I am very fortunate to live in the beautiful Berkshires and own the Inn at Stockbridge. I often take off time from innkeeping and enjoy the beautiful country that I am thankful to live in. As part of a great hiking group we expore the Berkshires every Tuesday and experience first hand what nature has granted us. Yesterday we hiked in the Becket quarry. This has a great history and would be worth exploring on your own. It is about a 20 minute drive from the Inn.The Becket Land Trust was founded in 1991 by a group of concerned citizens who were interested in maintaining the rural nature of the Town of Becket and of preserving its natural resources.
In 1999 The Labrie Stone Products proposed purchasing an abandoned quarry in the southern part of town and reopening the granite quarry. Citizens of Becket, desiring to avoid the noise and activity of an active quarry purchased the land and donated it to the Land Trust.
The former Hudson-Chester Quarry was once one of the largest of several in the area, extracting granite and shipping it by railroad for polishing to nearby Chester and Hudson, N.Y. Gravestones and monuments were the main products.
The quarry opened in the 1850's and closed in the 1960's. It is one of the most intact historic quarry landscapes in Massachusetts, with a blacksmith shop, standing derrick, and experimental air-drill testing tunnel.
Tucked between Becket's forests and hills, the old granite quarry sits like a sunken vessel, a living museum with rusted artifacts left behind when the Hudson-Chester Granite Company suddenly folded.
When it was abandoned it was as if the men just walked away for lunch and never came back, and that's what makes it a wonderful museum. There are trucks, drills, and derricks (booms to hoist granite) throughout the site. Apparently mismanagement and lack of money for necessary improvements led to the abandonment.
"I have visited a lot of extractive industrial sites. The Becket Quarry stands out in my mind as probably the best granite quarry I have seen in Massachusetts . It is large enough to be very impressive, but small enough so that its operations and technology are clearly visible in the landscape and artifacts. It is also in a remarkable natural setting with spectacular views and abundant wildlife."
Practicing Industrial Archaeologist
Visit us at the Inn and Alice & Len will be happy to share their knowledge of the beautiful Berkshires with you. There are many beautiful areas you too can explore.