****Deserted Quarry Lies Hidden Off Claus Road
By RUBY TOTTEN
OLD QUARRY – These youngsters gaze enthralled out over the deep
still pond that covers what was once the scene of a thriving sandstone
quarry off Cooper Foster Road in Brownhelm Township. The pond, fed
by springs, is 85 feet deep.
Four sandstone buildings are visible from the road, but only one is still intact and this one nestled into the hills in a picture-postcard setting gives little hint as to what it once was – a mule barn for thriving quarry workers.
THE QUARRY is back of the buildings, hidden by hills and trees. This now serene area once echoed to the sound of mule driven wagons creaking with the weight of their stone cargo, and the ring of sledge hammer against rock as sweating laborers pried the valuable element from Mother Nature's grasp.
Brownhelm Station, now a sleepy little hamlet, was then a lusty, flourishing community center. It not only boasted a depot but six or seven saloons which catered to the giant thirst of stalwart Irishmen and brawny Scots who worked and drank with equal gusto.
THESE WORKERS were imported to America for the specific purpose of working in the quarries. The owner made a trip to Scotland and Ireland, bringing back the burly lads who were to live and work here for the rest of their lives and leave their descendants thruout Northern Ohio.
They formed a settlement which later became known as "The Patch," a term affectionately used for predominantly Irish settlements.
The quarry land is now owned by James Daley whose grandfather worked in the quarries and who died because of it, contacting deadly silicosis from the deadly dust in the quarries. Daley's father leased one of the company homes across the road from the workings and Daley, his brothers and a sister grew up there.
Now Mr. and Mrs. Daley own a lovely rambling modern home on the north side of the road, a home they built themselves using the stone from the quarries. Their backyard is the wildly beautiful, deep valleyed and bluff-dotted quarry workings, now tranquil except for a bird's twittering or the plunk of a fish in the quarry pond. The pond is the reason for the silence in the quarry. When the workings got so deep natural springs took over and work was abandoned. This was estimated to have been around 1876.
IN THE LARGEST quarry, 85 feet deep, a fresh water pond about 100 feet across now stands. Lush green growth extends down to the waters edge and makes this appear almost a work of nature instead of man. Nearby is a smaller, narrow pond lapping at the base of a stone bluff rearing about 85 feet into the air showing the industriousness of those early stone masons.
A deep valley with giant trees, and great mounds of discarded stone now overgrown, combine with the quarries to make this a rare and enchanting spot.
|ONCE A TRIM RESIDENCE – The owners of the old quarries had this|
sandstone home built for him and his family just east of the quarry
workings. Its walls are 24 inches thick and oldtimers remember it as a
showcase of the area.
Unfortunately there have been some who haven't been so impressed by it. In the 14 years the Daley family has owned the property there have been incidents of such incredible vandalism that they have been forced to close the area to all but friends and acquaintances.IN ONE INSTANCE, a partially finished cabin was smashed to bits, and the steel window frames bent double. In another case, a stone barbecue pit for picnickers was torn apart.
Now the Daley's are planning to sell plots of the property fronting Cooper Foster Road for residences. On one of these plots are the ruins of the home built for the quarry owner. There appears to be some controversy over whether this was John Worthington or James Nickles.
The Daleys believe it was the home of Nickles but some old timers believe it was built for Worthington. Both men owned it at one time succeeding an individual by the name of J. Dolton.
Nickles was the latest owner, eventually merging the workings with the Cleveland Stone Company. This later became the Cleveland Quarries from whom the Daley's bought the property.
****For more information about the Brownhelm quarry, here's the link to the Quarry Story page on the Amherst Historical Society website.