Monadnock Moments No. 61: Keene Granite, Terra Cotta and Tile Company

Keene Granite factory on Water Street

In 1890 an unusual business was founded in Keene that produced pottery from pieces of New Hampshire granite.  The firm, known as the Keene Granite, Terra Cotta and Tile Company, was organized by several well known Keene residents.  Joseph B. Beal, a well known clothier, was the firm’s president.  Fred Howe, later a photographer, was treasurer.  Wallace L. Mason, the banker, was secretary, and J. A. Wright of the silver polish company was manager.
The company built a factory on Water Street, which was later the home of Dalbolt Incorporated and the MacMillan Company.  The process of producing pottery from granite involved grinding the granite into a fine powder and using the powder to form pieces of pottery which were fired in kilns. The results of this process were gray bowls, pitchers and vases.  Bricks were also produced in the same manner.
Within a year or two the firm name was changed to New Hampshire Moulded Granite Company and the product line was changed almost entirely to moulded granite bricks for building purposes.  The company furnished the bricks for the foundation of at least one substantial building located in Bellows Falls.  Furthermore, J. A. Wright made a gift of bricks to the new Elliot Hospital for the construction of a fireplace.

Apparently, the firm was not very successful as it closed only four years after it was organized. In July, 1894, the company sold its land and buildings on Water Street for $6200.  Unfortunately, the pottery was not marked and very few pieces have survived from Keene’s short-lived moulded granite business.