Fall River granite


Fall River granite

Fall River Granite is a Precambrian bedrock underlying the City of Fall River, Massachusetts and surrounding areas along the eastern shores of Narragansett Bay. It was formed 600 million years ago, as part of the Avalon terrane. [Roadside Geology of Massachusetts, James W. Skehan, 2001]

During the 19th Century, the City of Fall River, Massachusetts became famous for the granite rock on which much of the city is built upon. The ridge extends approximately convert|20|mi|km from the village of Assonet in the north through Fall River and into Tiverton, Rhode Island at its southern end, along the eastern edge of the basin that forms Narragansett Bay. The eastern edge of the underlying granite is the Hixville Fault near Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

Physical description

From a distance, the rock exhibits a distinctive tanish-grey color. View up close, it is more pink. The granite is very hard and durable, but cannot be polished very well. [ [http://www.sailsinc.org/Durfee/fallrivergranite.pdf Herald News article, 1978] ] As a result, its appearance on a building is almost always somewhat rough, rather than the sharp lines of other types of building stone.

Edmund Hitchcock, of the 1841 Geological Survey of Massachusetts gave the following description of the granite: "But no rock can be finer for architectural purposes than the granite of Troy...The feldspar of this rock is a mixture of the flesh red and light green varieties; the former predominating: the quartz is light gray, and the mica, usually black... it works easily and has a lighter and more lively appearance than Quincy granite"." [cite book |author=Johnson, Rossiter |coauthors=John Howard Brown |title=The twentieth century biographical dictionary of notable Americans |year=1904 |publisher=Boston Biographical Society |oclc=6182270 ( [http://books.google.com/books?id=i1IDAAAAYAAJ&pg=PT297&lpg=PT297&dq=1841+Geological+Survey+of+Massachusetts&source=web&ots=fG-78ElZVm&sig=BKfLpKbcgeunXr3BxYuw7UpY7xs&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result 1841 Google Books] )] [cite book |author=Massachusetts Geological Survey |coauthors=Edward Hitchcock |title=Final Report on the Geology of Massachusetts |year=1841 |publisher=J.H. Butler |oclc=2032204 |pages=pp. 147-148]

Historical context

The granite quarry industry in Fall River had been established by 1840, employing 30 people, with the rock being transported to places such as Newport, New Bedford, Providence, Bristol and New York City. [ [http://www.sailsinc.org/durfee/fowler.pdf History of Fall River, 1841, Orin Fowler] ]

Several granite quarries operated in the area in the late 19th century, the largest of which was the Beattie Granite Quarry, located near what is now North Quarry Street, near the corner of Locust Street in Fall River. [ [http://www.sailsinc.org/durfee/localrock.pdf 2003 Herald News Article on Fall River Granite] ] The site was filled in the mid 1900s for the construction of a housing complex.

Another notable source of this granite was from the "Assonet Ledge" Quarry located in what now is Freetown-Fall River State Forest, located in Freetown, Massachusetts. The remains of the old railroad grade used to transport the stone from the quarry are still visible within the state forest.

Examples of use

Many of the cotton textile mills in the city were built from this native stone, and it was highly regarded as a building material for many public buildings and private homes alike. Examples of the stones use within Fall River include St. Mary's Cathedral, The Fall River Historical Society Mansion and the base of Fall River Superior Courthouse and St. Anne's Church. The first floor of the former B.M.C. Durfee High School in Fall River is also constructed of native granite.

The Chateau-sur-Mer mansion in Newport, Rhode Island is perhaps the best example of Fall River Granite being used for private home construction.

ee also

*Fall River, Massachusetts
*Chateau-sur-Mer

References

External Links

* [http://www.sailsinc.org/durfee/cdpictures/beattiequarry5.jpgVintage Photo of Beattie Granite Quarry]
*History of Fall River, Massachusetts
* [http://www.lizzieborden.org Fall River Historical Society]


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