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June 25, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Slate Industry in Old Buckingham: Part I

In early 1913, Richmond’s Times-Dispatch ran a lengthy article on the slate industry in Buckingham County. Heavily illustrated, the article was given impressive space in the “Industrial Section” of the Sunday, February 2 edition.  Written by Frank S. Woodson, the article began:

— Of course, I knew, and I have known for a long time, that the hills of some part of Buckingham County were choked up with a very fine slate, and I knew that a great deal of it was dug out of the hills and shipped to various parts of the country to be used for roofing, but until I came here to see for myself I had no idea of the wealth represented in slate, that is hidden away in the hills aforesaid. I suppose the knowledge of this source of Virginia wealth is as limited with 90% of The Times-Dispatch readers as it was with me, hence I can conceive of no better service two columns of space can do than to allow me to tell all about Buckingham slate.

Woodson went on to explain the modest expanse of the deposit—about two thirds of a mile in width and ten miles in length, running from near the James River southward into the county. The depth, however, was impressive—“The slate is found in paying quantities 50 feet under the surface, and no man knows how deep it goes.”

He noted that Arvonia was at the center of the richest and most extensive deposits. Some believe, said Woodson, that the quarries were almost inexhaustible.

Coming next: Slate Industry in Old Buckingham: Part II



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