Register Editorial Photo

About a year ago, William "Speedy" Denny walked into The Register to tell us about a project he was working on.

It's the not the first time -- nor will it be the last, we hope -- Speedy has shared something like this with us.

This time, Speedy had an idea for a park showcasing Richmond and Madison County's history. Not just any history, but to showcase millstones.

What's a millstone, one might ask.

Well, millstones were essential components of local grist mills that were used to grind grains and other materials contributing largely to rural economy and industry. Mills provided a place where local farmers could bring their wheat or corn and have it ground for bread or corn bread.

Speedy approached Richmond City Manager Rob Minerich with an idea to donate his millstone collection to give the green space at 224 E. Main St. an identity. Part of the reason was the park was right next to the location of the first grist mill in Madison County at the corner of Collins and Water streets.

Fast forward several months and not only is that idea a reality with the creation of Millstone Park, but it has spawned an upcoming 2020 event -- the Millstone Festival.

Set almost exactly a year after the park's opening, the city's first Millstone Festival is set for Oct. 3, 2020. And it will feature food vendors, a beer garden, arts, crafts, a 5K race and live entertainment.

"It is going to be fun. We really are going to try and knock it out of the park," Minerich told The Register.

He added the festival would close down Main Street from Third Street to Collins Street and include First and Second streets over to Irvine Street by the county courthouse.

Speedy said while the millstones aren't objects of beauty, they are part of the first industry that rolled into Madison County.

"These are the earliest artifacts from the very beginning of the county's history," he said.

And now, area residents and visitors will be able to see that history on display in downtown Richmond for years to come.

It's amazing to think a simple idea of displaying a collection of millstones has spawned so much, including a festival.

It's also a reminder that citizens can make a difference in their community. All of this started with one citizen's idea. We hope others take notice and are willing to share their thoughts. You never know, they might just turn into a park or a festival.

React to this story:


Recommended for you