The New Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library
"Cornerstone of the Community"

04 October 2006

Another mystery...

The day was young when the giant excavator uncovered a brick raceway deep in the bowels of the new library site. The machine backed off and workers with shovels opened the entrance. It was dark and damp inside. At least three old pipes, leftovers from now-gone mills, ran through the raceway.

``Water or steam,’’ clerk of the works Dan Joubert said of the largest one. The other two may have been for electrical wires. Further investigation would provide the answer.

The workers poked around in the brown earth, and the sound of metal-on-metal was heard. They had found an old tank – whether for water, or oil, or something else, was an issue to be resolved.

``Every time we put a bucket in the ground we come up with something else,’’ said Joubert.

The people who show up regularly to watch the diggers from behind the chain-link fence can see the evidence – growing mounds of old stone, granite, bricks, concrete, pipes, metal, and old timbers. The rocks, bricks and stone will be crushed and used for fill beneath the library. Most of the rest will be recycled. Those old timbers, for example – they’re southern yellow pine, perhaps 100 years old, and they will be shipped to Spain – yes, Spain – where they will be cut and sold for flooring.

The diggers went back to work. More buried mysteries remained on the site, where the first mill opened at least as far back as 1852.