A Millstone lives in Waterville
There is a millstone in the Witte Memorial Herb Garden at the Robbins House Museum. Tom Parker tells us that it was found in the ground when two houses were torn down on Second Street to make way for the new (at that time) town hall. It was moved to the WHS property when the cobbler house was moved. This millstone most likely came from the Pekin Mill when it was torn down. June Huffman in her book “Shades of Providence” notes that in January of 1917 workmen were busy removing machinery and equipment at Pekin Mill. The Millstone could easily have been rolled the short distance to the rear of the Second Street property.
This millstone has been the object of much attention recently. The Cleveland Museum of Natural History has been interested in cataloging our stone since June 2014, with several contacts and requests for information but no follow-up. They are studying millstones around the state of Ohio. This June, they again made contact and wanted to set a date to come to Waterville and study our millstone. On June 4th Dr. Joe Hannibal and his intern Tyler Mahoney met with Bob Chapman, Jim Conrad, John and Verna Rose at the Robbins House to examine and measure our millstone. They were mostly interested in its origin. It seems that many millstones are made of chert imported from France, deemed to make the best millstones. Others may be made of a similar material mined in Ohio at Flint Ridge. They differ by the type of fossils found in the stone and Dr. Joe has published his findings on this in scientific journals. They have determined that our millstone is made of French chert. The stone was imported and then fashioned in a millstone probably in Cleveland. Dr. Joe says that a whole millstone was charged an import duty or tariff but raw stones pieces were not. The photo shows our stone is an assembly of multiple pieces. The millstone is 43 inches in diameter, 7 inches deep and bound with an iron band around the outside. Waterville Historical Society has kept a sheet metal cover over the stone to protect it from the weather and other possible damage.