Thanks to the Silurian (440 to 410 million years ago, give or take a few) and Devonian (410 to 360 m.y.a.), two periods of the Paleozoic Era, a lot of granite ended up in the ground of Mount Desert Island. Hall Quarry, a peaceful retreat centrally located on Mount Desert Island, is where a lot of the granite got “hauled” back out.
The island, beginning in the late 1790s, had dozens of operating granite quarries. The first commercial quarry was opened not far from Otter Cliffs in 1871 by a man named Cyrus Hall, who came from Belfast, Maine. About a dozen years later, Hall moved across the island to the western shore of Somes Sound and established a place originally called Quarrytown, which today bears his name.
Hall Quarry was blessed with deep water access and a high-quality stone, and the quarries would be successful there through the first half of the 20th century. Hall began with two oxen and six employees, but ultimately the area housed some 2,000 workers, many of them immigrant workers from Italy, Scotland, and Sweden.
Hall Quarry had not one but three company stores, and areas nicknamed Bed Bug Boulevard and Peanut Row where the men lived in boarding houses consisting of small sleeping areas, with a wood- or coal-fired stove heating only the main rooms downstairs.
Mount Desert Island granite was used in many public and government buildings, including the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The largest contract locally is said to be that of supplying the granite for the Philadelphia Mint, which took 800 men a year and a half.
Fun Fact: Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) and Jud Crandall (Fred Gwynne) climb through the old granite quarries in this area to get to the pet cemetery, in the 1989 movie made from Stephen King’s novel of the same name.