The James River Park System - Richmond, VA

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North Geology Tour

Stop 8d: How is Granite Used?

Digging Deeper

In the late 1800s, granite was one of the best materials with which to construct a city. Large sections of Petersburg Granite were the foundations of buildings, slender strips were curb stones, slabs became sidewalks, and small cubes were the cobbles that paved roads.

You can still see examples of these historic uses along Cary St. between 9th St. and 14th St. in downtown Richmond.


The quarrying of granite blocks was a laborious and expensive process. Most quarries went bankrupt between 1900 and 1910 with the development of cheap steel reinforced concrete that we see in buildings, sidewalks, and roadways today.

Although expensive, granite remains a popular material for fancy homes and buildings. One countertop company claims that you can “transform and brighten any room with this timeless, iconic material.” Sometimes granite dust is mixed with plastic resin to produce a granite-like product.

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