Bronson Windmill // 1894

Located in a more rural part of Fairfield, Connecticut, I drove past this massive tower just off the road. Intrigued, I doubled back to find out what it was, and learned it was once a windmill! The over eighty-foot tall shingled tower was constructed in 1894 as part of a large country estate. Frederic Bronson (1851-1900) was a prominent, gilded age lawyer in New York City. He accumulated massive wealth representing many elite families, eventually becoming a member of the “Four Hundred”, a list of the 400 most powerful (rich and connected) people of New York society. In the early 1890s, Bronson constructed a summer estate in Fairfield, CT, known as Verna Farm. A part of this estate the windmill which pumped water from a well 75 feet below ground into a 7,500-gallon wooden storage tank inside the tower. The estate eventually became the Fairfield Country Day School, and the windmill (no longer in use) was gifted to the town. Eventually, it was leased by Sprint, and the telecommunications firm restored the windmill and installed a cellphone tower in its interior.

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