Historic Quarry Where Smithsonian Castle Stone Was Mined Endangered, No One Claiming Responsibility

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — If you drive through some old sections of Baltimore and see buildings and mansions made with a reddish stone, the odds are it came from a Maryland quarry on the Register of Historic Places.

But now, as Mike Schuh reports, one man says that quarry is endangered by vandals.

“The wood, obviously from the construction, is starting to deteriorate,” says concerned neighbor Mike Bailey. “I think that the graffiti is basically young people coming out here having a good time, partying, not recognizing the historic value.”

Overgrown now, the Seneca Quarry closed 116 years ago, it’s last owner from Baltimore. From there, the stone was loaded on barges and floated down the C&O Canal to D.C. and beyond.

The stone came out gray, but soon it would turn red after rainwater activated the iron oxide, giving it its signature rust color.

Its stone is most famous for the Smithsonian Castle in D.C., but was used for many other buildings there and in Baltimore.

There used to be barriers protecting the site, but they’re gone, and it’s not clear who owns it, or who the caretaker is supposed to be.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the National Park Service and the C&O Canal Park all say the quarry is not part of their jurisdiction.

Bailey fears thieves may have stolen the 3,000 pound grinding wheel from inside the old mill.

“It’s disheartening because it has such rich history,” he says. “To see it falling apart and knowing it’s on the historic register and knowing what it used to do, it’s kind of sad.”

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