Nestled in Rockport’s Pigeon Cove, the exquisitely rugged shoreline of Halibut Point runs adjacent to the abandoned Babson Farm Quarry and the World War II Fire Control Tower, both of which overlook the seemingly boundless Atlantic Ocean.
Leading down to the shoreline, the banks of Pigeon Cove are brimming with shorebirds flying overhead and hopping and hiding throughout the luscious vegetation, that includes shadbush, greenbriar, bayberry, and crabapple trees. All paths are clearly marked with signage, and most trails are filled with rocks and pebbles a plentiful.
Populated with jagged granite, clashing with the ocean tide, the tip of Halibut Point formed into a mountainous wasteland of rock over many years, known as the Grout Pile, and is home to majestic marine life and a surprisingly harmonious and blustery scenic bluff. The old Babson Farm Quarry, which operated in the turn of the twentieth century, is both to thank and to blame for the abundance of rock and granite debris.
The granite once quarried at Babson Farm paved thousands of city streets and built tunnels, bridges, and monuments all over Massachusetts, including the Custom House Tower and Longfellow Bridge in Boston. Eventually, the Babson Farm Quarry was sold to the Rockport Granite Company, ironically the same stone cutters hired by Rodger Babson to carve lessons of self-improvement into the boulders along Dogtown Road (see my previous post: Curious New England, A Walk Through Babson Boulder Trail and the Legacy of Rodger Babson). The quarry was abandoned in 1929 with the collapse of the granite industry.
At the end of World War II, a five-story fire control tower was erected to serve as a costal defense. Finally in 1981, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), with help from The Trustees, purchased the fifty-six acres of land thus preserving Cape Ann’s affluent and remarkable history. Today, the fire control tower serves as a public observation tower and exhibit center, depicting the history of the quarry.
Views of: Babson Farm Quarry, the World War II Fire Control Tower (serves as the Visitor’s Center), the Atlantic Ocean, Folly Cove, Hog Island, Crane Beach, Castle Hill, Mouth of the Ipswich River, Sandy Point State Reservation, Parker River National Wildlife Refugee, Mouth of the Merrimack River, Newburyport, Salisbury Beach State Reservation, Seabrook New Hampshire Nuclear Power Plant, Mount Agamenticus in Maine, and the Isle of Shoals
Directions: 4 Gott Avenue, Rockport, Massachusetts 01966
Parking Fee: $5.00 for Massachusetts resident and $20.00 for non-resident
Hours: 8:00 a.m. to sunset