A Giant Made Prisoner

A Giant Made Prisoner

“Anastasia stared about her, taking mental notes of the relations of light and shade, and trying to fix in her mind the action of the workmen. Bessie was not so cool. Something oppressed her here, and she quite lost the happy tranquility which she had felt five minutes before, in the straggling country road among the peaceful winter gardens. She felt as if in those few minutes she had come out of the happy New England which she knew and loved – a little country which with all its faults is civilized and human enough – into the midst of some great workshop of nature outside human ways and human knowledge. Here with the dark rocks which they told her had lasted since the beginning of the world, and which had seen more frightful changes than Betsy could imagine. And here, at work among them, was a magical instrument, a giant made prisoner, who was fighting the rocks with another natural force even stronger than theirs. ”

Ellen Day Hale, The Cape Ann Quarries,

Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, No. 418, March 1885




Hositing the Engines of History

It is August 1, 1933 

Here we are peek down from atop the far North Wall of Lanes Cove, Lanesville, MA. on Cape Ann, we can see the narrow space in which a wooden boom derrick is positioned for hoisting and loading granite .

The image offers a rare full view of the complex of hoisting engines and cabling required to  turn the derrick and hoist the granite blocks. Note the platform which holds the gearing for control of the derrick. With everything out in the open,and exposed to the elements, greasing of the gears received especial attention. No loose clothing on the men working in the vicinity – for fear of being caught in cables or tooth gears.

(At the top back of the image the Harvey Coal Shed is in view.)


Here is another view of the working derrick loading granite onto the barge Fredereck Starr, bound for NY.


In the great hurricane of 1935, the derrick and engines will be destroyed.

  • Leslie Bartlett – January 14, 2017




A Granite Stone Cutter’s Labor Song



I have a little granite hammer which I carry in my kit,

a little three-pound dandy and I’ve used it quite a bit.

All the way from Maine to ’Frisco and from Georgia to the Pole,

My little granite hammer is a comfort to my soul.

I have laughed at sandstone fellows with a clumsy wooden mall

and a hammer like a coffin, but they get there after all;

and the marble Cutter joins me with his automatic tool

but will all get on together if we share the Golden rule.

It’s a grand old trade we follow if a feller does his part;

though his tools may slightly differ there is no difference in his heart,

and wonder why the Dickens we should carry different cards,

when we might be altogether as we should be, loyal pards.

You can do a bit of my work, I can do a bit of yours,

There should be no wall between us making enemies and boors,

let us join our separate forces; nail our colors to the wall;

and hail each other brother, with one union over all,

We have Duncan! We have Blasey! We have Griggs and Walter price.

We have brains enough to guide us and we ought to cut some ice,

we can cut down our expenses and our troubles quite a few, 

if we only get together in a brotherly G.U.

 – Jo. Evans