windmill is a reconstruction of an English Post Mill that was built on this property around 1850 and which blew down in a blizzard in March of 1888. The original mill was built by John Anthony LeCompte Radcliffe, who settled at Spocott in 1848 and maintained a shipbuilding operation with 2 of his brothers during the mid-Nineteenth Century. His son, George L. Radcliffe, was 11 when the original mill blew down and dreamed that one day he would rebuild his father’s mill. The steps and millstones from the original mill were saved.

Stairs from Original Mill

Stairs from Original Mill

After a successful career, including 2 terms in the US Senate, George L. Radcliffe returned to his dream of rebuilding the mill. In 1971 he formed the Spocott Windmill Foundation and commissioned master boat builder James Richardson and his son-in-law, Thomas A. Howell, Jr., to rebuild the mill. A site was chosen at the head of Gary’s Creek on the Little Choptank, about 100 feet from the location of the original mill. The mill was then built and dedicated on August 22, 1972.

Post Mill

Post Joint

The mill is a post mill, meaning that the entire mill structure sits on a pole supported by 2 crosspieces. This allows the entire 2-story building, with blades, shaft, and stones, to be turned into the wind. Extending out from the building is a tailpole attached to a wheel. The pole passes through the staircase up to the mill; this staircase acts as an anchor, and can be lifted. Once the stairs are lifted, the entire mill can be turned by one individual by rolling the wheel across the ground.

The blades are attached to a windshaft, and this is in turned connected to gears which direct the rotation to the upper millstone. All of this is found on the second story of the mill.

Shaft

Windshaft and Gear

Gears

Spocott Windmill Gears

Gear and Upper Millstone

Gear and Upper Millstone

Grain is fed down a chute through the upper millstone and ground by the rotation of the upper stone on the stationary lower stone. It falls into a bin on the lower floor. The coarseness of the ground meal can be controlled by raising and lowering the bottom stone. This can be done with a brake wheel which, when turned, raises or lowers the bottom stone.

Brake attached to lower millstone

Brake attached to lower millstone

Wheel which raises and lowers lower millstone

Wheel which raises and lowers lower millstone