Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Please Help Save The Jorissen Millstones, Gems of National Significance!

Rego-Forest Preservation Council proudly endorses the Jorissen Millstones Preservation Cause. The following is courtesy of Guest Writer & Preservationist Terence Bolger (

Colonial-era millstones have been in a sidewalk in Queens Plaza North, Long Island City for decades, but are endangered and need your help! They are known as the Jorissen millstones, which are a part of not only LIC history, but of Queens, NYC, NYS, and even National history. They are from one of the oldest mills in the area (possibly the oldest in Queens) - and the mills actually were the first economic engine of the state. As Bob Singleton of the Greater Astoria Historical Society points out, the barrels depicted on the NYS flag are flour barrels representing mill production. This was one of the earliest types of commerce to bring wealth to the colony.

Now as a reconstruction project takes shape, the Jorissen millstones are being stored on the construction site. In this photo, the millstone that was set in the eastern end of the median above, is said to be stored in a crate. We would like to have them temporarily moved (for their own safety and for the public good) to an exhibit space graciously offered by the Greater Astoria Historical Society. Some community leaders have expressed concern that we are trying to take the stones away from the community permanently. They are city property, and would be returned to Queens Plaza as soon as their pedestals are ready. We only wish to borrow them for study by experts, and for exhibit to the public for the approximately 2 years the construction is expected to last. No other institution is interested in doing so. Please see our dedicated blog to learn more and to sign the petition:

Also of great importance is to have the Jorissen Millstones designated as official NYC Landmarks, as they merit preservation for future generations through the Landmarks Law.

Please sign the following Petition to Protect The Jorissen Millstones, and inform as many friends and colleagues as possible. Time is of the essence!


  1. I have an update on this story:

    G.A.H.S. received a letter of support from William Payntar, a descendant of the last private owners of the millstones. You can read it here:

    I'd like to sincerely thank all of the members of the Rego Forest Preservation Council for thier support on this issue.
    Terence Bolger

  2. Thank you for your comment, Terence! It is a pleasure of Rego-Forest Preservation Council! The letter you received from William Payntar which explains how the LIC Millstones played a role in his family, strengthens the cause for designating them official Landmarks, and temporarily moving them to the Greater Astoria Historic Society for safekeeping and public appreciation until the redevelopment of Queens Plaza. Slowly but surely, the role they played in our Queens, NYC, and National history is coming to the forefront, and now we need our political constituency to step in.

    - Michael Perlman
    Rego-Forest Preservation Council, Chair