Montpellier Dolby Hill windmill

The Oldest Windmills on St. Croix

The oldest windmills on St. Croix are identified by their depiction on the 1750 manuscript survey map by Cronenberg & von Jægersberg . While certainly animal mills were present on St. Croix during the earlier French period and perhaps even a water mill, scant evidence has surfaced of a windmill during that period that may […]

Windmill Towers Without a Bagasse Opening

While a windmill was operating, three main inputs and outputs needed to be managed by the people working there. The first was the harvested cane needed to enter the mill to be crushed by the rollers. The second was the juice needed to flow to a container, presumably on to the boiling house. The third […]

Highlight of print showing stairs leading to main entrance and worker loading cane into mill

Windmill Access Ramps: How Sugar Cane Entered the Mill

Access to the main entrance of the windmill was approached in different ways. While the mill was operating, people needed to access the mill along with sugar cane. The cane may have been delivered in bundles or in carts. In many locations, the entrance was flush with the ground west of the mill. When the […]

The ceiling of the basement under the working floor arches to support the tower above it at Two Brothers.

Basements Built Under Windmills

In some of the windmills built in the late 18th or into the 19th century, a basement space was built under the working floor of the mill tower. Advanced masonry skills allowed creation of basements that used less material than the solid fill under the working floor that was elevated by some 10 feet above […]

Window and hearth interior at Boetzberg windmill, facing east

Hearths in Windmill Towers

Why would the designers of a windmill bring fire into a mill? The benefits of a hearth must have been powerful, with the disadvantages including an increase of heat and potential for a destructive fire. In addition to requiring advanced masonry skills to incorporate a hearth, usually the flue passes over the machine slot, this […]

Boetzberg windmill interior looking west.

Windows in Windmill Towers

Windows are a notable feature that appear in a variety of locations, shapes, and sizes in some windmill towers. While not providing human access like the other primary windmill tower openings, windows provided ventilation and light to the mill’s interior. (Hearths may also have provided light.) We love feedback about the site and hearing from […]

Oxholm's Diagram of a Windmill

Openings of the Windmill Towers 

All windmill towers have openings to allow access to the working floor and allow materials to go into and out of the windmill structure. Openings have specific functions within the windmill. Each windmill has at least three openings and a variety of configurations exist. You can learn more about what this post does not include […]