~ The Rollstone Boulder ~

- From Rollstone Hill to Litchfield Park -

Last updated: January 1, 2012.



The Rollstone Boulder atop the Rollstone Hill Summit
photo taken 1903 , published 1905.


" I AM THE BOULDER "
I survived the ice age.
From my perch on the hill, I held early pilgrims on my shoulders and listened to wild stories of past,
I conversed with the Mohawk Indian tribes, and observed the creation of Fitchburg and it's surrounding communities.
I survived a very serious injury during a blast, and what seems like an eternity where I was displaced and pieced together to my current resting place,
a whole new episode of my life began, for I AM THE BOULDER, the indestructible icon of Fitchburg and local high school class-books.
I am the recipient of curious visitors and photo opts, the observer of local government successes and failures,
the catch all for mild and terrifying weather conditions, the observer of concerts, and the placement of local noted safety and sports figures monuments,
all of which I have been able to withstand and proudly observe over the generations
for I AM THE BOULDER,
the pillar of my community, and the model of strength in perseverance.


~ Story above by Mr. Robert ( Bob) Boucher of California, an Ex Fitchburg Resident ~

Click above for another Story from Robert ( Bob ) Boucher, entitled - The Blacksmith of Fitchburg.


A sketch by John Chittick features the Boulder for the front cover of the 1979 Fitchburg Engagement Calendar. Click here
It is one of the many works from John Chittick - being part of a larger collection that Ken Jones has featured on the following page. Click here



 

Credit for the image and text below
goes to Doris Kirkpatrick and her book
" The City and the River "



 

Looking back in time to when the Boulder could be seen as it sat upon Rollstone Hill




 

 

Click below for - rjohara.net

Bob O'Hara

If you have an Interest in Natural History, Evolutionary Biology, Systematics etc..
The above website is for you.

The plaque attached to the boulder today reads:


ROLLSTONE BOULDER
This boulder, carried by the last glacier from Mt. Monadnock
New Hampshire to the summit of the hill whose name commemorates
it, was for centuries a land mark to Indian and Settler.

Threatened with destruction by quarrying operations, it was
saved by popular subscription, and reassembled here, 1929-1930.

Weight 110 tons . . . . Porphyritic granite
Fitchburg Historical Society
1937



 

On a clear day you can see forever
by Jason Lefferts - Editor, FitchburgPride dot com.

The above article is from the " Fitchburg Pride "
Fitchburg's Own Weekly Newspaper.



 


~ From Hilltop -- To Pieces -- To Common ~

An article from the Fitchburg Sentinel Newspaper
20, December - 1938 Edition

Below - Top left photo, The marking out and numbering of expected pieces before the blasting took place.
Top right - The gentle art of finding them and piecing together the New Boulder after delivery to the Common.

Now sitting upon the Upper Common, people came from far and wide to view and observe,
and after all these years - people are still enjoying the Boulder and the great story behind it.





~ The Rollstone Boulder Bookend ~


~ Credit for the two photos below go to Mr. Peter Capodagli of Fitchburg MA.

The top photo shows the inside of the bookend with the moulded inscription
Rollstone Boulder
Fitchburg, Mass.
With the Rollstone Boulder playing such an important role in the History
of Fitchburg, someone at some stage years ago decided to make a moulding
to form two halves for a Bookend cast in brass alloy. The Bookends when
separated measures 6 inches wide, 4 1/2 inches tall and two inches deep.
At one stage it is thought that there was a re-cast done of the first original.


The photo below shows the bookends " when not in use " placed together
to form a model of the Boulder, the rear dark one is a " possible " re-casting
due to a slightly different weight and markings on the casting.


 

Synonymous with the name " Rollstone Boulder " comes the Boulder Art Gallery in Fitchburg, MA.
Click Below

THE BOULDER ART GALLERY


~ Located in Fitchburg's Historic Upper Common ~


 


A further reference to the Rollstone Boulder is made in his last two pages of
FITCHBURG in 1885.
By Atherton P. Mason, M. D.

