Monday, July 18, 2016

Reading Redstone

Over the past two weeks, we have had several outreach programs with the Kennett Middle School summer program. It involved three days of special tours and included a visit to the Conway Public Library,  a walking tour of Conway village, and a field trip to the Redstone Quarry.  
These tours are part of a larger and ongoing project to understand, research, document and understand Conway’s historical landscape. We are building on programs we did with the Pine Tree School, the UNH Cooperative Extension spirals program and other groups. We are happy to do them for other schools and groups, just contact us.

For this blog, we will focus on the theme of Conway’s granite history. On display in the Ham Community Room at the Conway Public Library is a fantastic painting by artist Ernest O. Brown.
It is one of the many landscapes in the “Shades of Spring” art exhibit on display now through August 31, 2016. The acrylic painting entitled “Spring: Chaos and Time Travel,” features an enigmatic hand split fence. Nearly photorealistic yet still painterly it shows incredible detail, amazing perspective and his signature dramatic shadows and composition.

Upstairs in the main reading room of the Conway Public Library the group learned about the now lost tourist attraction, the Washington Boulder, from which the foundation stones of the library were cut and quarried. See this link.  


At the Conway Historical Society’s Salyards Center we saw tools used to cut and dress stone by hand and dioramas and poster board displays on the quarry’s history done by school students in 2015 for the town’s 250th anniversary.
During the walking tour, we studied the cellar hole of the Conway House Hotel at the four corners near the library as well as the World War One Memorial on the library grounds. (now also known as a site for Pokémon Go).
To learn more about Conway’s larger, industrial scale granite history we took a bus tour to the Redstone quarry. It was only a short way into the trail before the intrepid explorers discovered a large pilaster with a high glossy finish.

We studied the curious "tool marks" on the usually hidden top and bottom faces of the pilaster.

We were then able to match the tool marks to the actual tools (just down the trail) used to hold and shape and finish and move the pilaster.

The Conway Public Library's Henney History Room has a wealth of information about this and many other sites in the area. Please contact us if you would like more details. Click on the pictures to enlarge any of these images.

After exploring the village of Redstone, we were back on the bus on time and ready for our next adventure.

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