Mattapoisett Land Trust looks to preserve historic quarry
At one time, Mattapoisett was a hub not only for whaling ships but also for a highly sought after pink granite.
Hidden in the woods off Mattapoisett Neck Road, the quarry that once unearthed the stones used for the town's wharves and curbstones is now for sale, and the Mattapoisett Land Trust wants to buy it.
“We have the potential to preserve a beautiful piece of wildlife habitat that is historically significant to the town,” said Land Trust President Mike Huguenin.
The 53-acre site, once owned by the Hammond family, has been vacant for at least 100 years, and tall white pines now grow out of the deep holes left by the excavation of tons of the reddish granite.
The property abuts the Mattapoisett Landing development, Route 6 and Mattapoisett Neck Road and has a $570,000 price tag. To make it their own, the Land Trust has about a year to raise the funds, and the members are already looking into options.
The group has applied for $75,000 from the Community Preservation Committee. If the committee approves that amount, it would then go to Town Meeting voters for the final OK in May.
Huguenin said a possible $300,000 could also come through a state grant, in part because the property has rare and endangered species, including box turtles.
The rest of the funds would likely come from private donations.
Purchase of the quarry would create at least 400 contiguous acres of protected land accessible for public use.
On Saturday, the Land Trust introduced a group of 52 local residents to the property. Haste Management Plymouth Nominee Trust, the current landowner, gave the nonprofit organization permission to cut several paths through the woods leading to two deep pits from which tons of granite was removed from the early 1700s to 1900s.
Huguenin said it's not clear how much was excavated, how far and wide the pink granite traveled or what could still be left in the pits from the old operation.
If the Land Trust can buy the land, Huguenin said they will bring in metal detectors to explore the pits and will carve out multiple hiking trails through the woodland.
They will also continue to research the quarry's history, of which little is currently known.
Huguenin believes the quarry was a significant part of Mattapoisett's early success, in addition to the harbor and trees.
“Maybe that was the special sauce that made our bread rise,” he said.
The Land Trust believes the property would be a great addition to the rich historical offerings in the area.
“We just think it would be great to add these old quarries to that selection,” he said.
Contributions are welcome and can be mailed to Mattapoisett Land Trust, P.O. Box 31, Mattapoisett, MA 02739 or sent via MLT's website www.mattlandtrust.org. Questions about the property can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.