MOUNT GILEAD- A heavy piece of grey and white granite from Barre, Vermont now has a home at the Morrow County History Center in Mount Gilead.
Thanks to the efforts of Jason Brooke the story of the Victory Shaft Monument on the square has come full circle with the history of its origin at a quarry in Vermont.
Brooke’s eyes light up as he tells how he initially got interested in the story of the monument that was the award for Morrow County citizens selling the most war bonds per capita in the nation during World War I.
During celebrations for the monument’s Centennial year in 2019, he saw the name of the Vermont Jones Brothers Company where the granite for the monument was processed in Barre, Vermont.
He was already planning a trip to Maine when he saw a program on the Smithsonian T.V. Channel about the quarry. That motivated him to do more research on the quarry and he contacted the Vermont Historical Society.
Brooke learned the Vermont Granite Museum is now on the site where the Morrow County obelisk was sculpted and polished. The Wells-Lamson quarry where the granite was mined is no longer an active quarry.
The Vermont Historical Society had news articles and other information about the national contest for the monument. The staff there were helpful and excited to make a connection with a person from the town where the Victory Shaft Monument is now located.
Brooke planned the trip this July to coincide with visits to Maine and Vermont Revolutionary War and Civil War battle sites. He put together a photo album for the Vermont Granite Museum with photos of the Victory Shaft and a history of the Morrow County monument’s dedication and the centennial celebration in 2019.
His mom, Penny Brooke, was along on the trip. She said one of the most rewarding things about the trip was taking a walking trail to see where the granite was quarried. They walked with a guide up a long trail to an overlook of the old quarry site and brought down a piece of granite for the Morrow County History Center.
The Vermont Granite Museum is housed in a huge building that was the place where granite was brought in from the quarry to be sculpted, shaped and polished for monuments.
“You could picture how they must have brought in that huge piece of stone and shaped and worked on it before they shipped it out,” Brooke said.
The Vermont Granite Museum Barre posted several photos of Brooke’s visit and the Morrow County Victory Shaft on their FaceBook page June 30. It also has many photos of the museum and quarry.
The quarry industry in Vermont has changed from many small companies at the time when the Morrow County Victory Shaft was made. Brooke said the Rock of Ages Corporation now owns most of the quarries in the area that are still operating.
Along with the rock from the quarry site, Brooke gave the History Center a photo album of their trip and photos of the quarry and museum.
Morrow County History Center Curator Committee member Ellen McMurray and Historical Society President Mike Wilson were delighted to accept the rock and album.
Wilson said it was remarkable to see the building of the Granite Museum that was once the site where our Morrow County Monument was shaped. In its time, it was billed as the “largest monumental shed in the world.”
Murray said this will be a welcome addition to the History Center and suggested Brooke share the story and the information he gleaned from his trip with Historical Society members.
The Morrow County History Center is at 17 W. High Street in Mount Gilead and is open Sunday afternoons from 2-5 p.m. Their phone number is 419-946-7264.