The town of Brewster is known as “The Sea Captain’s Town,” due to its rich seafaring history and elegant homes built in the 1800’s by wealthy sea captains, who chose this scenic bayside town as their home. Brewster was named after Elder William Brewster, one of the original pilgrims aboard the Mayflower, and was settled in 1659 as part of Harwich. Brewster officially separated from Harwich in 1803.
In early Brewster, as in many Cape towns, mills were at the center of commerce. A grist mill, a fulling mill (where wool fabric was pre-shrunk), a carding mill, and shops offering dry goods, provided local jobs and a place to sell goods brought in by ship.
The Stony Brook Gristmill was built in 1873 on an original fulling mill foundation with recycled lumber from a dismantled salt works. (Salt-making by solar evaporation thrived along Brewster shores from 1800 to the 1850’s. When cheaper sources of salt were discovered, the industry died.)
The mill is open to visitors Saturdays during the Summer.