Transporting the Granite
One of the quarry’s first contracts was to supply the granite for the gate houses at the Purdys and Carmel dams being built as part of New York City’s Croton water supply. The granite was transported by horse to the train station in Yorktown for transport into Putnam County. Most of the granite, however, had to be brought to either the railroad at Peekskill or the dock at Verplanck for transport to New York City and beyond. Despite repeated calls for a rail line to be built from the quarry to Peekskill, the line was never built.
- An 1892 newspaper article reported that the Mohegan Granite Company was surveying for a rail connection from Yorktown, Shrub Oak and Mohegan Lake.
- And in 1897, a newspaper article talked of a “scheme” to build a four mile narrow-gauge railroad from the quarry through Peekskill to the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad tracks.
- In 1905, an editorial in the Highland Democrat again pressed for a rail connection. Noting the “great potential” the Mohegan Quarry held out for the economy of the Village of Peekskill, the paper cited the competitive advantage that Vermont granite had because it had a local rail line that could bring stone to the Hudson River. The newspaper urged Peekskill residents to raise the money to construct a “street railway” from the quarry to the Hudson River.
“Do not let this opportunity to establish a granite business of your own, slip from your grasp and float away on the tide that may never return, just as the Vermont granite has been floated down the Hudson right into the market that Peekskill granite can control if you will furnish Mr. Roberts with a stone shed and railroad.”
- In 1923, the “benefits” of building a rail link between Peekskill and Mohansic Park noted that the line would “give the Mohegan Granite Company much needed facilities for getting their very superior granite to the railroads and to the markets.”
The rail connection never materialized, and in its absence, blocks of granite were transported to Peekskill first by horse and eventually by truck. But not always without incidents.
- In 1899, in what the newspaper labeled a “close call,” a triple team of horses carrying three large blocks of stone from the quarry to the Peekskill dock was crossing the railroad tracks when a train “thundered” through. According to the article, had the load been a few feet further along, the train would have hit the stones and the worker killed.
- In 1903, it took a team of ten horses to transport a ten ton stone from the quarry to the dock at Peekskill. According to the newspaper report, when the team was going downhill, six of the horses were placed at the rear to hold back the wagon.
The weight of trucks and their impact on local roads was also a concern to local officials. In 1928, a local town justice had to grant permission for a semi-trailer truck carrying a load of 56 granite blocks weighing 10-20 tons each to travel over town roads. The company had to post a bond in the event the load damaged the roads.
- In 1931, the local newspaper reported that the quarry has just received delivery of a “White truck, the largest of its kind ever seen in this territory.” The truck was proudly lettered, “Mohegan Golden Granite,” “Cut Granite from Mohegan Quarries,” and “Grenci & Ellis, Inc., Peekskill, NY.” The truck also bore the name Joseph Calabrese, the contractor in charge of carting granite to and from the quarry.
- In 1961, recounting his experience as a truck driver for the quarry, Mr. Calabrese recalled that on one trip when he was transporting granite from Maine that had arrived in Peekskill by barge, he had to put an extra 20 pounds of air in his tires and travel at 15 miles an hour. He then had to let the air out slowly before he unloaded so that the tires would not explode.