Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Headstones Too Go Global

Headstones Too Go Global, and One City Pays the Price - New York Times: " For decades, the granite industry made Barre, near Montpelier, a boomtown and Vermont’s biggest melting pot, drawing immigrants from Italy, Ireland, Poland and Canada. During their heyday, in the early-to-mid-20th century, the manufacturers here employed about 3,000 people.

Today the number is only 1,500, said John P. Castaldo, executive director of the Barre Granite Association, and most of those are in sales or administration. Roughly 300 actually make headstones and memorials, working with heavy machinery, and those who still hand-carve granite are no more than six or so.

The biggest problem during the last decade has been imported headstones, mostly from China and India, which cost about half as much as those made in Barre (pronounced BEAR-ee)."

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