How Millstone Road Got Its Name

The iconic Wilton road has an interesting history.

Most would agree that Millstone Road has a gneiss ring to it.

But where did the name come from? Well, once upon a time Wilton boasted a thriving quarry industry. Not surprising given the enormous formations of gneiss and granite that run like rocky tabletops beneath the verdant landscapes.

Throughout the 1700s the town produced millstones for grinding rye and corn in local gristmills. The rock hailed from a quarry situated in Quarry Head once a 33-acre stretch of land owned by the Degener family, according to the Wilton Town website. The family summered in Wilton from the late 1920s through 1988.

But before that a thriving enterprise operated out of Quarry Head was the site of a thriving enterprise, said Bob Russell, Wilton's historian and author of "Wilton, Connecticut: Three Centuries of People, Places, and Progress."

People and business owners used the gneiss for steps and foundations. Even Singer Sewing Machine Company in Elizabeth New Jersey used Quarry Head stone for sills and lintels in factory.

 "The builders of the Brooklyn Bridge ordered granite from Wilton but transportation logistics prevented the quarry operators from accepting the order," Russell said.

By 1900s quarry work stopped. The industrial revolution was taking shape. Still if one looks carefully traces of quarrying remain. Here and there one can spot slabs of gneiss bearing drill holes or front stoops fashioned out of a single slice of granite.

So how did Millstone Road earn its name?

Like many towns, roads are named for people, such as Sturges Road; or bear Native American names, such as Pimpewaug Road.

According to town website and lore, someone once found a cracked and discarded stone from Quarry Head along the road. And people began calling the route the "Road by the Millstone". But Yankees, known for their brevity and wit, shortened it to Millstone Road.

The name isn't to be confused with Millstone Farm however. Jesse and Betsy Fink purchased the farm from Tony Grassi and chose to name it after the road, Russell said.

"Millstone Farm was Tito's dairy farm for many years," Russell said. "Vinnie Tito, our First Selectman from 1957 to 1969, used to leave his office to go home and milk the cows.  And that was only 50 years ago!"

How about you? Do you have pictures of the old mill? Tito's dairy farm? Or maybe ideas for future "As It Was" columns? Feel free to add them in the comments section or submit them to christian@patch.com!


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