Peter E. Kurtze
Granite Historic District
Woodstock, Baltimore County
The Granite Historic District comprises the focus of a rural quarrying community located in the Patapsco Valley of western Baltimore County, Maryland. The district includes properties along Old Court Road and several side streets, between Granite Road on the east and Hernwood Road on the west. Contributing resources include two churches, a school, a social hall, former commercial buildings, and houses and outbuildings, representing the period from the initial settlement of the area c. 1750 through the early 20th century, when the village achieved its present form. The district also includes the former Waltersville quarry, one of two major granite operations in the region during the period. Primarily dating from the late 19th and early 20th century, the resources within the district reflect a variety of building forms which characterized rural communities of the period in the region. Most of the houses are Late Victorian, of frame construction, two stories high, with a central cross gable; this type appears in various sizes and degrees of elaboration, from the small three-bay-wide houses of quarry workers to the expansive five-bay-wide residence of the mine owner. Also present are examples of workers' duplexes, and representatives of turn-of-the-century Queen Anne and Foursquare house types. The district retains a high level of integrity, with few significant alterations or modern intrusions.
The Granite Historic District is significant for its association with the granite quarrying industry in western Baltimore County in the 19th and early 20th century. Originally known as Waltersville and renamed Granite in recognition of its principal product, the village was the center of this industry, which during its peak in the late 19th century provided building materials for major projects throughout the eastern seaboard. Granite from the Waltersville and Fox Rock quarries was utilized in construction of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in the 1830s, and later in such projects as the Library of Congress, old Treasury Building, and parts of the inner walls of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.; the old Post Office, Courthouse, Custom House, Polytechnic Institute, and monument to the Sons and Daughters of the American Revolution in Baltimore; numerous other projects in Baltimore city and county; and local buildings including the Odd Fellows' Hall, two churches, and the public school building which still stand within the district. The district comprises a cohesive collection of resources representing the development of the rural quarrying community from the mid-18th century through the late 1930s. Most of the resources are residential in character and date primarily from the peak of the quarry industry in the last quarter of the 19th through the early 20th century; these houses typically conform to the two-story cross-gabled type which characterized rural communities throughout the region during the period.