Construction on Roslyn Grist Mill’s new foundation to commence in July

Construction on Roslyn Grist Mill’s new foundation to commence in July
Roslyn Landmark Society Board President said construction on the Roslyn Grist Mill's foundation will commence later this month. (Photo courtesy of the Roslyn Landmark Society)

Roslyn Landmark Society Board President Howard Kroplick said renovations to the Roslyn Grist Mill, made permissible by $350,000 in community and private donations, will begin later this month.

The funding will allow for a new foundation to be constructed, which will then permit the restored and new timbers to be re-erected. This is part of the effort that returned the building to street level.

Kroplick spoke on the advantages the restored structure will provide to the community in a presentation to the Long Island Region Economic Development Council.

“The completed restored Roslyn Grist Mill will serve as an educational center and will be an attraction to the residents and tourists to Long Island,” Kroplick said. “The building will provide historical, early industrial and educational opportunities as well as advance economic investment and growth in the area.”

The first donation was the result of two match-challenge campaigns, which raised a total of $100,035 from the Roslyn Landmark Society’s preservation fund, membership, sponsors and Roslyn High School students.

The second also came from an organization close to home. The Gerry Charitable Trust awarded the project $250,000 for restoration efforts. This trust had been established by Peggy N. and Dr. Roger G. Gerry, founders of the Roslyn Landmark Society and longtime advocates for Roslyn’s restoration and preservation efforts.

After over 40 years of planning and four years of fundraising, restoration began in 2018, highlighted by the lifting of the building above street level on Jan. 23, 2020, in preparation for a new foundation.

As a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, work was halted in March of that year. Construction resumed in August of last year and fundraising efforts are continuing.

“Investing in the revitalization of the Roslyn Grist Mill capitalizes on Roslyn’s history and culture while enhancing the surrounding neighborhood,” New York state office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said. “I’m grateful Gov. Cuomo is helping to provide the tools to revitalize this one-of-a-kind landmark on Long Island.“

“I am confident that Roslyn’s Grist Mill will soon become an educational beacon on Long Island, teaching locals and visitors alike about our region’s unique story,” Long Island Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and Long Island Association President Kevin Law said.

A rare surviving Dutch framed watermill built between 1715 and 1741, the mill acted as Roslyn’s economic foundation for centuries. It was converted into a tea house and museum in 1920,  remaining open for 54 years before it was closed and ownership was transferred to Nassau County for a future restoration.

The completed building will be transformed into an educational center and serve as an attraction to residents and visitors to the historic Village of Roslyn.

To date, $3.5 million has been raised to restore the grist mill, with grants and donations coming from New York state, trusts, Nassau County, the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation and the Roslyn community. The landmark society estimates that an additional $2 million will be needed over the next two years.

The funding, officials said, will be used to create sidewalks and handicap-accessible entrances to the building, restoring and reinstalling a husk frame, creating a new water wheel, developing interior finishes and electrical finishes, and more.

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