February 2 - 1919: High price of grain brings windmills out of retirement

1997: Feds stop poisoning our sea gulls on Monomoy
Windmill on the Eastham Green. Photo by Maggie Kulbokas.

1919: The day when high grain prices put the windmills back to work

On this day in 1919, as reported by The San Antonio Light under the headline:

Old Cape Cod Windmills
Doing Their Bit

The windmills of Cape Cod are coming into their own again. Some of the mills, which closely resemble those of Holland, were built more than 150 years ago. At that time they were used to grind grain, and it is the high price of grain that brings them back to a new life.

In the early 1870s the mills did their duty in pumping saltwater from the sea into large vats, where the salt was scraped from the boards after the water evaporated. Not long after, a new process of making salt was discovered and the salt industry of Cape Cod declined.

Some of the mills were demolished. Some were left standing and in recent years many have been purchased by summer residents to serve as ornaments on country estates. A few that have survived Cape Cod easterly storms are awakening from their half a century sleep and will grind meal for farmers.

1997: U.S. halts poisoning of sea gulls on Monomoy

On this day in 1997 the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has halted the poisoning of sea gulls at a wildlife refuge off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, a practice that had brought protests.

A tern count on Monomoy south of Chatham. Photo courtesy of Audubon.

Ronald Lambertson, regional director of the Federal agency, gave Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, the news in a letter that was made public late Friday.

"Many citizens on Cape Cod were disturbed greatly by our gull poisoning actions in 1996," Mr. Lambertson wrote. "The Service has decided that gull poisoning in 1997 is canceled."

The service poisoned sea gulls as part of a four-year program to protect the roseate tern and piping plover, two endangered species that gulls were crowding out at the Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.

But public outrage has forced the service to return to its old method of killing gulls: shooting them.

The old method ''did not generate significant public concern or controversy,'' Mr. Lamberston said.

Mr. Kennedy commended the service, saying the poisoning program ''jeopardized the thriving tourism that is the heart of our Cape Cod economy.''  

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