About This Location
The Chatham Windmill, also known as the Godfrey Windmill, is a cherished historic landmark located in the charming town of Chatham, Massachusetts. Nestled in the picturesque setting between Shattuck and Gristmill Lanes, this wood-frame windmill stands proudly on a bluff overlooking Mill Pond on Chatham's southern side.
The Chatham Windmill boasts a distinctive three-story structure with an elegant octagonal shape that gracefully tapers upward to a gabled crown. Its exterior is adorned with timeless wood shingles, exuding a rustic and classic charm. The cap of the windmill features slightly bent side faces and proudly displays wind vanes, adding to its traditional character. Entranceways can be found on both the northern and southern sides, while small windows on the second level allow glimpses of its historical interior.
The windmill's rich history traces back to its construction in 1797 by Benjamin Godfrey. Initially erected on Stage Harbor Road, it served as a vital resource for processing maize. In 1955, this iconic structure found its way to its current location after being generously donated to the town of Chatham. The Chatham Windmill's construction techniques bear the hallmarks of its builder's origins in the southeast of England, a testament to its enduring craftsmanship.
Throughout its operational years, the windmill dutifully ground grain, playing a crucial role in the community's sustenance. However, in 1907, a severe storm took its toll on the windmill, causing substantial damage. Despite undergoing restoration efforts, it faced another setback in 1929 when heavy weather once again damaged the structure.
Today, the Chatham Windmill operates as a seasonal museum, offering visitors a captivating glimpse into its storied past. The town employs a dedicated miller who occasionally uses the windmill to grind grain, keeping its historical significance alive. The Chatham Windmill is truly a must-visit destination in Chatham. Conveniently, there are 20 parking spaces available on Shattuck Place, offering free parking and proximity to the windmill. An additional six parking spots on Cross Street, at the entrance to Chase Park, provide easy access to this historical gem.
In recognition of its profound historical and cultural significance, the Chatham Windmill was honored with a listing on the National Register of Historic Places on November 30, 1978. This prestigious designation signifies its enduring importance and contribution to the heritage of Chatham and the nation at large, preserving its legacy for generations to come. The windmill's reference number is 78000421.