A gabbro quarry was opened in West Erinville, Guysborough County, in the 1930s by a monument maker from Sydney.

The quarry was 500 metres east of the northeastern corner of Kellys Lake. It consisted of two openings just south of a small brook. The site was 25 metres in diameter with two holes 5-7 metres deep.

In 1960, several hundred tons of stone were extracted by Arsenault Monuments of Antigonish 10 metres south of the original workings.

Arsenault opened a second quarry in West Erinville in the early 1960s about 100 metres from the northeastern corner of Kellys Lake, west of the earlier quarries. An opening was made in a rocky hillside and the hole was 10 metres by 5 metres and 7 metres deep. No stone of any value was extracted because it had extensive jointing and fracturing which made it unsuitable for monuments like headstones.

This is a common challenge with quarrying stone for building and decorative purposes – the best stone needs to be solid and attractive, without joints/cracks, veins or other characteristics that are considered undesirable. When we blast and crush rock like gypsum for use in wallboard, or aggregate for use in construction, things like cracks do not matter because we break the rock down anyway. But stone used to erect buildings or for decorative purposes (i.e. for headstones, trim on buildings, etc.) needs to be as flawless as possible.

Gabbro can be polished to a brilliant black luster so it is often used in things like headstones, kitchen counters and floor tiles. Its most common usage is as aggregate in construction.

Gabbro is sometimes sold under the name “black granite,” which describes its appearance but is inaccurate since gabbro is a different type of rock than granite.

According to a 1922 book called Nova Scotia Place Names, Erinville was “so named by lovers of Ireland who settled in this district.” The author apparently did not think that required any further explanation in 1922 but it took us a little research to figure out what it meant: the name Erin is derived from Eire, the Irish word for Ireland.