By Toby Kissam
The surviving 1825 "Eagle" that stood above the "sails" on the Daniel Sammis Saw Mill.
The year is 1826:
Daniel Sammis (1787-1869), a 5th generation Sammis in Huntington, erected a large and unusual saw mill, powered by wind, in 1825. It was described as “The most conspicuous building in the place.” One of his clients was Carman Smith. A circular dated December 21, 1826, and issued by the proprietor, stated the purpose for which the mill was built.
Sammis designed and built this unique mill, possibly from earlier Dutch examples in New Amsterdam. Built on the ridge, north of Main Street, between West Neck Road and Wall Street, in 1846 the mill was moved closer to Main Street into what is today a municipal parking lot across from the Post Office. In 1867, a hurricane blew off the circular carousel structure that powered the mill and its wind directional, breaking one of the eagle’s wings. The building was used after as a barn until it was torn down in the early 20th century.
Henry Lockwood (1838-1901), a grandson of Daniel Sammis, whose family owned the marble foundry next door and whose mother was the daughter of Daniel Sammis, recalled when he and his friends, as young boys, would climb the circular structure and “ride the wind.” Although considered dangerous, reportedly no one was seriously injured. Late in his life, Henry drew the sketch of the mill for an article in the Brooklyn Eagle.
In 1923, the Lockwood House was torn down and the “Eagle,” although damaged during the 1867 hurricane, was donated to the Huntington Historical Society and is today the symbol for the Society. You can visit this almost 200-year-old artifact at the History and Decorative Arts Museum in the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Building on Main Street.
The 1895 sketch of the saw mill done by the grandson of Daniel Sammis, Henry Lockwood, for the article in the Brooklyn Eagle.
This blog has been written by various affiliates of the Huntington Historical Society.