Lincoln monument gets makeover

LINCOLN — Once again, the Chase Purinton Monument on Quaker Street in Lincoln looks picture-perfect for all of its leaf-peeping admirers.
The foundation of the 107-year-old monument was crumbling and in need of repair earlier this year when Pete Mikkelsen, the owner of the former Chase Purinton farmstead, decided it was time to take action. The two old millstones inscribed with words commemorating the first Lincoln town meeting held on the spot, were lifted and a new concrete base was created for them.
“The project was skillfully overseen by neighboring land owner Mikkelsen,” Jim Brown, a Purinton descendent, wrote in an e-mail describing the recent work. “A job well done!”
Mikkelsen contacted a number of local businesses that offered their services at a discounted price.
“The project was completed on a very meager budget, thanks to the generosity of some local, civic-minded businesses,” Mikkelsen said.
JP Carrara and Sons of Middlebury, Sargent Construction of Lincoln and Acker Excavating Company of Bristol all contributed to the pouring of a new cement base to the support the two, 4,000-pound millstones that formed the original platform.
The millstones were taken from the Chase Purinton Grist Mill 107 years ago to hold up the stone that commemorates both the location of the first Lincoln Town Meeting — held in 1798 — and the 100th anniversary of the Purinton’ family’s arrival in Lincoln.
Members of the Purinton clan still regularly celebrate their family heritage — Mikkelsen said that the Purinton family descendents are ranked second in the “Guinness Book of World Records” for having held 136 consecutive reunions.
The family still owns the monument, according to Mikkelsen, though Lincoln residents and tourists often attribute it to the town.
“It’s actually a major tourist attraction,” he said. “The leaf peepers like to stop and take pictures of it with Mount Abe behind.”
Before the new base was poured, students from the Lincoln Community School created a time capsule and buried it beneath where the monument would stand. The students wrote predictions for what they believed life would be like in the future.
“It was pretty funny what they came up with,” Mikkelsen said. “One boy predicted that there will be no more schools in the future, because ‘knowledge will just be poured in.’”
While the students did not place a time limit on their capsule, Mikkelsen says it will be a long time before anyone will be digging up the predictions.
“It’s impossible to say when or for what reason someone would be working on the monument again,” he said. “The original base lasted 107 years, so this one should last at least 300.”
Tamara Hilmes is at [email protected].

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