By Matt Grech, Roslyn Times
The historic Roslyn Grist Mill in the Village of Roslyn will be restored to its original state thanks to a $500,000 grant to the Roslyn Landmark Society from the State Parks Department. Jay Corn, Roslyn Landmark Society secretary, said the group intends to use the money it received in December to restore the mill as closely as possible to its original condition.
“The plans are to keep it as authentic as possible,” Corn said. “What we’ve been doing up to now has been stopping deterioration as much as we could, and just trying to preserve what’s there so we had something to restore.”
The mill, which is located on Old Northern Boulevard, is believed to have been constructed as early as 1715 and has gone through a number of iterations since.
“We think that it’s the only example of Dutch grist mill in America,” Corn said.
The society has already taken steps to restore the structure, which had concrete placed over its copper siding in 1915.
“First thing we did was take that off, that in itself stopped the rot and mildew,” Corn said.
From 1916 to 1975, the mill operated as the Roslyn Mill Tea House, a local restaurant, according to a press release from the society announcing the grant.
Corn said the mill has been boarded up and closed to the public ever since the Tea House closed.
The mill was acquired by Nassau County in 1976, and in February of this year it was nominated as one of two buildings representing Long Island’s heritage deemed to be at risk, according to the society’s release.
The Landmark Society had raised concerns about the future of the mill after Hurricane Sandy.
“When Sandy went through, we had an exceptionally high water mark,” Corn said. “[The mill] was flooded at that time and we were wondering ‘how many storms can this building take?’ It certainly wasn’t getting better. The time has come where we’re either going to risk losing it or fix it.”
Corn said the mill shares a similar stature to that of the Roslyn clock tower, and even predates the original tower.
“It will be quite an example of a working grist mill,” Corn said. “At the time, that was really the hub of all framers [in Roslyn].”
The Roslyn Landmark Society was originally founded in 1962 by Roger Gerry, who purchased homes and buildings to be restored with his own money, Corn said.
“We always had some money that Dr. Gerry left towards the restoration,” he said. “We have grant money from the Gerry trust and we will be doing substantial fundraisers going forward to help raise money to restore mill.”
The Landmark Society will be hosting their first fundraiser on Jan. 21 at Diane’s Bakery in Roslyn.
In addition to these funds, the landmark society and the Village of Roslyn are currently working with Nassau County to obtain $250,000 from the Environmental Bond Act previously setup for the project, the release said.
Corn said he hopes to open the mill to the public after the restoration.
“When we get it completely restored what’s the purpose of the building other than historic significance,” he said. “I feel these buildings have to have a purpose, if they don’t have a purpose they deteriorate from day two.”
The Roslyn Landmark Society will be hosting a meeting on Dec. 16 to further discuss restoration plans for the mill.