St. Genevieve, Mo., yields a stone of fine grain of a light straw color, which is quite equal to the famous Caen stone of France. The Lake Superior sandstones are dark and coarse grained, but strong.
In some parts of the country, where neither granite nor sandstone is easily procured, blue and gray limestone are sometimes used for building, and, when hammer dressed, often look like granite. A serious objection to their use, however, is the occasional presence of iron, which rusts on exposure, and defaces the building. In Western New York they are widely used. Topeka stone, like the coquine of Florida and Bermuda, is soft like wood when first quarried, and easily wrought, but it hardens on exposure. The limestones of Canton, Mo., Joliet and Athens, Ill., Dayton, Sandusky, Marblehead, and other points in Ohio, Ellittsville, Ind., and Louisville and Bowling Green, Ky., are great favorites west. In many of these regions limestone is extensively used for macadamizing roads, for which it is excellently adapted. It also yields excellent slabs or flags for sidewalks.
One of the principal uses of this variety of stone is its conversion, by burning, into lime for building purposes. All limestones are by no means equally excellent in this regard. Thomaston lime, burned with Pennsylvania coal, near the Penobscot River, has had a wide reputation for nearly half a century. It has been shipped thence to all points along the Atlantic coast, invading Virginia as far as Lynchburg, and going even to New Orleans, Smithfield, R.I., and Westchester County, N.Y., near the lower end of the Highlands, also make a particularly excellent quality of lime. Kingston, in Ulster County, makes an inferior sort for agricultural purposes. The Ohio and other western stones yield a poor lime, and that section is almost entirely dependent on the east for supplies.
Marbles, like limestones, with which they are closely related, are very abundant in this country, and are also to be found in a great variety of colors. As early as 1804 American marble was used for statuary purposes. Early in the century it also obtained extensive employment for gravestones. Its use for building purposes has been more recent than granite and sandstone in this country; and it is coming to supersede the latter to a great degree. For mantels, fire-places, porch pillars, and like ornamental purposes, however, our variegated, rich colored and veined or brecciated marbles were in use some time before exterior walls were made from them. Among the earliest marble buildings were Girard College in Philadelphia and the old City Hall in New York, and the Custom House in the latter city, afterward used for a sub-treasury. The new Capitol building at Washington is among the more recent structures composed of this material. Our exports of marble to Cuba and elsewhere amount to over $300,000 annually, although we import nearly the same amount from Italy. And yet an article can be found in the United States fully as fine as the famous Carrara marble. We refer to that which comes from Rutland, Vt. This state yields the largest variety and choicest specimens.
The marble belt runs both ways from Rutland County, where the only quality fit for statuary is obtained. Toward the north it deteriorates by growing less sound, though finer in grain; while to the south it becomes coarser. A beautiful black marble is obtained at Shoreham, Vt. There are also handsome brecciated marbles in the same state; and in the extreme northern part, near Lake Champlain, they become more variegated and rich in hue. Such other marble as is found in New England is of an inferior quality. The pillars of Girard College came from Berkshire, Mass., which ranks next after Vermont in reputation.
The marble belt extends from New England through New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, the District of Columbia, and Virginia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, to Georgia and Alabama. Some of the variegated and high colored varieties obtained near Knoxville, Tenn., nearly equal that of Vermont. The Rocky Mountains contain a vast abundance and variety.
Slate was known to exist in this country to a slight extent in colonial days. It was then used for gravestones, and to some extent for roofing and school purposes. But most of our supplies came from Wales. It is stated that a slate quarry was operated in Northampton County, Pa., as early as 1805. In 1826 James M. Porter and Samuel Taylor engaged in the business, obtaining their supplies from the Kittanninny Mountains. From this time the business developed rapidly, the village of Slateford being an outgrowth of it, and large rafts being employed to float the product down the Schuylkill to Philadelphia. By 1860 the industry had reached the capacity of 20,000 cases of slate, valued at $10 a case, annually. In 1839 quarries were opened in the Piscataquis River, forty miles north of Bangor, Me., but poor transportation facilities retarded the business. Vermont began to yield in 1852. New York's quarries are confined to Washington County, near the Vermont line. Maryland has a limited supply from Harford County. The Huron Mountains, north of Marquette, Mich., contain slate, which is also said to exist in Pike County, Ga.
Grindstones, millstones, and whetstones are quarried in New York, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and other States. Mica is found at Acworth and Grafton, N. H., and near Salt Lake, but our chief supply comes from Haywood, Yancey, Mitchell, and Macon counties, in North Carolina, and our product is so large that we can afford to export it. Other stones, such as silex, for making glass, etc., are found in profusion in various parts of the country, but we have no space to enter into a detailed account of them at present.--Pottery and Glassware Reporter.