Vastine Hollow Freestone Quarries

During the second-half of the nineteenth century, Vastine and other hollows of Lower Twin Creek were the center of a major stone quarry industry. Here workers for various firms, including John Mueller's Buena Vista Freestone Company, quarried the famous "City Ledge," a highly valued building stone, which was popular down river in Cincinnati, as well as in Chicago and New York City. Stone from these hills went into the pillars of the Roebling Suspension Bridge at Cincinnati in the 1850s and 60s.

German immigrants and the descendants of Virginian pioneers worked the stone from a ridge-side quarry bench. The huge quarried stones were lowered to the valley floor via massive mechanical inclines, then taken by a narrow gauge tram, drawn by oxen, to the stone saw mill and landing at the Village of Buena Vista. From their they were transported by river to Cincinnati and other markets via railroad.

When the cement block industry and the popularity of steel and cement construction put an end to Buena Vista freestone business around the dawn of the twentieth century, the quarries were abandoned, leaving many massive blocks still piled up, one on top of another, along the ridge side quarry benches. Today, having been included in the Shawnee Wilderness Area, Vastine Hollow has been reclaimed by the forest. Along with the ruins of the tram road and inclines, three large stone-lined cisterns, cut into the bench, remain, filled with the darkest waters.

Images

View of the Central Cistern in Vastine Hollow, Shawnee Wilderness Area, Adams County, Ohio (24 November 2012).

View of the Central Cistern in Vastine Hollow, Shawnee Wilderness Area, Adams County, Ohio (24 November 2012).

Image courtesy of Andrew Lee Feight, Ph.D., from the Scioto Historical Series, private collection, Friendship, Ohio. View File Details Page

"Adams County Stone Quarry," painting of unknown origin and date.

"Adams County Stone Quarry," painting of unknown origin and date.

This image was found on an unknown on-line auction website (c. 2012) and the winner of the auction has yet to be identified. Scioto Historical is interested in tracking down additional information on this painting. If you have seen this painting in real life or own this painting please contact Dr. Andrew Lee Feight, Editor, Scioto Historical, Shawnee State University (afeight@shawnee.edu). View File Details Page

Detail, "Adams County Stone Quarry," painting of unknown origin and date.

Detail, "Adams County Stone Quarry," painting of unknown origin and date.

This image was found on an unknown on-line auction website (c. 2012) and the winner of the auction has yet to be identified. Scioto Historical is interested in tracking down additional information on this painting. If you have seen this painting in real life or own this painting please contact Dr. Andrew Lee Feight, Editor, Scioto Historical, Shawnee State University (afeight@shawnee.edu). View File Details Page

Rendering of Hike from the Mouth of Vastine Run to the Central Incline and Cistern, Shawnee Wilderness Area, Adams County, Ohio, as viewed in Google Earth (9 May 2013).

Rendering of Hike from the Mouth of Vastine Run to the Central Incline and Cistern, Shawnee Wilderness Area, Adams County, Ohio, as viewed in Google Earth (9 May 2013).

Image courtesy of Andrew Lee Feight, Ph.D., from the Scioto Historical Series, private collection, Friendship, Ohio. This image was generated using the Trails app and Google Earth. There is no marked trail, but access to this section of the Wilderness Area is found on Lower Twin Creek, where the road crosses Vastine Run. The access point is labeled in this image as "Vastine Quarry and Cisterns." Once one is in the hollow it is easy to find and use the old Tram Road as your "unmarked" trail to the Central Incline and Cistern. View File Details Page

One of three inclines that once operated in Vastine Hollow, bringing quarried stone down from the ridge-side benches to the tram road, upon which the stone was then transported to Buena Vista and the Ohio River.

One of three inclines that once operated in Vastine Hollow, bringing quarried stone down from the ridge-side benches to the tram road, upon which the stone was then transported to Buena Vista and the Ohio River.

Image courtesy of the Scioto Historical Collection, Digital History Lab, Clark Memorial Library, Shawnee State University, Portsmouth, Ohio. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Andrew Lee Feight, Ph.D., “Vastine Hollow Freestone Quarries,” Scioto Historical, accessed June 29, 2017, http://sciotohistorical.org/items/show/17.
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