This Month in Stafford County History October 2015

On both sides of the Rappahannock River and near the modern Interstate 95 bridge over this waterway are substantial granite deposits.  During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, efforts were made to develop these commercially.  Rail access to the quarries on the Stafford side of the river was a necessity and several attempts were made to build a branch line out to them.  One newspaper article reported:


"The 'Forge' tract of land which was purchased through Mr. W. F. Ficklen of the Ficklen estate by Mr. W. E. Grant and other capitalists, of Richmond, promoters of the Rappahannock Railway Co., is situated just north of Falmouth, on the Rappahannock river, and contains between 400 and 500 acres.  The new purchasers will develop the granite quarries on the property, the product of which is said to be of superior quality and supply inexhaustible.  The railroad, which will run only from this property to the R. F. & P. R.  R., is intended only as an outlet for the shipment of Granite from the quarries, thus saving the great expense of hauling and handling.  There will be no passengers traveling on the road, only shipments by freight, and besides granite, grain and other freight can be shipped from Falmouth, as a station will be established there.  The road will connect with the R. F. & P. R. R. at Cool Spring, and its entire length will not be more than 2 1/2 miles.  The new owners of the granite quarry expect to spend a large amount in developing the property and will employ many operatives.  Mr. Wm. W. Butzner, of this city, is the council of the Richmond parties" (Fredericksburg Daily Star, Oct. 26, 1906).