Published: July 18, 2017
CHATHAM, MASS. – In the late 1920s, Ellen Briggs’s great-uncle Herbert W. Briggs began collecting whaling ship artifacts, as well as old ship beams, ship’s knees and more – all used to build a windmill cottage. The landmark on Chatham’s eastern shoreline for nearly 90 years is being preserved, although in a new location.
The story of the historic and iconic mill, designed by architects Edward Sears Read and Charles Everett, is a long one, and was profiled in a July 1932 House Beautiful article, but, briefly, Briggs said she plans to move it to her current property nearby the waterfront site and embark on restoring it.
More recently, Briggs told the Cape Cod Chronicle that she and her sister spent many summers in the cottage until her great-uncle died in 1959 and the building went out of the family’s ownership. Although she still owns the nearby house that her great-uncle built in about 1948, until recently she hadn’t set foot in the windmill cottage since 1959.
Among the many interesting things Herbert Briggs had placed inside this mill was a ship’s figurehead, which “stood” over the fireplace. Unfortunately, during change of ownership, the sculpture was removed and then went missing.
“We are trying to find it, or at least learn all we can about whoever carved it and why,” said Briggs. “If we cannot locate her, we will have a carver replicate her. If anyone can offer any clues that would help us in our search, we would greatly appreciate it.”
Anyone having information to share is asked to contact Briggs at 561-141-5993 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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