The Seneca quarry is the long forgotten site in Montgomery County that provided the distinctly rusty red sandstone for the Smithsonian Castle and hundreds of buildings around the Baltimore and Washington region. It's the subject of my new book, The Smithsonian Castle and the Seneca Quarry.
The public is invited to a free tour of the quarry on Saturday, March 2, starting at 1 p.m., followed afterward by a book reception.
Winter is the ideal time to visit Seneca quarry, as the leaves are off the trees and you can see what an incredible site it is. We'll meet at the C&O Canal's Seneca Aqueduct at the very end of Riley's Lock Road in Seneca, MD. There is a large parking lot and "facilities" (the portable kind).
What to bring? The tour will proceed, rain or shine, so be prepared to get a little muddy. Wear boots. Dress in warm layers. Pack a snack. And bring your camera.
We'll start at Seneca Aqueduct, where I'll give an overview of the quarry's history, then we'll visit the one-of-a-kind stonecutting mill. We'll venture through the quarry and up to the restored quarry master's house, then over to Bull Run, where they got the stone for the Smithsonian Castle. It should be about a 2-hour tour and will cover 2 miles round-trip (including a steep climb up the quarry walls).
After the tour, the Glenn family is graciously opening their nearby 1870 Seneca redstone home, Rocklands Farm, for a reception and book signing (14525 Montevideo Rd.). That'll start at 3:30 p.m. We'll have copies on hand of The Smithsonian Castle and the Seneca Quarry and its prequel, The Potomac River: A History and Guide. They go for $20 each (cash, check or PayPal). Everyone is welcome!
Interested in reading more about the Seneca quarry? Check out this recent Patch post. And you can follow the book through its Facebook page.