Portland Brownstone Quarry Stories Part I
In this on going series about The Portland Brownstone Quarries, located in Portland, CT, we learn about the quarry history from Portland historian and resident, Bob McDougall.
In 1690 a stone cutter by the name of James Stanclift was contracted by the town of Middletown to build stonework. By 1783 commercial quarrying began and by the peak of the brownstone era more than 1500 immigrant workers were employed. During the 1800's Portland was famous for it's shipbuilding due to the Gildersleeve family, prominent shipbuilders of the time. Both quarrying and shipbuilding became hand in hand and soon brownstone was being shipped all over the United States and eventually the world.
The site was listed as a National Historic Landmark, which also placed it on the National Register of Historic Places on May 16, 2000.
Robert W. McDougall, born and raised in Portland, has been a longtime student of town history. Joining the Portland Historical Society as a charter member in the sixth grade, he is a past president of the society and serves as the director of the Ruth Callander House Museum of Portland History, which opened in June 2003. In 2004 he published a book, Images of America. Portland. In this short video he shares his passion for the history of the Portland Brownstone Quarries from the birth in 1690 to the flood of 1938 that ended the brownstone quarrying business.