Montello Commercial Historic District
N 43° 47.500 W 089° 19.740
16T E 312620 N 4851370
Quick Description: Take a stroll down West Montello and Main Streets and view the Queen Anne, Italianate and other architecture from 1875-1924. View Montello's famous granite quarry.
Location: Wisconsin, United States
Date Posted: 7/23/2007 8:43:17 PM
Waymark Code: WM1X2E
January 5, 1984
MONTELLO - The outcropping of granite in the middle of our county seat was first recognized as something other than a pile of rocks and an impossible building site by Claude B. King, a Chicago newspaper man who was visting his brother-in-law, L.A. Perkins in Montello in 1879. Back in Illinois, King consulted his friend J.H. Anderson, a granite dealer and monument maker, and together they formed the Montello Granite Company. Six months later, stock was also held by John and Hugh O'Neil. The quarry opened for business in May 1881.
In 1883, Anderson bought out the O'Neils, and King died. Name of the Company was changed to Wisconsin Granite Co., and then, for a time, to Berlin and Montello Granite Co. when E.S. Pike and Mr. McGinnis (who had acquired quarry property in Berlin) were taken in as partners. Anderson was general manager. William McBain was first quarry superintendent at Montello.
As a commercial venture the quarry flourished by supplying hand cut street-paving blocks to cities such as St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati and Milwaukee, where they stood up well under the traffic of horseshoes and steel rimmed wagon wheels.
Montello granite was in demand for grave markers and memorials. In 1896, after comparing it with 281 other granite specimens from four continents, Montello granite was chosen for the sarcophagi of Gen. and Mrs. U.S. Grant at Riverside Park, New York.
Montello granite was also used for Wisconsin monuments on Civil War battlefields at Chickamauga, Gettysburg and Vicksburg for soldiers' monuments from Illinois, Iowa and Indiana at Andersonville. The United States Government chose Montello granite for the monument to General Custer in the Black Hills.
After ninety-five years of operations, the Montello Granite Company closed in the spring of 1976. That was not, however, before the Wisconsin Legislature proclaimed, in 1971, that the state rock should be red granite, of the type quarried for nearly a century in the city of Montello. (Source: Place and Faces in Marquette County, Wis, Vol. I, Fran Sprain)
Roughly, parts of W. Montello and Main Sts at the Montello River
Montello, WI USA
County / Borough / Parish: Marquette
Year listed: 1996
Historic (Areas of) Significance: Famous Granite Quarry and Architecture
Periods of significance: 1875-1949
Historic function: Quarried Granite, Commerce, Trade.
Current function: Commerce, Trade, Recreation and Culture.
Privately owned?: yes
Primary Web Site: [Web Link]
Season start / Season finish: Not listed
Hours of operation: Not listed
Secondary Website 1: Not listed
Secondary Website 2: Not listed
National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed
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