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
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
Gen. Ben. Butler, Jonas French and the Cape Ann Granite Company that is.
Quick work by Mark Erwin id’d my mystery photo as the Philadelphia City Hall. A little more digging turned up precisely what part Cape Ann granite played in this building.
The following image is from:
“Philadelphia’s City Hall,”
By Allen M. Hornblum, George J. Holmes, page 110
One of the most complex monument projects undertaken by The Rockport Granite Company was the contract to cut and assemble 4 sixteen-foot high eagles for the Boston Customhouse clock tower. Completed in 1915 the eagles were touted as being the largest in the United States at that time. The assembled eagles, perched nearly 500 feet atop the Customhouse tower, provided the Rockport Granite Company with an elevated visibility and the Company shrewdly incorporated the Eagle as ‘The King of Rocks.’ The Company’s advertising portfolio cover trumpeted their accomplishment.