Slate Valley plans quarry tour

T he Slate Valley Museum will host an evening tour of the remains of the West Castleton Slate Company beginning at 4:30 p.m.,  starting at Lake Bomoseen State Park A recommended donation of $5 per person will go towards the Slate Valley Museum’s recovery efforts after Hurricane Irene. Visitors will meet in the parking lot area to begin the tour.

Lake Bomoseen  is the largest in the Lakes Region, and was an important part of Slate Valley industrial history.  As the glaciers retreated, dropping their sediments and water, a chain of long, narrow, sandy bottomed lakes formed. Glacier’s were not only responsible for creating the lakes in the Slate Valley, but also eroded away much of the bedrock, exposing the slate deposit . When quarry operations began on the edge of Lake Bomoseen, barges and sleighs were used to move the products to the rail siding in Hydeville.

Visitors will walk the path through the West Castleton Slate Company including the still standing Company Store which still has the bell that called the quarrymen to work and signaled day’s end and the offices and manager’s house. When the West Castleton  Railroad and Slate company was established in 1852, it was considered one of the finest situations for quarrying slate and quickly blossomed into a thriving enterprise.

Less fortunate, the ruins of the enormous mill are testimony to the scale of this operation will be shown. This company was large enough that a fire at the mill in 1871 made the front page of the New York Times newspaper.  Visitors will also see the remains of workers’ housing along with images corresponding to the West Castleton Slate Company during its prime.

To complete the tour, participants are welcomed to the open air pavilion to share their stories and light refreshments and hear a few good ghost stories (and stories of some of the horrors of the slate industry) around an inviting fire.

Participants are encouraged to bring weather appropriate clothing, flashlights, and comfortable footwear.

The Slate Valley Museum is a private not-for-profit whose mission is to collect, catalogue, preserve, conserve, exhibit and interpret materials, artifacts, machines and information that demonstrate the geology of slate and the history of slate quarrying and the quarrying community in the Slate Valley of New York and Vermont from 1839 to the present.

For more information visit the museum website at www.slatevalleymuseum.org or call the museum at 518-642-1417. For the most up-to-date information on programs and events at the Slate Valley Museum, follow us on facebook.

 

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