Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Memorial Park in Franklin, Maine

This here is a galamander, a modified wagon used for hauling stone back in the Old Days. This particular galamander dragged its last slab of quarried granite in the 1950s and spent half a century gathering dust in a Mainer's barn, until it was donated to the Memorial Park in Franklin, ME, a few clicks down the road from my family's cabin. We were having dinner with our neighbors Charlie and Mary on the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend when Charlie asked if we had ever been to Memorial Park. It's not even a mile from the end of our road but it's in a direction we don't usually go in, favoring Acadia and the Blue Hill area when there's time for a drive. When I told him I wasn't aware of a Memorial Park he said, "Well, if you're going to carve stone you need to know about it." He then took matters into his own hands and basically ordered us to get in the car. Meg and I gladly obliged. I've always known we were in granite country, thanks to a well-conditioned climber's eye. But I hadn't realized that Franklin and neighboring Sullivan were home to major quarries in the late 19th century, stone from which curbed the sidewalks of New York City, Washington, DC and beyond. At the Park there's a display of various iterations laid out on the lawn.

There's also a blacksmith's shed on the property that houses a permanent collection of stonecarving tools with helpful descriptions and a rather impressive diorama of quarry life. I'll have to call the Franklin Historical Society to find out if it has visiting hours.We've been coming up this way for years and of course at least the quarrying legacy if not the Park itself has been here all along. I find it amazing and rather serendipitous that as my attention has turned to stone carving, here's a local repository waiting to be researched and explored. Timing, as they say...



  1. What an excellent and fortuitous find, Jesse! Thanks for sharing the great pictures!

  2. Hey Jesse, Those pictures of the galamander and exhibit came out great! Charlie will be so proud.