One stone’s story
Here at the General Mills main office, hundreds of us walk past a heavy, hunk of history each day.
It’s an old millstone, about two-and a-half feet in diameter, placed on the side of a high-traffic walkway between two of our buildings.
A couple thoughts crossed my mind as I stopped to stare at it recently: Man, it would hurt if that thing toppled on a toe. And, I wonder how it ended up here?
I was curious to learn the stone’s story, so I looked into it.
In October 1937, our General Mills publication “The Modern Millwheel” included a brief blurb on the millstone. Back then, it had just arrived in the Jolly Miller room in the Nicollet Hotel in Minneapolis. Donald D. Davis, the president of General Mills, Inc., at the time, donated it to the hotel. The millstone was displayed in a mural showing some of the movers and shakers of the milling industry in Minneapolis in the late 1800s.
The newsboy included in the painting is Frederick G. Atkinson. He grew up to be a vice president at Washburn Crosby and General Mills, Inc.
We’re not sure how long the millstone was at the Nicollet Hotel, or where it went from there.
All we know is that The General Mills Archives reacquired it in 2004 to be put on display at our headquarters.
If you happen to know anything about its journey, we’d love to hear from you.
I just hope the millstone never fractured any feet during its travels.
Editor’s note: Have a question about General Mills’ history? Send our Archives team an email.
Visit our History page on GeneralMills.com for more information about our past.