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 endeavor was filled in some sixty years ago. Beaver Creek still flows near the site of the old mill; its water power today 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 a granite grist stone that was used in the milling operations of turning wheat into flour.
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 there in that location for about eighty years. After completing extensive research on the stone, we learned from multiple sources that the 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, in part, “The front of the school grounds has been beautified with the erection of an old mill stone. It is much the same as the one on the library grounds only much smaller.
“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 water power.
“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 was not of native sandstone and that, “it is a corn grinding mill stone and is believed to have come from France. 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.”
From our research, it is believed 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. Both stones had to be resharpened or “dressed” regularly.
The Central School was closed in the late 1980s, and the property was sold. The mill stone remained on the old school grounds.
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. September 2013.
Below is the stone as it presently sets at the corner of the old Central School property in Amherst:
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, where the Museum is located. Paul Lutz operated the machinery, and Bill Nahorn aided in directing the operation. After arriving at the 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 that will be researched. This is another exciting find within this very important early Amherst artifact.
On September 14, 2013, the stone was moved into place at the Historic Shupe Homestead, where the sandstone base was placed on a large sandstone slab that we had salvaged years ago, where it was located in front of a local barn just down the road from the Homestead.