Quarrying the Stone

Quarrying the Stone (HMQKU)

Location: Stafford, VA 22554 Stafford County
Country: United States of America

N 38° 27.006', W 77° 22.815'

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Quarrying stone during the late 18th and early 19th centuries was very labor intensive. Stone quarried here was cut and shipped with the use of simple machines and animal power. Various workers were needed to extract the stone. A master-mason, usually a European who was a master in all aspects of stone work, would oversee the entire quarrying operation. Skilled workers included stone cutters and stone carvers who extracted and rough-cut the stone into desired sizes. Blacksmiths were constantly needed to make and sharpen the cutting tools, wedges, chisels, trimming hammers, sledge hammers, picks, mattocks and axes. Tool marks are still visible in the quarry faces today.

Many common laborers, or unskilled laborers, worked at the site. Slaves were hired out by their owners who collected the slaves' wages. Workers received housing and food, which included "...one pound good pork or one pound and a half of beef and one pound flour per day..." along with a half pint of whiskey (Commissioners Letter, April 10, 1792).

How the Stone was Quarried: First, all vegetation was removed from the top of the stone. Once the stone was exposed, a vertical stone face was picked away, creating a working area. Two vertical channels or side trenches were made 20-feet apart. These trenches were twenty inches wide - barely large enough for a man to squeeze through. A rear trench was made, creating a rectangular section. Grooves were chiseled along the stone face where wedges were inserted to remove a block from the larger stone mass. Once a block of stone was cut, it was hoisted out with a simple derrick and pulley system, placed on a skid, and hauled by oxen to the wharf.
Year Placed2010
Placed ByTourism and Parks, Recreation & Community Facilities, Stafford County, Virginia
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 7th, 2014 at 12:09am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 292290 N 4258440
Decimal Degrees38.45010000, -77.38025000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 27.006', W 77° 22.815'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 27' 0.36" N, 77° 22' 48.90" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540, 703, 202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 3433 Aquia Dr, Stafford VA 22554, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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