The photograph shows the interior of the Stone Cutting & Dressing Building at Seneca Quarry. (The exterior of this same structure). While the quarry was active from the late eighteenth century to its closure in 1901, the cutting building was constructed in circa 1837. The walls of the building, made of Seneca red sandstone, have survived; however no trace remains of the original timber roof.
Water purchased from the adjacent Chesapeake & Ohio Canal ran through an external water wheel (replaced later with a more efficient turbine) and rotated a large drive shaft running through the center of the building within a stone-lined 5 by 6 foot machinery trough, indicated in the blueprint below. Power generated by the shaft was transferred to the cutting and polishing machines via a system of belts connected to pulleys overhead. The cutting and polishing machines took one hour to make a cut one inch deep in a block of red sandstone one foot thick. The photograph was taken from within the trough, looking towards the southeast interior wall of the Stone Cutting & Dressing Building.