"Llwyd yw'r pethau sy'n goroesi i gyd...
Mae'r rhain yn aros, er pob newid byd."
"I think that all the lasting things are grey...
when all around you changes, these things stay."
from "Grey", by Welsh poet Grahame Davies
used by permission
Slate deposits were discovered in the area as early as 1734 by Scots-Irish settlers, and a commercial quarry was operating by 1785. Although the industry here was dwarfed by the massive quarry operations in North Wales such as Dinorwic, Penrhyn, or Oakley, experienced slate workers began arriving here in earnest by the 1840s, men as resilient as the rock itself, lured by the promise of a better life and bringing with them the almost- inborn ability which only generations of slate work in north Wales could foster. The skill of the Welsh at splitting slate was unequalled. "The rock," it was sung, "does not speak English."
Peach Bottom slate proved to be exceptionally hard, making it arguably the best roofing slate in the world. It is also why the slate sidewalks, roofs, and tombstones are still very much in evidence in the area. At one time, there were more than a dozen quarry operations in a four-mile stretch from Delta to Cardiff. By the 1930s, the Great Depression had taken its toll on the industry, and quarry operations had all but ceased. Only the Funkhouser Company continued to produce a crushed slate product, closing for good in 1970.
PLEASE NOTE: While some of the quarries and waste tips are visible from along public roads, all are on private land and are VERY dangerous. Please do not attempt to access these areas.
Today, the top of the slate ridge is littered with the remains of a once-thriving local industry. Huge piles of waste rock, called tips, stand like silent grey sentinals overlooking the now-flooded quarries. Though heavily forrested over now, remains of the operations can be seen by those who know what to look for.
Piles of rock are visible, between which the heavy cables were strung which helped haul tons of rock out of the ground. Waste rock bears the marks where the saws cut or the blasting rods were inserted. Closer inspection of some tips and walls reveals quarrying methods in use before the Civil War.
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