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Historical Materials: Maritime & Other Industries & Facilities

Historical Materials  »  Maritime & Other Industries & Facilities  »  Granite Quarrying / Shipping

Granite Quarrying / Shipping

View related Fitz Henry Lane catalog entries (7) »

The harvesting of granite from quarries dug deep into the earth was an important industry on Cape Ann from the 1830s through the early 20th century. Second only to fishing in economic output, for 100 years the granite business played a pivotal role in the local economy providing jobs for many, turning profits for some and generating tons and tons of cut granite that was used here on Cape Ann and shipped to ports all along the Atlantic seaboard.

Granite quarrying started slowly in this area in the late eighteenth century with small operations peppered across the rocky terrain. Construction of a fort at Castle Island in Boston Harbor in 1798 followed by a jail in nearby Salem in 1813, jump-started the granite industry here on Cape Ann. During the 1830s and 1840s, the trade grew steadily. By the 1850s, the stone business was firmly established and Cape Ann granite was known throughout the region. So extensive and so awe-inspiring were operations during the second half of the nineteenth century some observers feared that the business might actually run out of stone.

While granite was taken from the earth in all different sizes and shapes, Cape Ann specialized in the conversion of that granite into paving blocks which were used to finish roads and streets. Millions of paving stones were shipped out of Cape Ann annually, destined for construction projects in New York, Philadelphia and all along the Atlantic seaboard. While paving blocks were basically uniform in size, there were subtle differences leading some to be referred to as Philadelphia blocks while others were identified as Boston blocks or Washington blocks.

– Martha Oaks (April, 2015)

Related tables: Cut, The (Stacy Blvd.) »  //  Fresh Water Cove »  //  Sloop »

photo (historical)
Eastern Point granite quarry
c.1880
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

This view shows a wood derrick for hoisting granite blocks.

Also filed under: Eastern Point »   //  Historic Photographs »

photo (historical)
West Gloucester granite quarry with oxen
c.1880
Stereograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

photo (historical)
Lanesville granite scow
c.1880
Stereograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Gundalow / Scow »

map
1851 Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport (detail of Annisquam River)
H. F. Walling
1851
44 x 34 in.
Henry Francis Walling, Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Essex Co. Massachusetts. Philadelphia, A. Kollner, 1851
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

"Map of the Towns of Gloucester and Rockport, Massachusetts. H.F. Walling, Civil Engineer. John Hanson, Publisher. 1851. Population of Gloucester in 1850 7,805. Population of Rockport in 1850 3,213."

photo (historical)
Eastern Point granite quarry
c.1880
Stereograph card
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

This view shows a wood derrick for hoisting granite blocks.

Also filed under: Eastern Point »   //  Historic Photographs »

object
Galamander model
1959
Painted wood
Scale: 1:16. Galamander shop, Vinalhaven, Maine.
Cape Ann Museum. Gift of Barbara Erkkila, 1997

In the nineteenth century granite was hauled from Cape Ann quarries on heavy carts called garymanders which were pulled by oxen or horses (known as "galamander" in Maine.) A boom rigged above the rear axle was used to hoist the stone so it could be held by chains beneath the wagon. The garymander oak wheels were eight feet high with iron rims made by a blacksmith.

Also filed under: Objects »

object
Granite quarryman's and blacksmith's tools
Box of granite tools originally owned by Martin O'Hearn (1884–1944)
Cape Ann Museum (1994.65)

Oilcan originally owned by Frederickj "Rick" Larsen
Cape Ann Museum (1994.76.3)

Peen hammer originally owned by Johann Jacob Erkkila (1877–1939)
(Cape Ann Museum) 1994.76.23a

Heavy blacksmith's sledge owned by John Fuge (1873–1967)
Cape Ann Museum (1997.24.0)

Although from a later period, these tools are similar to tools used in Lane's time.

Also filed under: Objects »

photo (historical)
Granite scow
c.1900
Photograph
Private collection

Granite scow being unloaded at Knowlton's Point, Sandy Bay. Sandy Bay Ledge visible in right background, Dodge's Rock in left background.

Also filed under: Gundalow / Scow »

object
Scale model of stone sloop "Albert Baldwin"
William Niemi
c.1940
Wood, metal, cordage, cloth, paint.
Scale: ¼ in. = 1ft. (1:48)
Cape Ann Museum. Gift of Roland and Martta Blanchet (1997.17.3)

Although built in 1890 and larger than the stone sloops of Lane’s time, the "Albert Baldwin’s" hull form, rig, and loading boom are very similar to those of the 1840s and 1850s.

Also filed under: Ship Models »   //  Sloop »

photo (historical)
West Gloucester granite quarry
c.1880
Stereograph
Cape Ann Museum Library & Archive

Also filed under: Historic Photographs »

Citation: "Maritime & Other Industries & Facilities." Fitz Henry Lane Online. Cape Ann Museum. http://fitzhenrylaneonline.org/historical_material/index.php?type=Maritime+%26+Other+Industries+%26++Facilities§ion=Granite+Quarrying+%2F+Shipping (accessed March 30, 2017).
Please note that the information on this and all pages is periodically reviewed and subject to change.
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