Ricciuti Dr, Quincy, MA 02169, USA
Owned By: Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR)
This historic, but now inactive, granite quarry has been partially filled. Stop here for rock climbing and hiking, or to enjoy the views of the Boston skyline. The property features 22 acres with quite a bit of graffiti, but also some areas that retain their natural character. Adjacent to Blue Hills Reservation. Swimming and diving are prohibited.
The Quincy Quarries are considered to be the birthplace of large-scale granite quarrying in the United States. In 1825, Solomon Willard established a quarry in West Quincy to source granite for constructing the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. Quincy became known as The Granite City. Over the course of the next 140 years, there were 50 different granite quarries within the bounds of the city. The last quarry closed in 1963. This particular quarry, established in 1830, was known originally as Pine Hill Ledge. Granite from this site helped to finish the Bunker Hill Monument. Later known as Granite Railway Quarry, it was active until the early 1940s.
In order to transport mammoth chunks of stone from West Quincy to Charlestown, The Granite Railway — one of the first commercial railroads in the United States — was established here in 1826. It was chartered by Thomas Perkins and engineered by Gridley Bryant. Horse-drawn wagons moved granite atop iron-plated wooden rails for 3 miles to a dock on the Neponset River. From there, the granite traveled by barge to Charlestown. The wooden rails were replaced with granite in 1837, and again capped with iron.
In 1871, the Old Colony and Newport Railway took over the Granite Railway’s right-of-way. It upgraded the tracks and began using steam trains. Later absorbed by the New York, New Haven, and Hartford Railroad, the railway was upgraded again in the early 20th century. Passenger service continued until 1840, while freight service extended to 1973. Most of the railroad right-of-way was eventually incorporated into the Southeast Expressway in Milton and Quincy.
Inactive quarries often fill with water, making them popular but dangerous sites for swimming and diving. Such was the case here. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased 22 acres of the Quincy Quarries in 1985. In 1999, the state drained the quarry and filled it, using soil from the Big Dig highway project. The quarry was reopened to the public in 2003 and quickly became popular with rock climbers.
The unmarked trails here lead up and down quarry ledges. Some routes are more challenging than others. What appears to be a steep climb from a particular vantage point may actually be a relatively easy stroll up a wooded slope when viewed from another spot. There are options here for the adventuresome as well as for those averse to risk. Rock climbers enjoy the sheer cliff faces inside the former-quarry pits.
Habitats and Wildlife
This area was once mined for granite. On 1999, it was filled with soil from Boston’s Big Dig, creating a grassy area for walking and exploring. There are plenty of granite ledges with partially forested slopes, plus a pond and some wetlands. A surprisingly diverse spot!
The waters and streams here flow into Quincy’s Furnace Brook, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean at Quincy Bay.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 22 acres
Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Parking: On-site parking areas.
Trail Difficulty: Easy, Medium, Hard
Dogs: Dogs must remain on leash. Scoop the poop!
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: No
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Furnace Brook (Quincy) / Quincy Bay