Barre granite. Furrylittlegnome was surrounded by it as a child. The E.L. Smith Granite Quarry was just a short car ride away. The front walkway and even the stairs to the front porch of her childhood home were made of this world famous igneous rock. In fact, from gnome’s bedroom window, she could see a granite mountain top in the distance.
“The granite capital of the world” is Barre, Vermont’s tag line. Granite mined from here is harder than all other granite and is resistant to the harshest of weather conditions. There are still granite sheds in operation that were once so vital to this community, and upon visiting Hope Cemetery, in a town that has seen better days, you will understand why the tag line is still appropriate.
Famous for its sculptured monuments and use of only Barre gray granite, Hope Cemetery, which opened in 1895, shows off the craftsmanship of immigrants from Scotland and Italy in the 1800s who came to Vermont as skilled stone cutters. One must remember, during this time, Italy was in turmoil and there was a lot of political unrest in the world. America was seen as an opportunity.
One of Barre’s most famous and skilled immigrants was Elia Corti – his monument below is a tribute to him.
If you are traveling throughout New England, do furrylittlegnome a favor and add Hope Cemetery, off of I-89, to your itinerary. It is a free, local attraction in central Vermont that showcases some of the best sculpting you will see in our country. Here is just a taste!