Stones don’t talk, but they do tell stories—at least where I live. Throughout my hometown of Collinsville, Connecticut are many large, rounded stones with something to say to those curious and alert. Though brought here from afar, they are so common and familiar that few residents think about them. Regardless, they are essential to a place whose namesake Collins Company, founded in 1826, once made it the world capital of axe, machete, and edge tool manufacture, a status impossible without the ubiquitous grindstones. They persist fifty years after the company’s 1966 closure.
I find grindstones in building foundations and stone walls, stacked as piers beneath porches, used as a base for sign and light posts, appearing in gardens and landscaping, as steps, or affixed with a plaque and used for commemorative purposes like the marker identifying a Charter Oak descendant growing beside the post office. About fifty stones form the floor of a Riverton Inn dining room in nearby Barkhamsted.