At Rye Beach Landscaping, we have a passion for antique granite. There is just something about antique granite that gives you pause to reflect on the effort it took to hand-chisel each piece to fit in a basement foundation, curbing, or cobbles. New Hampshire has long been known as “the granite state” because of the number of quarries that produced quality stone products for the expansion of mills in Portsmouth, Manchester, and Concord. Antique granite is a cornerstone of New Hampshire’s history.
Whenever we are involved in the excavation or demolition of a historic property, we are always on the lookout for antique granite. Our stone masons are experienced in working with old stone, and enjoy the opportunities to use antique granite in creative ways. It could be a hitching post with a drill hole that anchors a wall corner, or weathered flat stones finding their place as flagging in a garden path or natural granite steps.
This “hobby” of ours has gotten us recognition on the historic district commissions for several seacoast towns, including the Portsmouth Historic Commission. Portsmouth, like many seacoast towns, sourced most of its granite from Durham. It is so prevalent here that the antique cobblestones in Portsmouth are referred to as “Durham pavers.”
Recently, Rye Beach Landscaping has had the privilege of rebuilding two of the oldest walkways in Portsmouth New Hampshire – Haymarket Square and Washington Street. The Haymarket Square project was across the street from the home of John Paul Jones. As we rebuilt this antique granite walkway, we mused that he walked on these very pavers as he was writing the Star-Spangled Banner!
If you are planning a demolition project, and see some hand hewn foundation stones – please think of us before you knock them down and haul them away. We would love the opportunity to feature those rugged pieces of New Hampshire art in another landscape where they can be appreciated into the next century.