PRESCOTT – The historic tower at Windmill Point will continue to brighten our winter sky for a while longer.
The 20 windows that sparkle with colored lights have drawn delighted response from viewers on both sides of the St. Lawrence.
“We’ve received wonderful reaction since the moment we switched them on in early December,” beams Jim Devenny, chair of Friends of the Windmill, the volunteer group that maintains the tower and grounds. “Even Ogdensburg residents tell us they’re a great attraction.”
The tower about a kilometer east of Prescott is marking the 180th anniversary of the Battle of the Windmill for which the site became famous. At the time of the bloody clash between Upper Canadians and several hundred American invaders, the windmill was at the centre of the tiny community of Newport. Only one home from 1838 remains today.
The windmill became a lighthouse, guiding traffic on the St. Lawrence until it was decommissioned in 1976.
Now a national historic site, the stone structure remained closed until “The Friends” brought it to life for visitors 20 years ago. Last summer they restored the ‘beacon’ at the top, improved the surrounding picnic area and continued development of a nature trail along the river.
“It’s great that this has become an off-season attraction,” observes Devenny. “We’ll keep the lights on each evening at least to the end of February.”