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!
Below is the text of the speech that Col. Nahorn delivered to the group, as he stood beside the preserved grist stone.
“We are here today to dedicate a very important early Amherst artifact at the New Indian Ridge Museum, Historic Shupe Homestead, and Wildlife Preserve.
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.”