|A new corporation 3|
Re-orientation of the
Cape Ann Granite Company 4|
Bay View, Gloucester 1869-1893
Pigeon Cove, Rockport 1894-1902
Initially the new Company took its products by cart down to Lanes Cove for shipment. Perhaps it hadn't yet won privileges to stockpile stone on the wharf while awaiting a vessel. One day before Christmas 1894 the men loaded 45,000 paving blocks onto the schooner Emma C. Cotton in 7½ hours, claiming "the quickest time on record where the entire freight has been set in by [horse-drawn] teams." 5
|Main Street, Pigeon Cove - Cape Ann Tool Company on right 6|
|Locomotive Nella delivered to the Rockport depot, April 1895 8|
|Nella at work for the Cape Ann Granite Company 10|
|Railroad terminus at Pigeon Cove Harbor 12|
|The steam lighter Jonas H. French 13|
Mrs. Nella French hosted at her home a meeting of nearly one hundred women to organize a Ladies Aid Association for Addison Gilbert Hospital. She was elected president pro tem "with the grace for which this lady is noted." 15
Headline of a Letter to the Editor, 1898 16
At the end of the century Col. French was facing evolving challenges in technology and labor. Along with other local industry leaders he hosted Mr. Stanford, engineer in charge of building the Charlestown naval dry dock, in an effort to convince the government to choose granite over concrete as a superior but more expensive material. 17
On the labor front, emotions were running high during the quarrymen's strike for a nine-hour work day. When the Rockport Granite Company was slow to implement the settlement terms in June 1899 a bomb exploded on its tracks at Granite Pier. Col. French had come to terms with his workers and kept his crews employed. The newspaper mused that "the Rockport Granite Company has the cow by the horns, the Pigeon Hill Company by the tail, while the Cape Ann Granite Company is quietly getting the milk." 18
|Portrait of Jonas H. French 19|
My fellow readers must be tantalized by the note that "Mrs. Albert Baldwin, Jr., of New Orleans, becomingly gowned in white silk, lace yoke and chiffon garniture, carrying a bouquet of red roses, attended the bride as matron of honor."
Following the wedding Col. and Mrs. French took the afternoon train to spend a week at their Boston residence, leaving the bride and groom to honeymoon at Rocklawn.
|Catalog of the estate sale of Col. French's library 19|
For a murky few years the assets of the Cape Ann Granite Company came unsuccessfully under operation of the New England Granite Company controlled by a Boston financier from Jonas French's circles. The Rockport Granite Company eventually acquired everything. In 1911 Nella went by barge to the Folly Cove Pier for locomotive service bringing blocks down to the pier from the Babson Farm Quarry at Halibut Point, to cap the Sandy Bay Breakwater.
The granite quarries and the granite industry each entwined aspects of brutality, beauty, and aggrandizement. They incorporated modern human themes of dominion over the land and of advancing a better life. Talents, desires, and limits to power shaped the physical and social landscape. Every block of stone bore the marks of aspirations.
1. Gloucester Daily Times (GDT ), September 9, 1893.
2. GDT January 16, 1894.
3. Boston Journal, February 7, 1894.
4. Drawing adapted from "Cape Ann Quarries" map by Barbara Erkkila, Hammers on Stone, 1980.
5. GDT December 26, 1894.6. Postcard view courtesy of Robert Ambrogi, Vintage Rockport.
7. GDT October 26, 1894.
8. Photograph courtesy of the Sandy Bay Historical Association.
9. GDT April 10, 1899.
10. Moulton stereograph, courtesy of the Cape Ann Museum.
11. GDT March 12, 1898.
12. Postcard view courtesy of Robert Ambrogi, Vintage Rockport.
13. Photo from Barbara Erkkila, Hammers on Stone, 1980.
14. GDT August 25, 1897.
15. GDT October 14, 1898.
16. GDT October 24, 1898.
17. GDT September 17, 1898.
18. GDT June 13, 1899.
19. Portrait printed in the catalogue, from the Cornell University Library.
20. GDT September 12, 1900.
21. Harriet Robey, Bay View, 1979.