History of Granite Manufacturing in Barre, Vermont

Paper of E. L. Smith, Dealer in Granite

I consider this (granite) business established upon a sound basis, which I think will increase in time to be one of the largest industries of our State. granite is second to none, and when once introduced will recommend itself.

“Harrington Quarry,” owned and worked by Ira P. Harrington, who has long been in the granite business, upon which he is now doing quite an amount of work in filling orders for rough stock. From these two quarries came the stock for the State House. They have been opened, I should judge, some 50 or 60 years. Mr. E. Hewett formerly worked the Cobble Hill Quarry, and upon the State House being rebuilt, he quarried quite an amount of blocks, to replace those injured by fire. It was near here that Charles Keith lost his life, while assisting in drawing one of those large blocks of granite up hill where they had to use ropes and blocks, a block giving away, and crushing him so that he died soon after. This is, so far as I know, the only fatal accident which has taken place in the town in connection with granite working, but numerous have been the narrow escapes from a fatal one by premature explosion of blasts, falling of derricks, etc. These two are the only old quarries of note in town, and while they have been worked long, yet consisting as they do of large extent, there is no exhaustion of material, but on the contrary, plenty of it and easy of access.

The Carnes Quarry, at East , is worked by William Carnes, who has a shop, and finishes up his stock neatly.

“The Eastman Quarry has been opened some 4 or 5 years, and while it has not been worked to a large extent, it is good stock, and may prove to be one of the best in town.

Levi Keith has a quarry opened which is called fair stock, not developed to any great extent.

Bigelow Quarry, upon the farm of John Bigelow, was opened about 6 years ago, and is now worked by John Collins. There is a chance for quite an extensive quarry, and it may prove to be one of the principal quarries in town, though the grain is not quite so fine and dark as some.

“Mann Quarry,” owned and worked by Geo. Mann, has been opened some 3 years, is of the best grain and color, but as yet the stock has been rather hard to quarry to advantage, the sheets not laying so free and even as in some of the other quarries.

E. L. Smith
, June 27, 1881.

Statement of W. G. Parker’s Quarry and Works, opened Oct. 29, 1880, began carrying on granite business Nov. 1, 1873; workmen employed from three to six; has shipped granite monuments to Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, New York and Massachusetts; also in Vermont; amount of exports varying from $1,000 to $2,000.

The First Granite Shop in

Barre Vermont stone cutters 1902
Vermont stone cutters in 1902

Papers from Chas. A. Smith

J. S. Collins came to in 1872, and opened a shop for the working of granite at the south end of the village, where he has since continued the business. This was the first shop of the kind opened in the village, and Mr. C. was the pioneer of the business of working granite for monumental purposes here. He at present employs five cutters at his shop and three men on the quarry, which he opened in 1876, and which is known as the Bigelow Quarry. Though the business done by Mr. Collins is less than that of some of his competitors in town, yet the excellence of the work which he was the first to send out drew attention to the value of granite for monumental uses, and led to the development of the business, and as a skillful master workman, he has taught the trade to a large number, who as proprietors, or as workmen, ply the trade in other shops.

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