Monthly Archives: June 2014

Shupe Grist Stone Dedication

On June 28, 2014 a group of family, friends, and Museum associates gathered to officially dedicate the grist stone we acquired in September 2013, which originally came from Jacob Shupe’s grist mill (c. 1813).  Special thanks to Diane Nahorn, Museum director of refreshments, who organized and prepared food and space for this grand event!

Col. Nahorn dedicates the grist stone to Jacob Shupe and to his drive and initiative to start business endeavors in what would become early Amherst.

Col. Nahorn dedicates the grist stone to Jacob Shupe and to his drive and initiative to start business endeavors in what would become early Amherst.

Below is the text of the speech that Col. Nahorn delivered to the group, as he stood beside the preserved grist stone.

Shupe Grist Stone DedicationJune 28, 2014
“We are here today to dedicate a very important early Amherst artifact at the New Indian Ridge Museum, Historic Shupe Homestead, and Wildlife Preserve.
Two hundred years ago Jacob Shupe began operating his grist mill and saw mill, across the road from his house.
Today, we stand in the shadow of the Shupe Homestead, constructed about 200 years ago, and beside one of the actual grist mill buhrstones that was used in pioneer Shupe’s grist mill.

One of the first grist mills in this area was started by Amherst’s first settler, Jacob Shupe, about 1813. Long gone is the grist mill structure itself, and the mill race that helped to power this early business venture was filled in some sixty years ago. Beaver Creek still flows near the site of the old mill; today, its water power much diminished as compared to the days when it powered the mill. 

The only remaining remnants of the old mill are notations in our history books and two granite grist stones that were used in the milling operations.
Many years ago one of these grinding stones or mill buhrs was mounted on a large piece of cut sandstone and placed in the front of the old Central School here in Amherst. It had been in that location for almost eighty years. 

After completing extensive research on the stone, we learned from multiple sources that this stone originated from Shupe’s grist mill, once located across from his house, on the south side of Cooper Foster Park Road. In a September 6, 1934 “Amherst News-Times” article, it states, “The front of the school grounds has been beautified with the erection of an old mill stone.

“The stone was taken from the old mill on the Holstein road. It is believed to have been the top stone of the corn grinder. The mill was in operation about 70 years ago and was run by waterpower.

“The base of the stone was donated by the Cleveland Quarry Company.”

In another “Amherst News-Times” article, from September 22, 1939, entitled, “Not Native Stone in School Yard,” we learn that then school superintendent, Mr. F. R. Powers, was “active in securing the stone for a monument.” He stated that the stone “is a corn grinding mill stone… It is said to be part of the mill Jacob Shupe, pioneer settler, built on Beaver Creek just south of Foster Park-rd. A. Nabakowski contributed much of the labor in setting the stone up in the school yard.”

The stone is in fact the runnerstone, or the one that rotated atop the bedstone, which was stationary in the mill floor. These stones had to be dressed regularly, and they sat, literally, a hair apart from each other, so that the cut grooves could act as scissors in a way, to grind the grain. The stone itself is granite, and was a large boulder, or glacial erratic, which would have been found near the Creek and fashioned into a millstone on-site, probably by Jacob Shupe himself. 

We give a special thank you to Sprenger Health Care for their choice in donating this very important piece of early Amherst history to the New Indian Ridge Museum and Historic Shupe Homestead, so that it may be permanently preserved here at Mr. Shupe’s homestead, directly across the road from the grist mill site. 

We also thank Mrs. Wendy Dolyk for her efforts in working with Sprenger Health Care, on behalf of the Museum, to secure this artifact for preservation. It would not have been possible without her diligence in this matter. 

On September 12, 2013, a team from the New Indian Ridge Museum successfully removed the grist stone and sandstone base and delivered it to the Historic Shupe Homestead. Paul Lutz operated the machinery, and Bill Nahorn aided in directing the operation. Thank you also to Zack Dolyk for aiding in setting the stone in its new home. 

After arriving at Shupe’s Homestead with his stone, I removed a lead plate that had been placed as a buffer between the stone and its base. Underneath, the date of 1934 is clearly visible along with a couple of other markings and letters. This is another exciting find within this very important early Amherst artifact.

