cart and paving block cutters|
Bay State Quarry, Lanesville c. 1870s
Sandy Bay Historical Society
Babson Farm Quarry,
Halibut Point 1909|
Cleaves Collection, Sandy Bay Historical Society
Cutting and polishing
shed of the Rockport Granite Company, Bay View|
Herman W. Spooner photo, courtesy of Robert Ambrogi, Vintage Rockport
columns, Bay View|
Postcard scene courtesy of the Cape Ann Museum
Loading a roughed-out
column at Bay View wharf|
aboard Rockport Granite Company Lighter # 1
Erkkila Collection, Cape Ann Museum
The pair of monolithic fountains hewn from Sea Green granite for the Union Railroad Station Plaza in Washington DC must be considered the crowning opportunity for Cape Ann craftsmen.
They began with two gargantuan 65-ton blocks brought down by rail from Blood Ledge Quarry to the Bay View yard. The finishing crews roughed in each bowl with imponderable hours of chiseling, then used the 4-point surfacing machine followed by hand work with six-cut bushing hammers to delicately approach the final shape. Barbara Erkkila in Hammers on Stone (1980) savored the achievement with pride. "The men brought the granite surface to a dull hone finish by using iron shot, then putty powder and felt buffers, pouring on the water carefully from old condensed milk cans. But the trick they used with the fountain was that they had the big stone revolve below the buffer for polishing instead of having the buffer dance its way over the stationary stone as was the usual process for polishing. For the first time, electrical power was used to do this."
One of two fountain
bowls in place at Union Station Plaza, Washington D. C.|
This view appears on a commemorative postcard by the Rockport Granite Company
Courtesy of Robert Ambrogi, Vintage Rockport
One wonders about the temperament of men capable of sustained grueling labor with exacting skill.