The Washerwoman’s Genes

October 16, 2006

Contemporary views of bluestone industry

Filed under: Story — by WWG @ 11:03 am

In discussing the Kingston Courthouse in his book Picturesque Ulster, Richard L. De Lisser indulges in a bit of a digression and-or diatribe about the bluestone industry in the area. The court house setting is peaceful, he says, except when “the rumbling and lurching of the heavily loaded stone wagons . . . go jolting by, on their way from the quarries in the mountains to the blue stone yards along the Rondout Creek.”

He continues, “In no place but Kingston would such abuse of a city’s principal thoroughfare be tolerated. The roadbed of the streets through which these teams pass is so deeply rutted and broken up as to be almost impassable at times. These wagons carry an enormous weight, often exceeding eighteen tons. ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ The great flat bluestones comprising the load, sometimes measure over 200 square feet, and project four or five feet from either side of a four horse wagon, to the annoyance of others and a menace to all vehicles. ❧ ❧ ❧ ❧ The right to use the street in this manner is claimed by a company that obtained its charter about the year 1850, and which has been renewed since, by an Act of Legislature. The city by virtue of recent legislation has commenced condemnation proceedings against the private ownership of its main street, as that we may soon hope to see this nuisance abated” (11).

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