The windmill “Mó da Praia” (“Millstone of the Beach”)
Windmills are a card-to-visit the island resulting from bygone times when the Graciosa Island was considered the “Azores Barn” for its extensive production of cereals.
In our days the mills no longer have their original use and many were being adapted as housing. The “Mó da Praia” was one of the last mills to grind cereals on the Island, as of the death of Manuel Frutuoso Vasconcelos Moniz (its former owner), on 18 February 2002.
The name given to the mill ( “Mó da Praia” ) refers to an indispensable artifact to the miller activity (the “Mó” – millstone) and also to its excellent location next to the only beach with sand in all the Graciosa Island, in the village of “São Mateus (Praia – Beach)”, located at the foot of “Caldeira da Graciosa” (Graciosa Caldera).
The windmill recovery project began in 2009 with the purpose of preserving its architectural characteristics to the maximum. Some pieces and utensils used in the milling activity were also recovered, for future memory.
The recovery process started by the dome (or canopy), which was built by traditional processes by the last master of the Island with the necessary specific expertise, Mr. Agostinho Borges Silva (whose fruitful age was already over 80 years).
The old annex where was installed the engine (powered by diesel) that allowed the alternative of grinding without the use of wind, allowed the construction of access by internal stairs to the body of the mill. The annex has been expanded to contain the social area with modern features, composed by living room, kitchenette, toilet and a wind sheltered outdoor terrace by a long wall. Next to the stairs you can see a section of the tunnel through which they passed the straps that connected the wheel motor to the grinding part, which was recovered and is on the ground floor of the mill on exhibition.
Evolution of the mill recovery:
Aspects of Architecture Project: