Tales of the Slate Valley macabre

Many years ago three thirsty slate quarry workers decided they needed to row across the lake to keep the party going.

It was late, so the story goes, and they had already had a few when they set out – they never returned.

Their bodies were never recovered.

Since then, on a full moon night with the water flat calm and the air unnaturally still an empty row boat can be seen that somehow moves up the lake against the current with no oars disturbing the glassy surface of the lake and no occupants in the boat.

That shimmering ship is all that remains of three slate quarry workers who decided to row out for a drink one fateful night and never came back.

Slate Valley Museum coordinator of education Bob Isherwood told this tale and others as a part of the evening tour of the remains of the West Castleton Slate Company along the shores of Lake Bomoseen at Lake Bomoseen State Park.

Along with a walking tour of the remnants of the slate company, Isherwood and museum trustee John Jones and even members of the tour shared some of the tales of the Slate Valley that made the blood run cold.

Jones related stories of quarry workers killed in various accidents and efforts to return maimed men to their country or origin.

Isherwood told a tale from the Granville Sentinel’s pages in which three workers were killed in an explosion that shook buildings in the village.

The graphic description of the injuries sustained by the men who were killed when working with dynamite was stunning, something that would be out of place in a modern newspaper account of a similar tragedy.

Visitors, including Slate Valley Museum director Kate Weller, walked the path through the West Castleton Slate Company including the still-standing company store which still had the bell used to call the workers for any reason, including terrible tragedies.

Established in 1852 the West Castleton Slate Company’s main building is a hulking ruin now.  

This company was large enough that a fire at the mill in 1871 made the front page of the New York Times newspaper, according to the Slate Valley Museum. 

Members of the tour added their own tales of ghostly apparitions dressed in period attire standing near the bed of a man staying in one of the nearby houses which used to house the factory manager.

Or another who saw a mysterious black cloud floating near the ceiling in the same residence.

The tour ended back at the pavilion with cider and donuts and a fire to chase away the fall evening chill.

“I think it went really well, I think everyone had a good time,” Slate Valley Museum director Kate Weller said Saturday night.

Comments

comments

Read more in this week's Sentinel in newsstands now or click here to read right now with our e-edition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Northshire Freepress 02/27/15

North Country Freepress – 02/27/15

Lakes Classifieds – 02/27/15

Lakes Region Freepress 02/27/15

Classifieds 02/25/14

A year later, Pember on path to recovery

Bob and Mary (3)

By Derek Liebig A year after a state audit revealed the Granville institution was in a precarious financial state, the […]

A day in the life of a Whitehall Cop

Patrolman Joel Archambault issues a ticket during Monday's ridealong

By Dan King For a small town, there is always something to do as a cop in Whitehall. At 9:30 […]

Behavioral Specialist program to continue

Liz Legault

By Dan King The Whitehall Board of Education voted Monday to continue the district’s much-discussed behavioral specialist program. In an […]

Snail Mail gets slower

Whitehall Post Office

By Dan King People in New York’s rural municipalities, including Whitehall, may have to wait an extra day for delivery […]

Granville spirit night

By Derek Liebig Bolstering school spirit is the aim of an event that will be held tomorrow night at Granville […]

Hampton puts aside funds for equipment

By Derek Liebig The Hampton Town Board is putting some money aside for a rainy day. The board voted last […]

Whitehall Rifle Club still perfect

The Whitehall Rifle Club finished the first half of the season 7-0 with its strongest outing of the year, by […]