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What’s the story behind the millstone in Bailey Theater Park?

Ben Steelman
StarNews
This millstone was held in storage by the city before it was placed in Bailey Theater Park. SI CANTWELL/STARNEWS

This millstone was held in storage by the city before it was placed in Bailey Theater Park. SI CANTWELL/STARNEWS

The stone has a rather mysterious history, according to local history librarian Joseph Sheppard of the New Hanover County Public Library.

The stone — actually a granite spur gear wheel — was in municipal storage for a number of years before Wilmington city officials placed it in Bailey Theater Park, 20 N. Front St, in 2010. Before that, clues are few.

The stone bears a faint inscription, “1820,” which might refer to the year it was cut, or which might be some sort of control number.

Legends have placed the stone in an old mill at what is now Greenfield Lake or as part of Pembroke Jones’ rice-milling operations in the 1800s. Neither tale can be confirmed or refuted.

In windmills or water mills, a gear spur wheel was mounted about the bevel wheel (or wallower) and was responsible for the drive to the larger millstones.

RELATED LINKS:

What is the history on the old millstone in downtown Wilmington? And why doesn’t it have a historical plaque?

What is the history of the Murchison Building in downtown Wilmington?

User-contributed question by:
Kitty Fitzgibbon

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