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Quincy Granite Railway

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1830, Gridley J. F. Bryant. End of Mullin Ave.
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Compressor House (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Quarry (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Quincy Granite Railway (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)
  • Quincy Granite Railway (Peter Vanderwarker or Antonina Smith)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • Compressor House (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)

Two stone obelisks at the end of Mullin Avenue memorialize the Quincy Granite Railway, standing at the bottom 91 feet of the granite railway incline and forming a gateway for hikers going into the Blue Hills. In 1826 Solomon Willard commissioned Gridley J. F. Bryant to devise an efficient method for moving heavy blocks from his West Quincy quarry to the Neponset River. Adapting a gravity tramway similar to those employed in Britain, Bryant developed the first rails, laying two iron-sheathed wooden rails (later granite, then iron) spaced 8 feet apart across stone cross-ties (“sleepers”), the prototype for the subsequent steam railroad lines. Horses drew loaded cars down the slight incline to the wharf and pulled them back up the road for reloading. The old Bunker Hill Quarry lies on an overgrown hiking trail immediately north of the houses at the end of Bunker Hill Lane. The obelisks mark a 315-foot granite ramp built in 1830, again by Bryant, when the original quarry was abandoned for the Pine Hill (Granite Railway) Quarry. Remnants of the winch used to draw the cars up and down the incline lie nearby. A Classical Revival brick compressor house (1910), which provided power for the now gone cutting sheds, abuts the parking lot before the incline.

Writing Credits

Keith N. Morgan


What's Nearby


Keith N. Morgan, "Quincy Granite Railway", [Quincy, Massachusetts], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Massachusetts

Buildings of Massachusetts: Metropolitan Boston, Keith N. Morgan, with Richard M. Candee, Naomi Miller, Roger G. Reed, and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2009, 557-557.

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