Friday, September 9, 2011

Hughes Granite Company Created Ohio's Enduring Civil War Memorials

The name Hughes Granite is long gone from Clyde, Ohio, but the exceptional markers, monuments, and memorials the company created remain a physical presence throughout the eastern half of the United States. Carmi Sanford founded the company in the 1880s. After Sanford’s death in 1893, his brother-in-law William E. Hughes oversaw operations. Under his management, the firm flourished becoming one of the best-known granite companies in the United States.

The secret to Hughes’ success was quality. He purchased stone directly from quarries in Scotland, New York, and Vermont. The company employed as many as 55 master stonecutters, sculptors, and engineers. Its most skilled sculptor was James B. King who, like several other Hughes employees, came from Scotland to work for Hughes.


Located on East Buckeye Street in Clyde, the Hughes Granite cutting room featured the most modern tools for cutting, polishing, and carving. The end product was a beautifully executed, high quality, durable marker.

An astute businessman, Hughes also perfected the use of ventilation in designing mausoleums and crypts. His American Mausoleum Company constructed more than 100 mausoleums nationwide, including the Inglewood Park Mausoleum in Inglewood California.
Perhaps the company’s greatest success came when the state of Ohio selected its designs to memorialize its Civil War dead. Competing against 11 other firms, Hughes won the contract to create 34 monuments for Ohio’s fallen at Shiloh battlefield near Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. Employees described their efforts as a “labor of love and duty.” In addition to creating the monuments, the company agreed to deliver them to the site. The monuments were transported to Tennessee by rail and barge. Each 16-ton monument was raised from the river up the 100-foot bluff to the battlefield.

In the spring of 1902, during a ceremony at Shiloh, the state dedicated the monuments to its native sons. One Ohioan accurately predicted “the beautiful memorials… will stand and be admired by future generations when the memory of those who created them has been forever buried in oblivion.” And so it is.

Hughes Granite and Marble Company may be lost to time, but its inspired work lives on as part of the sacred landscape of Andersonville and the Civil War battlefields of Shiloh, Vicksburg, Gettysburg, Antietam, and Chickamauga.

Read about the Hughes Granite and Marble Company in-depth at Sandusky County Scrapbook.

3 comments:

Reference Services said...

Excellent post!

Tony said...

Great work done by the company.
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Currer Bell said...

Nice blog good work by Hughes Granite Company all of the pictures are superb