334 MAY/JUNE 2019 | BETHESDAMAGAZINE.COM
BY MARK WALSTON
IN 1921, LILLY MOORE STONE’S
husband, Frank, passed away from a
debilitating stroke. Soon after, two barns
on the Stones’ Bethesda farm burned to
the ground, destroying the year’s har-
vest. “I was desperate,” Stone recalled in
a typed reminiscence kept by the Mont-
gomery County Historical Society. “My
friends said, ‘Sell the farm and come to
the city.’ But I was born on the farm and
attached to the country.”
Stone pondered a dismal future until
a stranger rode up on her front lawn.
“Mrs. Stone, you have fine stone on your
place,” Stone recalled him saying. “If you
will have it quarried and delivered, I will
;e stone outcroppings on the family
farm—straddling River Road about a
half-mile north of Seven Locks Road—
had been quarried for the first time in
the 1830s by Stone’s grandfather, Capt.
John Moore, a veteran of the War of
1812, who used slave labor to dig stone
largely on contracts from the C&O
Canal Co. Quarry operations stopped
after the Civil War, and stone was quar-
ried only intermittently after that.
“It seemed a stupendous undertaking
for me” to reopen the old family quarry,
Stone recalled. Still, she hired some men,
She named the quarry “Stoneyhurst”
after her 18th-century stone home
standing along Seven Locks Road.
Stone successfully delivered her first
load in 1924, and the quarry took o;. As
;e Sun, a New York City newspaper,
reported in 1929, “It is an inspiring scene
to observe Mrs. Stone as she busies herself with the detail of mining an average
of eighty tons of rock a day, requiring
the services of thirty employees and
the operation of a fleet of six or seven
trucks.” Stone didn’t wield a pick herself,
but she was intimately familiar with how
to deliver a building stone noted for its
strength and beauty. “She typified the
modern woman in business—in a novel
role at that—probably the only woman
quarrier,” ;e Sun reported.
Quarrying was grueling work.
Wedges were pounded by hand into
seams in the rock, then large sections of
stone were peeled from the quarry walls.
Whole sides of a cli; could be removed
in two or three huge slabs. ;e tumbled
stone was then broken down by sledge
hammer and sorted, ready for shaping
by a mason.
The stone’s distinctive variegated
colors—blue, green, yellow, brown—
soon became a common sight around
Washington, D.C. Stoneyhurst stone
can be found in houses, churches, the
old Bethesda post o;ce building, the
original Bank of Bethesda building,
stone walls along the George Washington Memorial Parkway, bridges on P and
K streets and Massachusetts Avenue,
the Washington National Cathedral,
the elephant house and flight cage at the
National Zoo, and St. Albans School in
Stone was also civic-minded, heading county boards and commissions.
She was instrumental in having a flag
o;cially adopted for the county and
founded the historical society in 1944.
She died in 1960 at age 99. ;e business continued into the 1980s, when
the property was sold. Luxury condos
now sit on the old Stoneyhurst site.
;e quarry may be gone, but Stone left
an indelible mark on the building of
Author and historian Mark Walston
( email@example.com) was raised
in Bethesda and lives in Olney.
How a Bethesda farm
woman overcame family
hardships to build a
thriving quarry business