Founded in 1885, Rock of Ages is 50 acres, 600 feet deep and was built by native Yankees and by immigrants who came looking for a better life.
When the old timers quarried the granite back in the 1800's they used black powder instead of dynamite to
separate the granite blocks and because black powder is unpredictable in how it explods there was a 95% discard
of unusable granite and only 5% usable. They are now crushing these huge piles of unusable granite and spreading
it on roads, in driveways and also using it for making cement. They are also quarrying more granite for headstone,
signs, cutting boards, countertops, paper weights, etc., and will be able to do so for 50 more years (there's plenty!).
The blocks they remove are sold all over the world. We had fun going to nearby cemetery and seeing VERY unique
head stones - all dif shapes and designs (cube set on corner, 1/2 scale car, soccer ball, besides celtic crosses,
vines and Virgin Marys, etc.).
The guide was a retired school teacher and was very knowledgeable about the total operation and history which made the tour great. The tour took about 45 minutes but the guide talked for the whole time, and when he came to a lapse in the information someone would ask a question and he was off again. Excellent tour.
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The Rock of Ages is one of the six gray granite quarries in Barre, VT owned and operated by Rock of Ages corporation and is the largest monumental granite quarry in the world. The granite blocks recovered from our quarry operations are very dense and weigh about 170 pounds per cubic foot. Only the finest granite taken from our quarries is used for memorial purposes. Of all the granite quarried in a given year, only 15% of the granite stock meets the quarry standards necessary to be used for a Rock of Ages monument. We stopped at the factory to see how the memorials are made.