Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Rock Quarrying at Rock, 1873

Rock, MA, photograph, c. 1905.  The view depicts a portion of the granite
outcropping or ledge which gives the community of Rock its name.  In the
distance at the far right background is the Rock mill at Walnut and Miller Streets.

The village of Rock takes its name from a large ledge or outcropping of granite which runs a considerable distance parallel to and west of Miller Street.  Though largely obscured by trees and other vegetation today, in the past when the surrounding land was cleared for agricultural use, the rock was a prominent geographic feature.  This fact, coupled with the practice of early residents of the neighborhood of holding religious services near the rock at Miller Street, gave the community its distinctive name.

In 1873, a portion of the rock began to be quarried for commercial purposes as described in the following article which was carried in the Middleboro Gazette in August of that year.  While the author wrote hopefully of the prospects for commercial quarrying at Rock, little appears to have come of the enterprise which remains an historical curiosity.

C. D. Kingman House, Oak Street,
Middleborough, MA, photograph,
early 20th century.  The granite for
the walls of Kingman's estate was
quarried in 1873 from the rock ledge
which gave the community of Rock
its name.  The walls are still present
at Oak and Center Streets, the former
site of St. Luke's Hospital.
We visited Rock Tuesday and while there took a look at the granite ledge now being worked by Robert C. Smith.  This gentleman has been poiunding away there for three years, and has now succeeded in making an opening that promises handsome results for his labors.  As he works deeper the rock becomes a darker and more handsome color, and as to depth it promises to exceed even the famous Quincy ledge.  One old resident there says it is about three miles through.  The stone he is now cutting out is for the front of C. D. Kingman's homestead.  his ledge we refer to is in a field in the rear of the resdidence of th late Wilson Cobb, and belongs to Ichaod Atwood, Esq.

On Saturday, June 18, as part of the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the foundation of the Rock Village Church, the Middleborough Historical Commission and the Rock Village Church will be sponsoring a walking tour of a portion of historic Rock.  The tour begins at 11 a. m. at the Rock Church and will last approximately 1 and a half to two hours.


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