NORWAY — The man who initially suggesting the town take possession of the Indian Rock said Thursday the "real" one is probably long gone.
"I'm pretty sure they destroyed it," said Jerry Ellingwood, of Harrison Road, who drove to the site Thursday where he first encountered the so-called Indian Rock in the 1970s. When he got to the site on Route 117 he found the ongoing Department of Transportation road reconstruction project but not the Indian Rock.
Town officials apparently moved the wrong rock during a month-long effort to save the Indian relic and placed it at the Lake Pennesseewassee picnic area, Ellingwood said.
Ellingwood said he was shown the "real" rock by a nearby neighbor in the 1970s while surveying the road for the state DOT. He described it as a rock with a small hole, no larger than the circumference of a two-liter soda bottle, buried about 6 inches under the gravel shoulder of the roadway about 20 to 30 feet from where the town officials recovered the much larger rock.
He said he believes it was part of the same large outcropping of rock that prevented the state in late August from removing the rock as a whole. A DOT crew was later able to pull out a large segment of the "fake" rock in two pieces to give to the town.
Ellingwood said he had no idea whether the rock he saw was truly used by Indians to grind corn, but his intent on saving it was to draw tourists down into the Norway business area and out to the lake.
Ellingwood said he believes the town has three avenues it can take with the rock that now sits prominently at the picnic area. It can remove it and just say "whoops," leave it and display it and not say anything about what happened or leave it and place a monument to the honesty and integrity of the town officials who tried hard to do something good for the town and simply "goofed."
In any event, he said, for those who may have wanted an authentic Indian Rock, there may still be hope.
"My wife has heard that there's another in the area," he said.