Old Stone Mill



Many people may have never heard of Newport's mysterious Stone Tower, known locally to Rhode Islanders as the Old Stone Mill. For Newporters the Stone Tower, situated off historic Bellevue Avenue in Touro Park, needs no introduction and, indeed, those who know it may have taken the Tower's presence for granted. But how many people are aware that a controversy has surrounded the Old Stone Mill for centuries? Numerous theories regarding the Tower’s origin have been proposed, studied, supported, and discounted by countless people. 


In an attempt to provide a framework for the controversy, this Finding Aid presents a selection of materials about the Old Stone Mill. It is in no way meant to be all inclusive nor does it take a stance on one particular theory over another. To simplify the search for information, the Finding Aid is divided into five sections: Norse Theory, Colonial and/or Arnold Theory, Additional Theories, Newspaper Stories, and Literature and Music. 


Over time the two main theories concerning the origins of the Stone Tower have continued to be the Norse Theory and the Colonial/Arnold Theory. Therefore, materials supporting these theories have been listed in their own separate sections. Neutral histories of the Stone Tower and a wide variety of origin theories can be found under Additional Theories. The section Newspaper Stories demonstrates Newport's never-fading interest in the site. The Literature and Music section lists literary works and a musical composition pertaining to the Tower. A representative sampling of literary and non-fiction texts about the Old Stone Mill as well as a selection of images – from artistic renderings (both accurate and inaccurate) to photographs and post cards – complete the Finding Aid.


The print version of this publication is available from Redwood Library, and we invite you to purchase copies for your library, as gifts, and for schools. Should additional materials about the Old Stone Mill be brought to our attention, they will be included as this website is updated. Please contact us via e-mail redwood@redwoodlibrary.org 


This Finding Aid is for everyone with an interest in art, architecture, culture, civilization, and history. Scholars, researchers, the casual tourist, and the novice historian are sure to find materials listed here that will encourage further exploration into a fascinating and provocative topic.

I.M.H. and C.-A.G.


Researcher Ingrid M. Hattendorf
Editor, Hard Copy Design and Layout, Additional Research Christian-Albrecht Gollub
Stone Mill Site Design Myles Byrne
Project Managers Marilyn D. Curtis, Cheryl V. Helms
For their assistance during the preparation of the manuscript, special thanks to

Robert Behra

Lynda Bronaugh

Linda Gordon

Maris Humphreys

This publication is made possible in part by a grant from the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

© 1998 Redwood Library and Athenaeum