Flat Ledge Quarry 2020

The Story of a Mystery Object


My recent Facebook post of this image 
has attracted questions and curiosity as to “ What is it? ”
With all the time in the world, I can take the time
to build out the full story.

Here is a Google Map View of Flat Ledge Quarry Map’
I’ve keyed the view to a number of topics related to my 20 years of photographing Flat Ledge Quarry.
For now, the yellow * gives us the location.

fullkeyAnd the *(in yellow) gives us the approximate location.

An iron underlining for the railroad track timbers which took granite from the backside of Flat Ledge, out to Granite Pier.



This photo from the early 1900s ( Page 162 in ‘Rockport Through the Years,’ gives another view of the back wall area. The large derrick to left rear – and collapsed paving stone cutter shed would be just to the left of our object.


I’ll post tomorrow (April 19, 2020) as to how the iron underpinning has come to look the way it does.



Money Talks and Granite Walks… (Part 4 of 30)


Of the original investors in the Rockport Granite Company of Massachusetts who came together: John L. Thaxter, John H. Stimson  Salem T. Lamb   William F. Dow (Trustee)
Benj. P. Battles   T. P. Fiske     John Lathrop ,

only John H. Stimson came in with a background of working in the granite industry.

Here is Barbara Erkkila (Hammers on Stone pg. 114) speaking on John H. Stimson

“About 1830 also, John Stimson, a son-in-law of Zachariah Green, came to Rockport where he also owned stock in the company. It was while he was there that he built the granite barn and put up the first pair of heavy-timbered hoisting shears ever used in the quarries. After a few years he left the Gloucester and Boston Granite Company and began quarrying at Flat Ledge. It was from this quarry that he made his famous shipment of paving blocks to Fort Warren. In 1834, Eames, Stimson & Company was organized, consisting of Ezra Eames, John Stimson, and Beniah Colburn. They continued to quarry at Flat Ledge, but had quarries in Lanesville and Bay View as well. About 1845 Mr. Stimson bought out Ezra Eames, Beniah Colburn, and new partners William J. Torrey and Joshua Sanborn. The latter had worked as a foreman for Mr. Torrey when he first came to Rockport. In 1854 Stimson rigged up the first steam pump, the design for which was brought back from the California gold fields by Lewis Lane of Cape Ann. Other partners in Stimson’s company over many years had been Anson and Aaron Stimson, George R. Bradford, J. Henry Stimson, Abraham Day and Jotham Taylor of Lanesville.”

John Stimson became the chief Agent for the Rockport Granite Company of Massachusetts, he was charged with managing contracts, seeking new business, insuring deliveries were on time, and collecting funds from clients.


The Rockport Granite Company Incorporates… (Part 1 of 30)


[Left to Right: George Rogers, C.Harry Rogers, Louis Rogers, Arthur Rogers. Courtesy SBHS]

On fourth day of August, 1864, in Boston, Massachusetts, the Rockport Granite Company of Massachusetts is incorporated for the purpose of “carrying on the business of quarrying, and preparing for the market and selling stone.” It is not until 1914 that two amendments are voted onto the original article of Incorporation and the Corporation’s name is shortened to ‘The Rockport Granite Company.’
The chart below lists the original investors, shares and amount of each individual investment.

This was an unprecedented  capitalization in the Cape Ann Granite Industry and it represents the appearance of shrewd determined businessmen who saw golden dollars to be made from the selling of paving stones.


Name                                No. of Shares               $Amount

John L. Thaxter                       623                         $62,300

John H. Stimson                      623                         $62,300

Salem T. Lamb                        623                         $62,300

William F. Dow (Trustee)       60                           $6,000

Benj. P. Battles                          50                           $5,000

Re T. P. Fiske                             20                            $2,000

John Lathrop                              1                               $100


PART 2 arrives April 18, 2017, in which we learn what the RGCof MA was doing during the time prior to its incorporation.

The Rockport Granite Company Collection at Harvard Baker Library

Louis Rogers

LOUIS ROGERS: Treasurer of Rockport Granite Company

at the Harvard Baker Library, Cambridge, MA

The Story of How Louis Rogers preserved 
Rockport Granite Company History

A Monograph by Leslie D. Bartlett

Kindle  & Paperback formats: available June 12, 2017


“Quarry Historian Leslie Bartlett now brings to light the glimpses of quarry life and business the Rockport Granite Collection records reveal, in detail. He offers an expanded view of daily life on Cape Ann, when the largest land-based business was ruled by the sounds of granite being broken; and men’s hearts were broken by on-going labor disputes.

The Corporate story of the Rockport Granite Company are contained in documents preserved by Treasurer Louis Rogers. For over 30 years after the company goes bankrupt he holds the records, and then donates them to the Harvard Baker Library, Cambridge, MA. This monograph describes what Louis Rogers preserved, and how, and why he choose to have the records leave Cape Ann in 1953. A fascinating glimpse is offered of how the Rogers family conducted the on-island life of the Rockport Granite Company.

This monograph  reflects Leslie Bartlett’s 50 year fascination with the world of granite quarrying, as he now relates the story of his 4 years research in perusing ‘The Rockport Granite Collection,’ and the important memories evoked.”

Leslie D. Bartlett  April 17, 2017

Cape Ann Quarryland


For over 200 years Cape Ann farmers had dug out, pushed and shoved rock out of the way to clear their fields for farming.


Granite was something everyone could break, shape and sell. It lay on either side of the road, the fields cleared, small holes were dug out for larger chunks of granite to be removed. The quarry spectacle was viewed by summer visitors who sat atop their carriages.


The Cape Ann Quarryland is born .


Cape Ann Quarryland, a sketch made by Carl J. Nordell of Annisquam and Boston

All Agreements Are Contingent…


Letterhead from the SBHS Research Library

The letterhead of the Rockport Granite Company reveals the extent of the Company’s holdings – both on Cape Ann and beyond. Not only did the Rockport Granite Company quarry in Maine, but at one time it also owned a pink granite company in Lebanon, N.H. With offices in Boston, N.Y. & Chicago, it was a company which could offer its granite for contracts across the United States.

‘All Done,’ Defiance in the Rockport Quarry: a tale told in chisel.

As you walk in along below the Keystone Bridge in Rockport, take a look to your left; there inscribed on the wall is a veritable tale told in chisel. A lineage of initials & dates.  A permanent colophon. Emotions of whimsy, striking anger, and the wish to be remembered.
More hidden on the right wall, and down along the ledge which held the ladder by which all workmen climbed down into the quarry, are more carved initials which date back as early as 1881. The ‘Signing of the Quarry Walls,’ is almost unique to the Flat Ledge Quarry. (Almost because there is one other example to be found in Rockport.) These wall surfaces were revealed as the Keystone Bridge neared completion in 1872, located below the bridge, there was no further quarrying to take place.

The carvings therefore, took place in areas obscured by buildings and sheds,  and away from the peering eyes of the Rockport Granite Company Treasurer who would lean over the Keystone Bridge. observing the pace of workers.

They stand as individual expression, from an era where men had to work together to make their daily bread.

NOTE: the ‘All Done,’ chiseling to the left includes an elaborate ! exclamation point.