Kitty Robertson’s book The Orchard includes a sorrowful tale by old Mr. Patch about Mr. Brown and his team of horses who drowned in Ipswich Bay as he dragged a sled loaded with Rockport granite across the frozen surface. Whether itr happened, we may never know, but in searching for more information, I found the fascinating and often tragic story of the the Cape Ann granite industry.
Hammers on Stone is the definitive book on the history of Cape Ann granite, featuring over 65 dramatic photos and maps, depicting locations of quarries and motions during the 1800’s. Read about the plethora of stone pits and businesses, hand and pneumatic tools, transportation and shipping vessels, immigrant ethnicities, labor problems, and the eventual demise of the granite industry. Pictures include the Salem Jail, Bunker Hill Monument, Boston Post Office, paving blocks at Lane’s Cove, Bay State Granite Company, Rockport Granite Company, a locomotive named Nella, a stone wagon in Lanesville, Finnish settlers, customs, Dr. Webster’s Pitcairn Park at Halibut Point, and much more.