The Middlefield Soapstone Quarry. From the history of the town of Middlefield (Smith and Smith, 1924, p. 106-107 and p. 171). “About the beginning of the century a large deposit of fine quality soapstone vas discovered at the top of Smith Hollow Hill on the land owned by William Ingham and William Skinner Jr. The property was purchased by Darnabas Billings who sold it to three Northampton men by the name of Shepard…. The Middlefield Free Stone Corporation was formed, the members had purchased the property for $10,000. The stone was quarried and shipped in a rough state where it was manufactured into the different materials for building. The annual amount of this business in 1813 is reported as $12,000. During this year, however, the company seems to have been in financial difficulties as the directors petitioned the General Court for permission to conduct a lottery to raise additional funds for carrying on the work. “The quarrying of this stone was made possible only by the construction of the county road from Chester to West Worthington through Smith Hollow in 1811. This road furnished a comparatively level route through Huntington and Westfield to Hartford where the soapstone was undoubtedly shipped to Boston by water.” “Some local use was made of the soapstone for door steps and fireplaces is the old homesteads, but this was negligible. Nothing further is heard of the operations of the Free Stone Corporation, and the enterprise was apparently abandoned soon after the war of 1812.” The cut contunues on for about 100 feet or more to several smaller sites with tallings piles.
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