Coasting Connections

Shipping along America’s coasts was vital to the nation’s economy. Lumber, bricks, cotton, and other bulk cargoes from different parts of the country spent time at sea.

Many American cities were built with materials carried over coastal waters. Limestone quarried in Maine was made into mortar and shipped to New York and Boston, where it was used in building construction. Quarries in Maine also supplied granite to complete the Treasury Department building in Washington, D.C., between 1855 and 1869. Matching stone was later shipped to New York and Philadelphia for new, grand central post offices.


The entire Maine coast was one vast neighborhood in which every schooner was as familiar as the house next door...
—Schooner Captain John F. Leavitt

Shipping lime from Maine, about 1880

A schooner in Rockland Harbor is being loaded with casks of lime, used for making cement. The wood stacked at the pier is for the kilns, where lime is produced by burning limestone.

Courtesy of the Douglas K. and Linda J. Lee Collection


Getting granite aboard, about 1900

Workers at the John L. Goss Quarry in Stonington, Maine, used derricks and horse-drawn stone carts called galamanders to transport blocks of granite from quarry to ship.

Courtesy of the Maine Maritime Museum


Lent by the Office of the Curator, Department of the Treasury

Granite Cap, about 1869

This granite cap anchored part of the Treasury Department’s iron fence. Construction workers removed it during alterations in 1986.


The Stone Treasury

The completed Treasury Department, seen from the southwest, after 1870

From a stereoview card published by C. S. Cudlip & Co.

Courtesy of the Office of the Curator, Department of the Treasury