Quincy Quarries Reservation is an amazing abandoned quarry site in Quincy, Massachusetts. This quarry once supplied rock for some of the most important projects in Boston’s history and today it is a popular tourist attraction with its graffiti-colored rocks.
History of the Quincy Quarries
Solomon Willard was a famous architect in Boston who was tasked with building the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Willard was an expert carver and builder, but the monument was a big task to complete. He began researching potential areas that could supply the granite necessary to complete the structure. Eventually, Willard chose the Quincy location as the supply of stone for the Bunker Hill Monument. In 1825, the quarry was established.
After Williard selected the location for the quarry, a lot of work was done to harvest granite and move it to Boston. A charter for the construction of a railroad to assist in moving the granite was obtained on March 4, 1826, following numerous delays and obstructions. Gridley Bryant, a pioneer in the railroad industry, developed and constructed the “Granite Railway,” which went into operation on October 7, 1826. Three miles of iron-plated timber rails supported by horse-drawn wagons carried granite to a pier on the Neponset River. The granite then made its way via barge to Charlestown.
As a result of the widespread fame of the granite from these quarries, stone cutting swiftly took over as Quincy’s main industry. Quincy eventually earned the title of “The Granite City”. There were 50 separate granite quarries located inside the city limits throughout the following 140 years.
In 1963, the final operating quarry was shut down. The open quarries became submerged in groundwater and rain after they were abandoned. The flooded quarries quickly gained popularity as a cliff-jumping location. Sadly, many people who dove into the quarries from enormous heights were hurt or died. The location also became popular among rock climbers and word spread quickly to those in the rock climbing community. Ultimately, all these actions forced the Quincy police and the city to consider what to do with this vacant area.
Old telephone poles and trees were installed in the 1980s to deter cliff jumping. They were situated to fence off the quarry, but sadly they were pushed into the water. These rapidly became flooded and sank two feet underwater, where the cliff jumpers above could not see them. The rate of accidents and fatalities soared. Divers were dispatched to seek for missing cliff jumpers and frequently unintentionally discovered other bodies.
The quarries were eventually drained. Yet again, a use for the quarries was found. The massive stone walls became a popular canvas for graffiti artists. Artists flock to the Quincy Quarries to tag every surface they could find.
Establishing The Reservation
In 1985, Boston’s Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) purchased 22 acres that encompassed the old quarry. They keep the quarries closed until a unique opportunity arose. Ironically, when the Big Dig occurred in Boston, the workers had trouble finding places to dispose of the dirt being removed. The MDC asked for the dirt to be dumped at the quarries to make them safer.
In the early 2000s, the quarries were opened to the public and were officially named the Quincy Quarries Reservation.
Quincy Quarries Today
The reservation offers hiking, rock climbing, and views of the Boston skyline, and it is connected to the Blue Hills Reservation’s trail network. There are paths leading up to the top of the different rock structures and some remains of the quarry operations can be seen. Graffiti artists are not allowed, but they do seem to continue to love tagging the rock walls. There is so much graffiti at this quarry that it is sometimes hard to even see the natural rock colors.
Ultimately, the Quincy Quarries are amazing for exploring and offer plenty of photo opportunities too!
- Year Established: 1825
- Year Abandoned: 1963
- Original Function: Quarry
Quincy Quarries Reservation Location
- Address: Ricciuti Drive
- Town: Quincy
- State: Massachusetts
- GPS: 42.244088, -71.034968
- Parking Notes: There is a dedicated parking area for visitors to the Quincy Quarries. The parking area can be found just off Ricciuti Drive. There are spaces for about 3 dozen cars. On nice summer weekends, the parking lot can get crowded.
- Parking Directions: HERE
- Location Directions: HERE