We recognize Mr. Fred Powers, who was with the Amherst Schools for many years and responsible for securing the stone as a monument at the old Central School and for his foresight in preserving the stone, where it stood for 79 years. If it had not been for his forward-thinking, it is very possible we would not have this stone today, once again, back at Mr. Shupe’s homestead. 

Now, let us officially dedicate this grist stone to Jacob Shupe and to his drive and initiative to start business endeavors here, in what would become early Amherst. 

Thank you for coming.”
Folks gathered during the grist stone dedication.

Folks gathered during the grist stone dedication.

Jean Rounds, Museum Official Photographer, and Col. Nahorn, Museum Director pose for a photo in front of the Shupe grist stone.

Jean Rounds, Museum Official Photographer, and Col. Nahorn, Museum Director pose for a photo in front of the Shupe grist stone.

Col. Nahorn with Museum Trustees, Diane Nahorn and Bill Nahorn at the dedication.

Col. Nahorn with Museum Trustees, Diane Nahorn and Bill Nahorn at the dedication.

Col. Nahorn with Museum associates and friends.

Col. Nahorn with Museum associates and friends.

Col. Nahorn and Mark Haff compare desserts during the event.

Col. Nahorn and Mark Haff compare desserts during the event.

Col. Nahorn with Museum contributor and Lorain County historian, Jeff Sigsworth converse before the dedication.

Col. Nahorn with Museum contributor and Lorain County historian, Jeff Sigsworth converse before the dedication.

Amherst Town Hall Celebrates 130 Years

Amherst historians gathered on the steps of the Amherst Town Hall – at the ‘Sandstone Center of the World’ – to commemorate the building’s 130 year “birthday.”  Below is a brief history of the structure and the significance of our event.

Amherst Historians gather at the Amherst Town Hall to celebrate 130 years of history. Photo courtesy Tim Branscum.

Amherst Historians gather at the Amherst Town Hall to celebrate 130 years of history. Photo courtesy Tim Branscum.

Amherst Historians Mark 130 Year Anniversary of Town Hall
June 25, 2014
Col. Matthew W. Nahorn, Director, New Indian Ridge Museum; Curator Committee & Board of Director, Amherst Historical Society

We as Amherst historians, stand on the steps of the Amherst Town Hall to mark its 130th year anniversary of construction.


The Amherst Town Hall, built of native Amherst sandstone and situated squarely in the center of the Sandstone Center of the World, is a bold reminder of our town’s sandstone heritage, which transcends history.


The Town Hall, built in 1884, replaced a wooden structure that actually still stands today. Early Amherst settler, Josiah Harris, donated land for the present building.


Judge Josiah Harris, who could be termed the founder of the downtown Amherst area, permanently settled here in 1818. The first Lorain County sheriff, a mayor of Cleveland, and a politician who served at the Statehouse as a representative, Harris was a philanthropist, who donated land for the early Amherst schools and the Town Hall.


Known as the town ‘commons’ area, when Harris donated the land for the Town Hall, it was an empty lot that had only been cleared of trees. It remained this way, empty, for many years, because of a deed restriction that Harris had placed on the property.


Justice of the Peace Harris had stipulated that the Town Hall, to be constructed on the land he donated, had to be of native Amherst sandstone. This project cost substantially more than an ordinary wooden structure, and thus Amherst voters repeatedly voted down a levy to build such a structure.


By 1884 funds were approved, and the heavy blocks of sandstone were laid into place. From historical archives of newspaper articles, we learn from one article dated, July 3, 1884, that James Nichols of Amherst was awarded the contract to construct the new town hall. “The building is to be 50 x 83 feet. Contract price: $17,070. Ground was broken for the foundation this morning; the time for completing the hall is limited to Dec. 25, 1884.”


This year, 2014, we as Amherst historians are marking the 130th anniversary of this historic building’s construction. Nothing major is planned, other than gathering here at the front steps of the building that represents Amherst’s sandstone heritage, in order to commemorate this anniversary and rightfully recognize Amherst as the “Sandstone Center of the World.”