From the story :- ( P.P. - 357 &358 )
The Bay State Monthly./ Volume 2, Issue 6, March 1885.
As follows /-

The most marked topographical feature in this region is Rollstone Hill,
a rounded eminence, composed entirely of granite. It is just southwest
of the city. Its top is bare rock, but sides are covered with a thin layer
of soil, which furnishes support for quite a forest. Several quarries are
worked during warm weather, and an immense amount of granite has
been taken out without any apparent diminution in the size of the hill.
It may be of interest to state that the Fitchburg Railroad depot, in
Boston, is built of granite taken from the hill ; and there are several
other large stone structures in the Hub built of the same material.
On the very summit of Rollstone is perched " the Boulder," a round
mass of rock, forty-five feet in circumference, and weighing at least
one hundred tons. The rock of which it is composed is totally unlike
any rock formation within a radius of thirty miles or more, and it is
probable that this boulder was bought to its present position by
ice. The view from the top of this hill is well worth the slight trouble
taken in ascending it. At the feet of the observer lies the city, forming
almost a semi-circle. Wooded hills arise on all sides. Wachusett, twelve
miles distant, rears its imposing pile in the south, while Big Watatic
overtops its brethren in the northwest. Almost opposite Rollstone is
Pearl Hill, which is also worth a visit. There are many pleasant drives
around Fitchburg, which are thoroughly appreciated by the citizens.
But we must not dwell longer upon Fitchburg or its environs. Let those
who are strangers to our city come and see for themselves. They will
be welcome. The writer is aware that much has been omitted in this
sketch which ought to have spoken of ; but in a magazine article,
intended simply to give a general idea of the place, such must of
necessity be the case. Much space might, for instance, be most justly
devoted to the business men and merchants of Fitchburg, who, by
hard work and fair dealing, have acquired honorable names in the
community. It would be quite possible to fill several more pages with
such matters, but it is probable that the readers of the " Bay State "
will coincide with the opinion that it is about to stop.

For the full article on
" FITCHBURG in 1885 "
by Atherton P. Mason, M. D.
Click the link below :-

Click Here

The above link is from the pages of ( Making of America )
which forms part of the splendid collection from the
( Cornell University Library Digital Collections )



 

For a Good breakdown of Minerals and photos from the Rollstone Hill Quarry,
Click the link below :-
Click Here

The above link is from ( mindat.org ) the Largest Mineralogy Database on the web.

 



Thanks to the Fitchburg Historical Society and all their hard work over
the many years for this very good collection - also remembering that all
of this work is done on a voluntary basis.

~ The direct links below are all to the Fitchburg Historical Society ~

Remember to Use the BACK button on your Browser
to Return.

Image - A Magnificent shot of the Boulder with Fitchburg in view. ( 1865 )

Image - A view of the Boulder before it had been lifted and stabilized.

* Image - Three young men seated on top of the Boulder.

* Image - A group of young women seated on top of the Boulder enjoying the view. ( One holding a top hat )

Image - Time to raise the Boulder. ( This photo could in fact show the method of lifting before stabilization )

Image - An excellent photo of the quarry with the Boulder in view.

Image - One of the many work sheds on the quarry site, Note the rails running off around the hill.

Image - The Boulder after assembly and in its new found home - the Upper Common.

Image - Another view of the Plaque giving a good idea of its size.

Image - An Excellent view of the Mill with Rollstone Hill at the rear.
The first coats for the war of the Rebellion were made in this Mill.

And one with a difference, the Rollstone Cycle Club as they take a rest in East Pepperell.

* As one views each photo you will also notice the different methods
used to stabilize the Boulder - over many years of photography.


Fitchburg Historical Society - Home Page

Click the above link for The Fitchburg Historical Society
It is well worth a visit when you are next in the area.



 

 

The Boulder as is rests today surrounded by a beautiful garden.

Photo used with Permission

 

 

 



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