Saturday, March 23, 2013

Extracting Wealth, Part One, Granite

Merrill Quarry, Crotch Island, Stonington  - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Granite Industry Historical Society via
  When you might look at the Senate Office Building, The National Archives, Washington Monument or your local cemetery you are looking at Maine Granite.  An industry that started in the early days of our Country and is still going.  Big city skyscrapers, Civil War Forts; there's a long list of buildings, monuments and gravestones that originated on the rocky coast of Maine.
  It's hard and dangerous work cutting down a mountain (albeit small ones) that's how you get to quarry granite.  Granite itself is hard igneous rock (formed by fire) and on the Maine coast scraped bare by the glaciers that pushed through here about 10,000 years ago.  Granite comes in many colors, the most familiar being gray and pink from Maine; other colors come from different continents or parts or North America.
Immigrant workers, Hall Quarry, Mount Desert Island c1905 click to enlarge
Maine Granite Industry Historical Society via
Maine industries "imported" a lot of people in it's early days.  People came from Italy, Sweden, Finland, England and Scotland.  Even in those years the annual income from granite was over two million dollars (that would have been a lot).
Cutting sheds, Benvenue Granite, Stonington c1912 - click to enlarge
Photo: Maine Historical Society via


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