LIC millstones Blog

To Protect and Preserve

The Tide Mill Institute Lends Their Support!

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The millstones in question are treasures of New York’s early industrial history and as such should be preserved in a secure environment with appropriate interpretative, educational information for the public.

It is rare for tide mill millstones of any sort to be preserved complete–and not be shattered, or destroyed. It is rarer still for any such millstones to be associated with a 17th century mill. The Jorissen artifacts must be one of the earliest such tidal millstones in the United States, if not in the Western Hemisphere.

Since 1631, tide-powered water mills were used in Boston, New England and New York to grind grain, cut lumber, grind spices, make snuff, pound iron, and do a thousand other heavy labor tasks that made America the great Nation it is today. These “tide-mills” also supported maritime commerce that linked emerging metropolitan centers along the entire Atlantic Coast. In New York, being given the privilege to build these mills was the historical event that launched your city to greatness–a fact acknowledged by two flour barrels on your city’s coat of arms.

The TIDE MILL INSTITUTE, established in 2008 by Boston’s Dorchester Historical Society was formed to help preserve America’s great tide-milling history and heritage. We believe it important that relics, photographs and memories of America’s hundreds of ancient working tide mills be preserved and used appropriately to inspire and educate new generations.  As such, we vigorously support any action to preserve, display and interpret these stones, preferably in a museum environment.

The TIDE MILL INSTITUTE urges all municipal, county, regional and state entities to join with the Greater Astoria Historical Society, and to support their efforts to host the millstones in a temporary exhibit where their history can be on display for the community. This is the best place to give local residents a better understanding of their heritage and where the millstones themselves could be best made available for historians and scholars to study them.

The TIDE MILL INSTITUTE  is opposed to the questionable proposal to drill holes in the millstones, to mount them on pedestals, or to leave them outdoors in the center of a busy transit hub where they would be exposed to the elements, vibrations, and vandalism. There is abundant evidence that such treatment has already deteriorated their fabric. We believe those plans would place these millstones in serious long–term jeopardy  

The TIDE MILL INSTITUTE believes they should be permanently displayed in a museum–like setting within the community. The historical society and the local community, which in one form or anther, have cared for these stones for over 350 years, should both be regarded as the primary stakeholders in making this determination for a final placement.

The TIDE MILL INSTITUTE urges city and state commissions and elected officials to cut through whatever stands in the way of honoring the heritage of New York’s colonial past and save the Jorissen millstones. We urge the media in New York to play an important role in celebrating your city’s incredible heritage and to stand with the Greater Astoria Historical Society and the local community in their efforts to save these irreplaceable artifacts.

For further information please contact:

The Dutch Kills Community Millstone Blog:

Greater Astoria Historical Society:

The Tide Mill Institute:


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