Windmill House

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by Sara Daly (1976)

The little red windmill house, for nearly 40 years a curiosity and delight to people in this area, is falling into ruin.

The Windmill House in 1976

It has been without a tenant now for over a year. The yard is tangled with weeds, the paint is fading, and the front door stands ajar.

Pink curtains still hang at some of the windows, but the floors are sagging and the rooms are bare, except for a few beer cans and cigarette butts -- left, perhaps, by a visitor who quickly moved on. It is sad to see, especially because it was a house built with great care.

It was built after World War I by a man and his wife as a refuge from the city. Willard Sneller had been gassed during the war and needed a place to convalesce. There he planned to breathe the country air, grow flowers, and get well. Although an electrician by trade, he was unable to work, and for a long time planning and building the house, and tending his nursery were his only occupations.

At first he and his wife, Sadie, lived on the land in a double garage while they built the house, and planted flowers and nursery stock. The Dutch windmill was built first. Later on, a kitchen, dining room, living room with fireplace, entry way, and two bedrooms were added.

Because of the hills to the north and the south, the windmill house also became a stopping place for people with car trouble. But the Snellers enjoyed people and didn't resent the intrusion.

The Snellers lived in the house with their two boys, Eugene and Donald, until Mr. Sneller died in 1942.