A Brief History of Granite:
Granite, Maryland had its beginnings as a community in the early eighteen hundreds when Captain Alexander Walters recognized the potential for quarrying granite rock on his property and began operating a quarry. Until this time, and from about 1720, he and his predecessors had devoted the land to agricultural use. (see left, Waltersville Quarry, c1895, https://www.mindat.org/loc-26531.html)
The quarry operation had a modest beginning providing granite block for the foundations of buildings in the local area. One of the first important quarry contracts was for furnishing stone for the Baltimore Customs House, built in 1820. As the quarry grew, so did the settlement – now named the Waltersville Quarry and Waltersville, respectively. By 1870, the population had increased to approximately 600, with four churches, six stores, and a multitude of taverns.
From the quarry came Belgian blocks, stone for monuments and bridges, furnishing materials for such famous buildings as the Smithsonian Institution, the Library of Congress, the old Post Office in Washington, The Baltimore County Court House, and the unique multiple arch Thomas Viaduct.
As time passed, it became no longer economically feasible for the quarries to attempt to compete with newer, less expensive building materials. Quarrying was discontinued in the 1920’s and the quarries are now water filled. The area abounds with signs of the once flourishing industry. There remain somewhat more than 600 people and the area retains its rural character despite its proximity to heavily populated areas. Learn more history about Granite at the Granite Historical Society.