Monday, September 7, 2009

Rock of Ages granite quarry

Quite a few years ago, I roped my Mom and my friend Cris into driving from Mom's bed & breakfast in Connecticut to Barre, Vermont, on a daytrip. It took longer than expected to get there and it started snowing, so the return trip was a bit treacherous, but the objective was met - I wanted to see the largest granite quarry in the world! At 50 acres and 600' deep, with a combined quarrying, manufacturing, and retail operation, that claim to fame belongs to the Rock of Ages quarry, and that quarry continues to produce great numbers of gravestones, among other things. Here is a gallery of Rock of Ages markers and memorials, with color swatches of the granite types available from other quarries. The history of the quarry dates back to 1885, but the Rock of Ages name was taken in 1914, when the company undertook a major advertising campaign to promote its granite for memorials that were guaranteed against checking, cracking, and discoloration. Within a decade, name-brand recognition had people flocking to see the Rock of Ages quarry. Visitors then were escorted to a platform overlooking the "hole"; visitors now - more than 100,000 per year - may take a guided quarry tour and a self-guided tour through the visitor's center and the memorial design studio (video here). Granite is the most durable of all natural rocks and is used around the world in cemeteries, some of which only allow granite markers. This post was prompted by a visit from a friend named Sally, who works in the local cemetery. I am deaccessioning some of my artifacts as my Mom and I pull together my "museum" in its new location, and I gave Sally the collage I made from photos I took during that daytrip to the quarry, along with a core sample of the distinctive gray Barre granite. I kept the square sample engraved with a "Q."

1 comment:

  1. The best tourist attraction anywhere. The hope cemetary is great also!


You may add your comments here.