Rock of Ages Granite Quarry – Barre, Vermont - Atlas Obscura
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Barre, Vermont

Rock of Ages Granite Quarry

Tour the world's largest deep-hole dimension granite quarry, where you can view the plant where gravestones are made and roll a ball down the outdoor granite bowling alley.  

Visiting the Rock of Ages Corporation’s granite quarry is basically a tour of the immense.

The quarry itself is the world’s largest deep-hole dimension granite quarry, and though 600 feet of its depths are under a well of milky-green water, the quarry is astoundingly huge.

A van drives visitors up a bumpy road to the site, which can be viewed from behind a gate. What was once an operation requiring the hard manual labor of a few hundred men, is now manned by only 7–with the help of some impressive machinery.

The ride up to the quarry passes piles and piles of granite blocks; since 1885, quarry workers have simply dumped pieces of granite with fractures or cracks in these sections called “grout piles,” which comes from the Scottish word for scrap (many Scots worked in the quarry in its early days). These piles are found all over the town.

After the tour of the quarry, visitors can take a self-guided tour of the granite plant which, again, is gigantic. Huge blocks of granite are moved around, cut, polished, and engraved for gravestones. The plant is a hive of activity and incredibly busy after the slow-moving machinery of the quarry. Most of America’s granite headstones come from right here.

Before leaving, visitors can help themselves to some free souvenir granite from a granite scrap bin and roll a few bowling balls down the outdoor granite lane. The Rock of Ages experimented with granite bowling lanes in the 1950s, but the concept never caught on. This lane was a prototype during those early years and has recently been restored for family fun.

Know Before You Go

Tours run about 30 minutes long and cost roughly $5.

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