We recently visited The Slate Valley Museum in Granville, NY to further understand the fascinating history on one of the World’s richest slate deposits. The photos shown in this article, and much of the below information can be kindly found at the Museum. Please visit their website for more information.
In preparing this article, one of Manchester Wood’s great friends and hardworking mechanics took a look at a picture from The Slate Valley Museum. It was a picture from the early 20th century, dating back to the 20’s.
Upon looking it over, he cracked a smile and said:
“I don’t know if you’d believe me, but that’s my Grandfather right there.”
Drawing his finger down on the image, pointing in delight to a smiling young man.
Many peers and colleagues in our community work or once worked in the slate mines. We love the material they produce, not just for our products, but also for its countless other uses.
“The Slate Valley” as it’s called, is a region over twenty miles long and extends six miles wide along the New York/Vermont border from Granville, NY to Rupert, VT, and north to Fair Haven, VT.
In the early-to-mid 1800’s, slate was discovered in the area.
“The roof of a barn one mile south of Fair Haven was the first to be covered with slate in 1848. It was feared the barn would not withstand the weight of the stone. The barn is still standing today and the same slate roof is intact.” (The Slate Valley Museum Website)
Slate quarry strikes were riddling Wales, so in 1850, the first Welsh immigrants arrived. They came with experience in the art of mining. Slate companies began forming.
The immigration of workers increased as the industry boomed through the early 1900’s.
From Poland, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Italy, Ireland, Hungary, and later Canada. Hardworking families arrived from all over the World, seeking the abundance of American life.
We’re happy to have known some of them, and even prouder to have their lineage working under our roof.
At Manchester Wood, we’d like to thank The Slate Valley Museum and join them in “paying tribute to these workers and their families and to preserve their way of life and their many contributions to the fabric of human history.” (The Slate Valley Museum Website)
To view our Slate Top Collection (using locally mined slate), click here.
To visit or learn more about The Slate Valley Museum, click here.