Other Stafford Stories Granite Quarry

Granite Quarry

By the late nineteenth century, granite quarrying in Virginia was a growing business.

There were large deposits of the stone on both sides of the Rappahannock River above Falmouth and in the general vicinity of the Interstate 95 bridge across the river. As one drives south across the Rappahannock, a significant quarry pit survives near the edge of the river.

As quarry owners sought to develop their businesses, they also sought to limit competition. A newspaper reported, “Owners of granite quarries in Virginia have organized to appear before the legislature this winter and urge the passage of a bill prohibiting the State from competing with private owners by using convicts in the quarry on the State farm and selling granite blocks and crushed stone in competition with private enterprise. There was a time when it thought that ‘breaking rock’ was the very work that convicts should do, but according to the above there are some people who would prevent them from even doing that. Certainly convicts should be required to earn their keep” (Alexandria Gazette, Dec. 11, 1907).