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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Visit Historic Sandwich's Dexter Grist Mill

One of the first grist mills on Cape Cod is located right here in Sandwich Village and just across the street from our bed and breakfast. You can visit the mill during the summer months to learn about a little piece of Sandwich history and watch as they grind corn just as it was done in the 1640's.

Gray grist mill with pond and trees.
The mill got its' name from the Dexter family, which was one of the original ten families to settle in what is now Sandwich in the year 1637. They built the mill as a community resource to grind corn for making bread. During this time in history, corn was a main staple for families trying to survive in the harsh new world of New England.

In 1640, the mill was located at the bottom of lower Shawme Pond so that the water power could be harnessed  to drive the paddle wheel. After being idle for decades, an historically accurate restoration began in the 1960's. The process returned the mill's machinery to the earliest type used in this country. It is once again driven by water power from the adjacent pond.

As you tour the mill and watch as its' work is performed, it is difficult to imagine the effort and skill required during the 1600's to create the massive, grooved, grinding stone and mechanical leveraging necessary for the grinding process.

The Dexter Grist Mill stands proudly today as a memorial to the early inhabitants of Cape Cod and their creativity and determination to survive. It is one of the most photographed sites on the Cape making it the Cape's own Motif #1.

The mill is located adjacent to the Sandwich Town Hall in the heart of historic Town Hall Square and is surrounded by 17th and 18th century homes. One of these restored homes is the 1750 Inn at Sandwich Center where we proudly welcome guests and even on occasion serve Rosemary Roasted Corn Muffins made from cornmeal ground at the Dexter Grist Mill.

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