The Gomez Mill House

After Hunter came the social activist and writer Martha Gruening, whose plan to open a libertarian school on the site never came to fruition. Gruening maintained a commitment to civil rights, and was an early supporter of the NAACP.

The last residents were the Starin family, who moved in just after World War II. They preserved the property, and in 1973 got it placed on the National Register of Historical Places. The property is now under the care of the Gomez Foundation for Mill House, a nonprofit organization.

Storm damage

Remnants of the lives lived at the house remain side by side on the site today. A centuries-old kitchen shares space with a mid-ninteenth-century one, and papermaking screens with a sewn-in wire watermark apparatus share a room with a hidden storage closet, possibly used during Prohibition. Books, toys, furnishing, handmade stained-glass windows made by Hunter, and even a charming seahorse doorknocker, seemingly out of place in a northeast structure but with a story attached, link the lives of the people who were here.


A press (above) and type (below left) used by Hunter. (photo by Will Dendis)

More than just chronicling the everyday life of these people, though, says Ruth Abrahams, the historic house represents a cross-section of different movements in this country that underlie our history. “Gomez was here in the Colonial period, when people were exploring and utilizing the natural resources to build the country,” she says. Gomez quarried limestone and milled timber on the land, materials floated down the Hudson to construct early New York City to the south.

“The Revolutionary period and the founding of the country is represented with Acker,” Abrahams adds. “And the Armstrongs signify the time of the Fulton steamboat, people coming up to the Hudson Valley for recreation and conservation. And the great orchards that were laid at that time.”