Antietam Mill cornerstone gets fresh look, new home

September 14, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE
  • Jack Smith, left, and Rich Gaver talk about the Antietam Mill Co. cornerstone now on display at Funkstown Town Hall.
Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

FUNKSTOWN -- Funkstown residents can see a heavy piece of the town's history at Town Hall, thanks to Town Councilman Richard L. Gaver.

Gaver recently cleaned up the cornerstone to the Antietam Mill Co. and, using oak from his grandfather's Funkstown-area barn, built a frame to display the heavy stone.

"I'm real pleased with what he's done there," Jack Smith said of Gaver's work.

Gaver learned about the cornerstone after talking to Smith, a former Funkstown postmaster and fire chief, about the town's history.

"Jack is the foremost authority on Funkstown history," Gaver said.

Antietam Mill stood along Antietam Creek, behind what is now the Funkstown fire hall, Smith and Gaver said. According to the cornerstone, the building was constructed in 1867.

In September 1929, the same month Smith was born, the mill burned, Smith said. At the time of the fire, the building was in disrepair and was no longer being used as a mill, he said.


Smith said the mill is not to be confused with another mill that was upstream.

Gaver and Smith have images of the building showing it as a flour mill.

One image Gaver has shows a picture of the building in Funkstown. Nearby is a bridge across the creek. The image refers to the building as the Antietam Flour Mill, which produced High Life Flour. Gaver also provided an image of a sales ledger for The Antietam Mill Co. that lists High Life, White Rose and White Fawn flours.

Smith said the flour mill later was converted to a paper mill.

Smith was Funkstown postmaster more than 25 years ago when he and a customer were talking about history. The woman told him the mill cornerstone was embedded in her late aunt's concrete sidewalk on Hamilton Boulevard in Hagerstown's North End.

With the family's permission, Smith said he paid to have someone cut the cornerstone out and repair the walkway.

"I got it and brought it back to Funkstown, which is where it belonged," said Smith, 80, who still lives in the Funkstown area.

The rectangular cornerstone sat in Town Hall for years, often stored behind a door.

After learning of the cornerstone through a conversation with Smith this past spring, Gaver found the cornerstone behind a door at Town Hall.

He cleaned some concrete off the stone, from when the stone was part of the sidewalk. Then Gaver sanded the stone and applied three coats of sealer.

Wanting to give it a historic look, Gaver didn't use any nails in building the frame. Instead, he used spline joints in which the wood fits into a groove in the adjoining piece of wood.

Gaver presented the framed cornerstone to the mayor and Town Council during its August meeting.

The white cornerstone is about 2 1/2 inches thick, 27 inches wide and 20 inches tall, Gaver said. The stone weighs about 100 pounds; about 250 pounds with the frame, he said.

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