Old Spring Restoration Continued (2)

On Saturday, June 21, 2014 Col. Nahorn, Old Spring steward, and Bill Nahorn, Museum building and grounds, accomplished a major portion of the Old Spring restoration project.  They worked on restoring the Old Spring stone basin, which had fallen into disrepair in recent years.  Before and after views may be seen below.  The original fieldstone backdrop was completed in 1914 for Amherst’s Old Home Week celebration.  See Amherst’s Old Spring page on this website to learn the full story of this Amherst landmark.

Old Spring basin as seen in disrepair before restoration began.

Old Spring basin as seen in disrepair before restoration began.

Old Spring basin after restoration.

Old Spring basin after restoration.

Another view of the restored stone basin.

Another view of the restored stone basin.

The stone basin as seen from the front.

The stone basin as seen from the front.

Trees Added to Arboretum

This early summer season (June 2014) we have added some great new specimens to the Historic Shupe Homestead Wildlife Preserve’s Nahorn Arboretum.  These include a Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), Tamarack (Larix laricina), Umbrella magnolia (Magnolia tripetala), and American holly (Ilex opaca).

Tamarack planted at the Arboretum.

Tamarack planted at the Arboretum.

Umbrella magnolia and American holly awaiting planting.

Umbrella magnolia and American holly awaiting planting.

Quaking aspen planted at the Arboretum.

Quaking aspen planted at the Arboretum.

CMNH Studies Shupe Grist Stone

Dr. Hannibal (holding measuring stick) and his team from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History visit the Historic Shupe Homestead to study the Jacob Shupe Griststone.  Col. Nahorn joined in the photo as well.

Dr. Hannibal (holding measuring stick) and his team from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History visited the Historic Shupe Homestead to study the Jacob Shupe Griststone. Col. Nahorn joined in the photo as well.

The grist stone that was used in Amherst’s founder Jacob Shupe’s grist mill, now preserved at his Homestead and New Indian Ridge Museum, was the subject of a study June 13 by Dr. Joe Hannibal, Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and his team of interns.

Dr. Hannibal is studying millstones, more specifically their material and whether they were locally quarried or imported from France.  His study in this area originally began through a survey of old gravestones.

“Chert,” Dr. Hannibal stated, “became the favored stone type after locally found granite was used.”  He stated that this local granite most likely originated as “glacial erratics” from Canada, being pushed here during the last Ice Age glaciation event.  During his time here at the Homestead, he described his study, telling us that tiny fossils found in French buhrstones were unique to material found in that region and could be differentiated from more local sources, because of the presence or absence of those indicator fossils.

Dr. Hannibal studies the make up of the stone with a hand lens.  It is a granite, which originated from Canada and was pushed here during the last Ice Age.

Dr. Hannibal studies the make up of the stone with a hand lens. It is a granite, which originated from Canada and was pushed here during the last Ice Age.

After a couple of hours spent thoroughly studying the stone, using hand lenses, determining the stone’s makeup, and taking precise measurements, Dr. Hannibal confirmed our research that this stone was carved from a large glacial erratic boulder that originated from the Canadian Shield.  It was pushed down here during the last Ice Age Glaciation event, and later Jacob Shupe chose this stone, found along Beaver Creek, out of which he carved this mill buhr.   It is runnerstone, which sat atop, nearly touching, the stationary bedstone that rested in the mill floor.  Shupe’s mill, the first in this section of the county, was started c. 1813.  

The team studying and documenting the stone.

The team studying and documenting the stone.

An abbreviated tour of the New Indian Ridge Museum was taken, before the research team had to leave to study another mill stone at another site in the Western Reserve.  We thank Dr. Hannibal and his team for coming out to view the stone and look forward to the future published data.

Taking final measurements.

The interns take final measurements.

3rd Room to be Added to Museum

June 11, 2014: The New Indian Ridge Museum will be adding a third room in the coming weeks.  Our collections and display space have outgrown the two rooms (originally opened in 2000, second room opened in 2002).  We are pleased and excited about this new space to showcase and preserve local prehistoric and historic artifacts.  We already have two cases from Col. Vietzen’s Indian Ridge Museum, in storage, that will be restored, for this new area, along with a few other things, awaiting this new space.  Check back often for future details and news.