Stone quarrying

– and its granite work

Already by the 1840´s it is likely that stone was being cut in Lysekil. In the area of Stångehuvud, stone quarrying started in the beginning of the 1870´s. Strangely enough the altered power balance between Germany and France affected the quarrying of granite in Stångehuvud.

After Germany had won the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71 there was an increased demand for stone for constructing victory monuments in a number of German cities.

A German company that worked with stone-quarrying was Kessel & Röhl in Berlin. This company received orders for stone to build the victory monuments. The company found the reddish and coarse-grained granite at Sångehuvud very interesting. A few years after 1870 the German company started stone-quarrying at Stångholmesund in Stångehuvud. The granite was taken from the rocks in the slope near Stångholmesund.


     Swedish constructions of granite from Stångehuvud:

             Vasakyrkan, Gothenburg             Kungsportsbron, Gothenburg  

Granite stairs at Gula villan, Lysekil


The stone quarrying in the area of Stångehuvud were made with manual methods.                    Photo: S. Haeger


Many deliveries of granite from Stångehuvud to monuments in Germany

An article in the 1908 yearbook "Sveriges Geologiska Undersökningar" relates that piedestals made of granite from Stångehuvud were delivered to the Warrior Monument in Schwerin. This was the beginning of numerous deliveries of granite from Stångehuvud to the middle and northern parts of Germany.

Granite from Stångehuvud has been cut for monuments in several German cities. A number of these relate to the German emperor Wilhelm I (1797-1888). Around ten of them were destroyed during the Second World War.

Look at a map of Germany with places where granite from Stångehuvud was delivered.

Granite from Stångehuvud was delivered to monuments in these cities (red point = the bedplate of granite is no longer there). 

   Kaiser Wilhelm-monument, made by the sculptor Robert Baerwald (1858-1896). The monument  was inaugurated in 1891.

Bad Arolsen
Kaiser Wilhelm-monument (photo). The monument was unveiled in the summer 1899 and consists of a 3,5 meter high
   bronze figure on a base of granite. The work is made by the sculptor Paul von Woedke.

   Kaiser Wilhelm-monument, (photo). The statue, made in marble of Paul Otto (1846-1893) in 1892, is the only one where the emperor Wilhelm I is portrayed in civilian clothes. The monument was unveiled in May 1893 and has also two reliefs.

   Henoch-monument, a bronze bust on a granite base that honoured the jewish scientist and child specialist  Eduard Henoch (1820-1910). During the Nazi regime in the beginning of the 1940´s the monument was destroyed and it is assumed that the bronze bust, made by the sculptor Martin Wolff, was melted down. 
   Kaiser Wilhelm-monument in Schöneberg, (post card)
The Luther-monument was built near Maria church, Berlin in 1895 in memory of Martin Luther, as one of many German Luther-monuments. Parts of the monument with bases of granite from Stångehuvud, were damaged in air raids during the Second World War. The bases and some figures were destroyed, but the statue of Martin Luther remains and is situated to the north of the church.
   Schulze-Delitzsch-monument, photo. The monument was raised in the summer of 1899 at Schultze-Delitzsch-Platz in  Luisenstadt in Berlin-Mitte. It honours the German economist Franz Hermann Schulze-Delitzsch (1808-1883). 
The monument has some small damage to the granite at the base.

The Bismarck-monument; honouring the Chancellor Otto Fürst von Bismarck (1815-1898).
   Moltke-monument; honouring the Prussian Field Marshal Helmuth Karl Bernhard von Moltke
Kaiser Wilhelm-monument.
    The monuments, post card 1, post card 2, were raised in 1899 close each other at Marktplatz, but are no longer there. The three bronze statues were melted down after the Second World War.

Groshertig Ludwig-monument, an equestrian statue of bronze, raised in 1898 at Friedensplatz, made by Fritz Schaper

Kaiser Wilhelm-monument in Westfalenpark, photo. The monument was raised in 1894 and the bronze figure is made by the German sculptor Johannes Schilling (1828-1910).

   The victory monument, made by the statue maker Robert Henze was raised in September 1880 to honour the victory in the Franco-Prussian war of1870/71 and as a magnificent memorial to fallen citizens in Dresden. The buildings in the neighbourhood were severly damaged during the Second World War. The monument, with marble busts and different granite types, came through the war fairly well, but was torn down in 1949, for political reasons. 
The Semper-monument, photo), made by J. Schillingy, situated at the Brülschen Terrasse, honours the architect, the art critiic and professor of architecture Gottfried Semper (1803-1879). He was during part of his life a resident of Dresden.

Kaiser Wilhelm-monument. The work with the granite base for this equestrian statue, that was finished in 1903, is mentioned in the newspaper "Skärgården" in May 1899: "At Stångehuvud the firm Kessel & Röhl is working with a magnificent base for the equestrian statue of the emperor Wilhelm I, that will be placed in Hamburg". The equestrian statue, was made by J. Schilling. The statue, which was damaged during the Second World War, is still in place, but the original granite base has been replaced by a base of concrete.

Fritz Reuter-monument (bust of Ernst Paul) was inaugurated in 1888 and honours the author Fritz Reuter (1810-1874)  who studied in Jena during the years 1832-33.

   König Friedrich Wilhelm-monument, an equestrian monument that was inaugurated in the autumn of 1878 and was dedicated to the Prussian king Friedrich Wilhelm III. Parts of the monument were destroyed during the Second World War. The monument has been repaired during later decades and was put in place in 2009. The beautiful original base of granite from Stångehuvud is no longer left. It has been replaced by a base of concrete.

