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Within this Collection:

Quarry near Eakles Mills

Contract - Shifler / Washington Marble Co., 1902

George Shifler home.

Marble used in construction on quarry operator's land

Marble monument, Boonsboro

Clara Barton monument, 1962

Maryland marble, 1860 -1909

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Allegany County
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Garrett County
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Washington County
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Civil War in Maryland
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Genealogy Resources
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Photographs and Prints

Marble Quarry, southern Washington County

The marble quarry near Rohrersville in south Washington County was in operation for a number of years. Thomas J. C. Williams' The History of Washington County, Maryland, 1906, includes in the entry about George Shifler of Rohrersville district: "In 1896 a marble quarry was opened on his farm which is leased to a company now actively engaged in shipping marble of a quality equal to that of any now in the market." In 1902 Catherine Shifler signed a contract with the Washington Marble Company, allowing them to place three guy lines on her land and to take water from her creek and well. From the contract it appears that the quarry was on the land of George J. Shifler, adjacent to the Boonsboro – Rohrersville road and along the Little Antietam Creek. Joanne and Gary May, the current owners of George Shifler’s land, are in possession of the contract and a number of photographs of the quarry.

The Washington Marble Company is listed in the 1906 publication of the Maryland Geological Survey entitled "Report on the Physical Features of Maryland", under the section on Limestone, "The most successful quarry at the present time is that situated near Eckles Mills (sic), Washington County, operated by the Washington Marble Company.” The company is also listed in the 1909 Maryland Geological Survey. Marble from north of Baltimore in Cockeysville and Texas, Md. was used in the construction of the Washington monument in DC and also the Washington monument in Baltimore. The use of the Washington County marble is uncertain. But the mine was a significant one, with sizeable blocks, and in the photographs included in this collection many of the blocks were numbered, leading one to consider they were used for more than local construction.

H. A. Zech took the photographs owned by the May family. Zech, a District of Columbia resident, was listed in the financial reports of the secretary of the Senate for 1901 and 1902 “for making photographs in connection with the preparation of a plan for the park system of the District of Columbia, as provided in the resolution of the Senate of Mar. 8, 1901.” One suggestion as to why a photographer would come to Washington County from the District of Columbia to produce a numbered set of photographs of a quarry, was that he may have been scouting on behalf of the Senate Park Commission for replacement stone or new stone for construction to match the old buildings. From the quarry near Rohrersville, a road only two miles in length would have taken the stone to Eakles Mills on the Washington County branch of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, to be transported to the main line near Weverton and on into the capital. A number of long-time county residents remember marble blocks being stacked by the train tracks near the end of Marble Quarry Road.

An article entitled "Marbles of Maryland" in Through the Ages (v.3 #2, June 1925), published by National Association of Marble Dealers based in Baltimore, noted that Boonsboro and Eakles Mills had small deposits of cream colored marble. “In 1896-98 Maryland quarries, chiefly at Cockeysville and Eakles Mills, produced from $110,000 to $130,000 worth of marble each year. These figures dropped from 20 to 40 per cent in the next seven years, when the rebuilding operations after the Baltimore fire of 1904 brought the demand in 1905 and 1906 up to $138,404 and $176,495 respectively." This article raises the possibility of Eakles Mills marble being used in the reconstruction of Baltimore after the fire. There is however no proof of this or any knowledge of use of Washington County marble in the District of Columbia.

How long the marble quarry near Rohrersville was in operation is unknown. The first mention of a quarry was in 1896, though a survey in the 1860s recorded the presence of "beautiful white marble". One of the managers of the quarry was Lockwood Rines, who is also shown in the 1909 geological survey as operating a mine near Boonsboro and having an office at Eakles Mills. In the 1910 District of Columbia census Lockwood Rines was recorded as the proprietor of a marble quarry. In a 1912 Washington Post article he is listed as the manager of the Washington Marble Company. Rines owned the old Kefauver homestead on what is now Park Hall Road from 1903 to 1916, and there is evidence of marble being used in the construction of buildings there, as well as marble cutting tools found on the property. After that, the quarry fades from history, and a tenant of the Shifler house in the late 1920s remembers only the seconds heaped in the field, but no mining activity. The large hole was filled by Bidle Brothers for Lou Keller in the 1970s because it was considered a safety hazard. The marble remains, though, in the plaque at Boonsboro's Shafer Park, and front steps and buildings in towns and countryside throughout the area.

Western Maryland Regional Library is most grateful to Joanne and Gary May for the loan of the photographs of the quarry and the contract between Catharine Shifler and the Washington Marble Company. Gratitude is also extended to Ed Itnyre for sharing his research on the Kefauver homestead and the connection with Lockwood Rines. Thanks also to Jeff Korman of the Maryland Department, Enoch Pratt Library; Timothy Dennee and Anne Brockett of the District of Columbia Historic Preservation Office; Catherine Dewey of the National Park Service; Colleen McKnight of the Historical Society of Washington, D.C.; and David Brezinski of the Maryland Geological Survey.

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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