Hidden in a Quincy neighborhood cul-de-sac are remnants of one of the first railways in the United States. While most of the line is lost to history, you can still see the echoes of this forgotten piece of the past.
The Granite Railway was built in the 1820s to ferry granite from the quarries in Quincy, Massachusetts, to a dock along the Neponset River. It received its charter in 1826 and later transitioned into a common carrier railroad without ever closing. As such, some refer to it as the U.S.’ first commercial railroad.
A steep section was added to the railway in 1830. Called the Incline, it let trains lug heavy loads of granite from the quarry to the main tracks. A conveyor belt stretched across the 315-foot-long track, hauling a nonstop supply of the rocks.
The Incline stopped running in the 1940s. And the railroad, which was absorbed into the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, closed in the 1960s.
Now, fragments of the old tracks lie scattered around the city. Most, like the Incline, are near the quarries they once served.