The Warrior monument. The architect of the monument, that was built in 1874, was Hermann Willebrand (1816-1899).
    The monument is referred to in a book written by E.G. Gunnerson (1962). 

Kaiser Wilhelm-monument. It was built in 1892 and was made by the sculptor Friedrich Reusch
    (1843–1906). The monument, situated in the market place in the town was destroyed in 1942.

Granite from Stångehuvud was delivered to Helgoland off the German North Sea-coast granite for the Hoffman v. Fallersleben-monument. This monument, built in 1891, honoured the German poet August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben (1798-1874). He wrote one of his most well-known works, the German national anthem, Deutschlandlied, during a vacation on  Helgoland in 1841. The monument of granite from Stångehuvud was unfortunately destroyed during military actions against England in the final phase of the Second World War.

Granite works by Kessel & Röhl up to 1892 are listed in "Die Granitwerke von Kessel & Röhl in Berlin". 1892.

Granite from Stångehuvud in Amsterdam

In Amsterdam, Holland, there is a monument with parts of granite from Stångehuvud, the Sarphati-monument. This honours the Dutch doctor and city planner in Amsterdam, Samuel Sarphati (1813-1866). The balusters are made of granite from Stångehuvud. The monument was built in 1886 and is surrounded by water and fountains.

Granite from Stångehuvud in Copenhagen

Some structures in Copenhagen have granite from Stångehuvud and Lysekil (Nørregard 1911). The church Jesuskirken in the city district Valby has several polished columns of the coarse-grained granite from Stångehuvud. Jesuskirken contains 82 polished columns. Ten of them are made of granite from Stångehuvud. 

Read more about the granite from Stångehuvud in Jesuskirken.

The Danish naval hero Iver Huitfeldt, who perished in 1710 in a battle with the Swedes, is honoured on a monument, see photos, with a polished column of granite from Stångehuvud. The monument is situated to the south of one of the most well-known tourist attractions in Copenhagen, Den lille havfrue (The little mermaid).

Granite from Stångehuvud in USA

Coarse-grained granite from Stångehuvud has been delivered as far as to the USA. The George Washington-statue (also called the Washington Monument) is situated in Philadelphia, near the art museum. The base (dado) and stairs and four fountains, see photo consist of granite from Stångehuvud. A photography in  "Die Granitwerke von Kessel & Röhl shows ongoing work with pieces of granite for the Washington Monument.

The statue, see photo, was made in 1897 by the German sculptor Rudolf Siemering (1835-1905).

Continued stone quarrying on a larger scale

During the last decades of the 1800s the quarrying of granite continued at Stångehuvud. Granite from Stångehuvud was also used in the construction of bridges. An example is the high railway bridge over the Kiel channel (Kaiser Wilhelm-Channel) at Levensau, about 5 kilometers to the north of Kiel. The bridge, called  in German Levensauer Hochbrücke, was built in 1893-94, is 180 meters long and has a height of 40 meters. The bridge abutments see photo consist of granite from Stångehuvud and of brick. 

Even in Sweden bridges have been built with this type of granite. The imposing Kungsportsbron in Gothenburg and the railway bridge over Nordre älv at Kungälv are two examples. The bridge over Nordre älv has not been kept in its original form, however.

The prospects for German company´s operations in the Stångehuvud area changed in a short time during the first years of the 20th Century. At that time, Germany imposed high import duties on processed stone. As a consequence, profitability fell. In 1904 Kessel & Röhl decided to sell their stone masonry at Stångholmesund. The Uddevalla Mechanical Stoneworks and Grinding mill, Hebbel & Co., took over the operation. This company made facade granite and stones for burial vaults as its speciality. Pretty soon after the takeover, they received a larger order. In the Vasa parish in Gothenburg, a new church was built of stone. The choice fell on Stångehuvud.

Vasakyrkan was designed by the architect Yngve Rasmussen in late-Romanesque style with seating for  1500 persons – one of the largest granite churches in Sweden. During the years 1905 to 1908 a total of 5000 cubic meters of facade stone were shipped from  Stångehuvud to the Vasa church building site. A dozen towering columns inside the church originate från Stångehuvud.


Stångholmesund, postcard motive, probably in the 1890´ies. Buildings for the stone quarrying activities are visible on the 
filling-in for the quay. 

In the first decades of the 20th Century good times prevailed for the stone industry in Bohuslän on the whole, although economic problems and some ensuing strife between workers and employers occurred at times.
In the the years after 1910, the economic outlook remained good for stone management. A large part of the stone was exported. The information in ship brokerages´ copy books from this period speak for itself. Load after load of granite from Stångehuvud was shipped on vessels  from the loading sites in Pinnevik, Stångholmesund, Munkevik and Hästevik.

Several boats, galleys and steamers departed daily from the stone districts in Lysekil to destinations near and far. Loads of building stone were sent all the way to Singapore and Argentina.

The quarrying of Bohus granite provided many jobs and decent incomes, but this was at the cost of a devastated landscape. The mighty soft round smooth granite landscape of the Stångehuvud area was being blasted apart piece by piece. Masses of scrap stone were piling up in several places, and there was a risk that Lysekil would lose  a very beautiful hiking area.

But one person devoted special attention to Stångehuvud and its nature. During the years 1916-1920 Calla Curman ran a stubborn and successful struggle for the rocks, that in 1925 culminated in her donation of the area as a gift to the Royal Swedish Academy of Science. 


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