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Barre is the granite center of the world, having the world's largest quarry for the stone, and also a good number of the world's finest craftspeople to work it.

 

   

The first thing you must know about Barre, Vermont, 8.4 miles (13.5 km) southeast of Montpelier (map) is that its name is pronounced like the name "Barry," and not like a drinking place.

The town was named to honor Isaac Barré (1726-1802), an Irish soldier, politician and member of Parliament who supported American aspirations to liberty and even coined the term "Sons of Liberty."

Granite

The next thing to know is that Barre, the 4th largest city in Vermont (pop. 9,000), is all about granite, that granular, igneous rock that is so much a part of Vermont.

Barre sits atop a simply huge mass of granite estimated to be 4 miles (6.4 km) long, 2 miles (3.2 km) wide and 10 miles (16 km) deep. Barre granite is high quality, prized for its color, fine and even grain, and resistance to deterioration by weather.

With the coming of railroads to Vermont, Barre could ship its granite easily and cheaply to the rest of the nation, and Barre's boom began. Stonecutters immigrated to Barre from many European countries to fashion this basic building material for a young and fast-growing nation.

Guided tours of the granite quarries and the stonecutting workshops are offered daily, and prove a fascinating way to spend a few hours.

The Rock of Ages granite quarry in the Barre neighborhood of Graniteville (where else? map) is open for tours daily from the beginning of May through October.

Hope Cemetery

There's no more fascinating gallery of the granite artistry for which Barre is famous than in Hope Cemetery, where Barre's master stonecutters and carvers exhibited their expertise on their own gravestones. More...

Donati Monument, Hope Cemetery, Barre VT
Whimsical artistry in Hope Cemetery.

For information on lodging and transportation, see the page on neighboring Montpelier.

—by Tom Brosnahan



Hope Cemetery

Montpelier VT

Northeast Kingdom VT

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Northern Vermont

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About Vermont

 

 

Welcome Sign, Barre VT

Above, the "Welcome to Barre" sign is made from local granite—naturally!