Jonathan Young Windmill

Circa 1700

The Jonathan Young Windmill is historically unique, with all of its early parts and machinery intact, far more than many others which have been substantially altered through restoration efforts.

Authentically restored by volunteers working with the Orleans historical Society over a two year period, the Windmill was built in the early 1700’s in South Orleans. In 1839 it was moved to overlook Town Cove on the present site of The Governor Prence Inn.

Water power was first used to turn millstones to grind grain. With the shortage of fast running rivers and streams, Cape Codders turned to the wind for power.

Author/naturalist Henry David Thoreau was fascinated by our windmills: “Being on elevated ground, and high in themselves they serve as landmarks – for there are no tall trees.”

In 1990 the Orleans Historical Society donated the Windmill to the town as part of the “Town Cove Park”. The Windmill is open to the public, June through September.

Historic Markers

Placed around town at sites of historic significance are markers. The “anchor” marker is located in front of Snow Library, and in three panels, tells the story of the town’s origins, founding, incorporation, and naming. Markers memoralize the coming of the railroad to Orleans, Rock Harbor Academy, the origins of Snow Library, the Old Methodist Burial Ground, the Old Post Office, and the Old Firehouse. Historic Markers depicting the Lifesaving Heritage of Orleans will be installed soon at Nauset Beach. To find the markers, see this map. To learn more about the historic markers project please visit their website.