FROM NEW ENGLAND TO WASHINGTON
SWENSON GRANITE WORKS IS HONORED TO HELP REBUILD A SYMBOL OF NATIONAL PRIDE AND STRENGTH
Ceremonies were held in 2002 commemorating the anniversary of September 11, 2001, including a re-dedication of the restored wing of The Pentagon that was destroyed in the deadly attacks. Aside from the extensive reconstruction needed on the building, some of the grounds leading to that portion of the building also needed restoration. With authenticity being of the utmost importance, there were challenges in finding the right materials. Thanks to some yankee ingenuity and a commitment to quality craftsmanship, the granite entrance has been brought back to it’s original splendor.
The color of the granite that was originally used for the construction of the steps for all of the entrances of the building in 1942 was Swenson Pink Granite, quarried in Maine by The Swenson Granite Company. Unfortunately, that quarry had been shut down many years ago, so the search was on for a suitable alternative. Bob Pope, president of The Swenson Granite Company, suggested that Columbia Pink, which was quarried in New Hampshire by Rock of Ages Corporation, would be a close match. Even though that quarry is no longer active, there was a small quantity of the granite stockpiled at the Rock of Ages facility in Barre, Vermont.
Once that color was confirmed as a viable alternative, the attention turned to the unique finish that was applied to the original steps some sixty years before. Due to the advent of more modern technologies and streamlining in the production of granite and stone, some of the old surfacing techniques have gone by the wayside. After a trip to inspect the “six-cut finish” on the original steps at The Pentagon, Bob Pope searched until he located one of the old surfacing machines, and, with some re-tooling (by The Trow and Holden Tool Company in Barre) to comply with modern safety standards, the machine was ready to be used in production. After the first attempt at reproducing the unique finish didn’t work, Mr. Pope consulted Joe Holden, a retired foreman from the former Anderson-Friberg production plant, who had used the old surfacing machines when they were state-of-the-art in the 1940’s. Mr. Holden recognized the problem right away, and instructed the production crew as to the proper method.
As a whole, The Swenson Granite Company provided 600 square feet of steps, and 350 square feet of pavers to the project, all in “Pentagon Pink,” the name that the granite was dubbed by John Stacy, the production Manager at the company’s production facility in Barre. The Swenson Granite Company is proud to have been a part of the restoration process, and hopes their work will stand testament to the American Spirit that made this nation Great.