Friday, September 2nd, 2011
  • Pristine Ground
  • When we approached the site of the windmill on the morning of September 2nd, it was a perfect autumn day. The air was cool and the ground had recently dried from the assault by Hurricane Irene.

    The site was an empty slate and the months leading up to today were filled with registrations, evaluations and engineering design to demonstrate the stability (and survivability) of the structure on this site. Our success in reaching this point was especially due to several volunteers with highly specialized skills...

    We opened the day by assembling a wooden frame that identified the locations for the post holes and we marked the ground with red paint.

  • Breaking Ground... With a Vengeance!
  • Around 10:00 AM, our friends at Sunbelt Rentals delivered the bobcat and auger assembly to the site. Unlike the groundbreaking for the Fife and Drum Headquarters, the groundbreaking for the Yorktown Windmill was a more subdued affair - with little pomp and circumstance.

    What it did have, was an enormous drill bit

    The auger measured 24" across and plunged nearly five feet into the ground. Although the soil was tough, the auger made quick work of it and Daniel and Evelyn pulled the fresh dirt away from the holes with hoes and shovels. Notably, in an earlier incarnation, the windmill site was the home of a fuel depot. When the subterranean tanks were removed, the holes were filled with gravel and then covered with several feet of dirt. As the auger reached the four foot level, the sand and marl that had marked the early stages gave way to course gravel and stone...

    The going was getting tough.

  • Protecting the Holes
  • After the bore holes were completed, the next big step was to prevent the footings from caving in while we waited for site inspection. Fortunately, Dave Niebuhr, the Director of the Watermen's Museum, had four large rain collection barrels that filled the holes perfectly. The five remaing holes were filled with some decommissioned galvanized garbage cans that were loaned to us by Superintendent Dan Smith of the Colonial National Historical Park.

    After wrapping caution tape around the site and installing the construction sign that was produced by Joanna Griffin, it was time to clean up the site and get ready for the Labor Day Weekend.

  • Finishing Up...
  • At the end of the day, Dan Smith dropped by to help out and to inspect the project's progress. You'll note that at the beginning of the project, young Daniel barely reached the Superintendent's shoulder --- today they are almost the same height...

    It's been a long project, but we've all grown along the way. Some of us more noticably than others...

  • Volunteers
  • Thanks to everyone who came out to help with this part of the project...

  • Thomas Renzo
  • Jefferson Lab
  • Helmut Walter
  • Yorktown Rotary Club
  • Charles E. Newbaker, III
  • C.E. Newbaker Surveying and Planning, Inc.
  • Paul Hite
  • C.E. Newbaker Surveying and Planning, Inc.
  • William Wray
  • C.E. Newbaker Surveying and Planning, Inc.
  • Bill Riter
  • Yorktown Rotary Club
  • Joanna Griffin
  • Jefferson Lab
  • Superintedent Dan Smith
  • Colonial National Historical Park
  • Dave Niebuhr
  • The Watermen's Museum
  • Sunbelt Rentals of Newport News
  • Daniel Akers
  • Troop 123 of Seaford, Virginia - Boy Scouts of America
  • Evelyn Akers
  • Jefferson Lab/The Twisted Oaks Foundation
  • Walt Akers
  • Jefferson Lab/The Twisted Oaks Foundation

    For additional information, please contact Walt Akers.