Gomez Mill House
Marlboro, NY - May 1, 2010
Sixty miles north of New York City is Gomez Mill House in Marlboro. (No, it’s not the same “Marlboro Country” in the cigarette ads.) The house was built in 1714 by Luis Gomez, a Jewish immigrant who fled the Spanish Inquisition in Europe. He quarried limestone and milled timber there for a living and used the house as trading post for goods arriving via the Hudson River.

The house was then bought by Wolfert Acker in 1772 who turned it into a center for the Revolutionary War, America’s fight for independence from Britain. It was a time of suspicion and treachery as one could not tell who was loyalist (one who wanted to remain a colony of Britain) and who was revolutionary (one who wanted independence from Britain). Acker built a peephole on the front door (about the size of copy paper) to see who’s coming -- friend or foe -- whenever hooves were heard galloping to a stop just outside.

Anyway, the tour was informative especially for me who didn’t know what “loyalist” meant. There was just my family (of four) and another group of three women (“golden girls” :)) in the tour.

At the start of the tour I told the guide we’re into photography. You can say it was my way of saying not to expect much from us as we were there mostly to take pictures and not really to learn about the place’s history.

Going around the different rooms I took pictures while the guide spoke. I used whatever support I could to steady my shot -- tabletop, chair, top edge of door, bed frame, etc. -- being very careful not to knock things down especially when propping my camera on top of antique furniture.

At one point the guide sounded apologetic for not having enough light on one of the displays. He pointed out some markings on the ceiling where spotlights would be installed. I thought he didn’t have to tell us that. What we didn’t know couldn’t hurt us.

Often I’d wait until the group moved on to another room so I and my daughter (who is now also into photography) could be left alone and take pictures of the room sans tourists. I tried to hurry my shots so I can rejoin the group not really to learn more about the place but to give the guide peace of mind that I wasn’t breaking (or stealing) stuff while I was out of his sight.

It turned out I need not have worried. After a while when I rejoined the group in another room, the guide asked me, “Did you get enough pictures of the last room? When we are done with this room you can take pictures here.”

Needless to say I was surprised and thought the gesture accommodating. At the time he said that, whether I meant to or not, I was beginning to get a real sense of what life was like during Revolutionary times. And learning about the place’s history just got a boost in the arm knowing, too, that the guide took special pride in teaching it.

Click on a picture to enlarge.
Gomez Mill House.
Mill Road.
Mill and dam.
Waiting for the tour to start.
Guide with a group of three women. (“The Golden Girls”. :))
Living room.
Exposed beams add character to the house.
Painting of unknown woman. It was found in the property. The woman may at one time or another have been an occupant of the house.
Documents pertaining to denization of Luis Gomez.
Dining room.
Upstairs hallway. Glass case shows archaeological finds in the property.
Back of house.
Mill and bridge.
Mill window.
Mill door.
View of house from mill.
BACK TO: Home Gallery