Work begins on large restoration project at Philipsburg Manor


Friday, 10/14/2016 4:45pm

Visitors to Philipsburg Manor this summer may notice a flurry of activity taking place around the gristmill. The first stage of an ambitious multi-million-dollar project is under way, an undertaking that will eventually restore the gristmill’s waterwheel, flume, roof, and adjacent wharf, as well as the iconic pedestrian footbridge over the millpond. When the work is finished, this 1750s provisioning plantation will once again function at its full operational capacity.

The focus this summer is on the mill’s waterwheel and flume. The flume is the wooden chute that carries water from the upper mill pond, past the dam, and into the lower mill pond, powering the gristmill’s waterwheel in the process and driving the shaft that turns the grindstones. Over time, the force of the rushing water, combined with the freeze and thaw of harsh winters, have resulted in serious rot and deterioration of key elements of these structures (see image at right).

The flume, its cribbing, and its structural supports are being restored along with the waterwheel so that the gristmill will once again work to grind wheat and corn as it did when the Philipse family owned the property. Contractors will build a temporary platform to give them access to the structures (see image at right), as well as a sandbag barrier to give them a dry place to work. Once this is done, workers will dismantle and rebuild the structures with restoration-appropriate materials in keeping with historical standards.

Work on the flume and waterwheel is expected to be complete in late August or early September. In the meantime, visitors to the manor will get a first-hand look at a historical restoration project in progress.

Support for this stage of the project is generously provided by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

What's next?

The next stage of the project includes restoration of the gristmill’s roof and the wharf, followed by the footbridge reconstruction. 

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