While New Hampshire may be known as the Granite State, Vermont has their fair share. Their statehouse is a great example of Vermont granite.
Just outside the nearby town of Barre is the Rock of Ages Granite Company.
It is like many of the old company towns I grew up seeing in Pennsylvania and Ohio, only instead of coal it is granite – everywhere.
When you arrive at the top of the mountain and look down you see this massive pit. It is 600′ deep, but 300′ of it is under water.
Everything is super sized here, as they cut away giant chunks of granite for processing.
This quarry has been used for over 100 years. Their tools today are much better than the early days, which have been left behind. In the early days they climbed down these sketchy looking ladders to use drilling and dynamite to break the granite apart.
The years of removal have left interesting patterns on the quarry walls.
The tall yellow tower was used to bring the multi ton pieces up to the surface.
It was dangerous work.
As we made our way back down the mountain we passed their stockyard. Nothing was behind fences as the threat of something carrying away a rock weighing thousands of pounds without getting noticed is fairly low.
It wouldn’t even fit in their pickup truck.
We arrived while the factory was on lunch, so we spent some time bowling on the granite bowling lane, with granite pins. They claim that they used to use real bowling balls, but the pins would break the balls, so now they use foam.
The factory is quiet…. for the moment.
The crew has returned. With the weight everything is moved with cranes.
The granite business has gone down tremendously over the years. In the early years much was used in the construction industry (all those cool Art Deco buildings), but now it is relegated to mostly head stones. Even those aren’t used as much as in the past.
This day all the work we saw was on the aforementioned headstones.
Artisans still do the detail work.
And someone named David is about to get his headstone.