"this is no typical resting place for loved ones"
September 27, 2020 3:41 PM   Subscribe

Barre Vermont has some of the loveliest granite around. The stone, which comes from some equally lovely quarries, was worked by Italian immigrants many of whom were Socialist entrepreneurs. Their legacy is visible in work by new artists in Barre's Art Stroll and especially in Barre's Hope Cemetery where many of them created their own headstones. A recent addition is the 1918 Spanish Flu Memorial (archived link), erected by local restaurant owners whose roadside eatery, the Wayside, just reopened after closing for its second pandemic in its 102 year history.
posted by jessamyn (15 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
It's not too early to start talking about monuments to this pandemic.
posted by ocschwar at 3:53 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]

Quarries are depressing, but I want to swim in that.
posted by aniola at 4:56 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]

I’ve eaten at the Wayside so many times. I’m glad they’ve reopened. Hope Cemetery really is a must see destination for folks visiting Vermont.
posted by meinvt at 5:28 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]

I really enjoy walking through cemeteries. I'll add this one to my list!
posted by pjsky at 5:58 PM on September 27

posted by vrakatar at 6:33 PM on September 27

I have been there! That quarry is enormous, and although it looks lovely, it also looks deadly to me. I received a free chunk of granite after the factory tour.

The cemetery is amazing. There are some elaborate recent mausoleums with windows for visitors to look inside and see the coffin (or sarcophagus) in a tiny sunlit room. Next to it, you may also see a lectern with an open Bible.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:30 PM on September 27

Thanks for putting this up - what amazing stone! I love quarries, love going and sorting out stone for jobs - and quarry hunting, driving backroads looking for obscure and rumoured deposits of fine rocks.
posted by unearthed at 8:40 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]

I love finding another obscure vacation destination, thanks! My hometown has a quarry history and a lot of my childhood swimming was done in a converted quarry pit with a snack bar, maybe a tour of those is a summer vacation idea itself.

Those Burtynsky pics are great. Slabs of granite up to 50ft long! I wouldn't even need something like that carved, just make it a part of my house's construction somehow.
posted by rhizome at 9:55 PM on September 27

Aaaaaaay! I have a hat from the Wayside!

I have seen a quarry in Barre, from a good height. The scope of it left my sense of perspective reeling. And I always knew the art in Barre was cool, but this brings into focus how much the right materials are key to that. I hope to go back there sooooon.

The rolls at the wayside are the bestest.
posted by not_on_display at 10:47 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]

Slabs of granite up to 50ft long! I wouldn't even need something like that carved, just make it a part of my house's construction somehow.
We live in granite country and the house and sheds are an interesting example of vernacular architecture - using the available material because transport costs were high. I'm am on a jag at the moment looking for rocks on the hill above our home where the face is a) vertical b) has the characteristic regular indentations left from driving a row of wedges into the living rock to take off a slice. Our lintels and window sills are, all but one, made of a super-hard blue granite. One of the sheds has a pair of these roughly squared, regularly indented, lintels 2.7m = 9ft long. "all but one" the middle bedroom upstairs has a timber lintel and the plaster is always cracking. This is functional farrrrmer stone-carving not the delicate art-works on the Barre cemetery.
posted by BobTheScientist at 12:16 AM on September 28 [2 favorites]

The cemetery and granite museum are well worth visiting. A museum visit includes a tour of the quarry (basically, you look at it from above). Be sure to check out the outdoor granite bowling lane.

Anyone interested in the granite museum might also like the Vermont Marble Museum, which is in Proctor, north of Rutland. There's a discard pile of free marble pieces outside, the bridge in town, the fire station, a church and a couple of other buildings in town are made of marble.

To complete the rock museum trilogy continue on to Granville, New York which is home to the Slate Valley Museum. The museum pulls way above its weight in terms of the slate industry and local history. Sadly, there is no pile of free slate pieces.
posted by plastic_animals at 11:06 AM on September 28

It's a gorgeous and very creative cemetery.
My photos from 2016.
posted by doctornemo at 11:33 AM on September 28 [4 favorites]

"It's not too early to start talking about monuments to this pandemic."

Agreed, hence my post from a few weeks ago. To be fair, not everyone agrees with us, ocschwar.
posted by doctornemo at 11:34 AM on September 28

I've been to that cemetery and saw some great tombstones, but unfortunately the quarry was closed. I'll just have to go back. I'm in awe of people who can work with rock like this.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:45 PM on September 28

You can see a heavily CGI'd Rock of Ages quarry for a couple of seconds in the first JJ Abrams Star Trek. ("Sabotage!")
posted by obloquy at 4:56 PM on October 7 [1 favorite]

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