Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Finally: The Quarry

With the end of another season bearing down (I generally don't do winters) I wanted to finish up what was started locally on two recent trips: the location of the major stone quarrying operation near Pulpit Rock and formerly associated with the Sikes/Sykes Family in central Berkshire County. The first stop took me to a the picturesque St. Helena's Chapel in New Lenox. Here, it has been reported to me, that stone from the aforementioned quarry was used in its building.

Moving on to find suitable parking, I ascended into the mountains. Typically, I use a crisscross pattern to cover large sections of land when doing reconnaissance work and in this case I worked lower to higher elevations. Not much was seen initially except a few rubble piles that may be due to small time stone cutting. Finally - at the higher elevations - I arrived at Pulpit Rock.

A quick spin by the Rock and caves and I decided to descend, covering another section of forest, only to arrive back near the mountain road I made my initial ascent on. With still nothing much to show I was weighing my next move when Fate once again smiled down upon me. A man was making his way through the forest and that person was the landowner. After some discussion on the local area and history, he took me around to show his land boundaries and point out the beginning of the old quarrying operations which indeed lay upon his property. After bidding adieu to my acquaintance, who had to move on, I began exploration of the quarry site. What went on here were a number of shallow cut operations over a large section of (now wooded) mountainside.

When finished with the quarries, I returned once again to the old mountain road to look for any possible evidence of a former homestead site. Recent information came to light that H. B. Sikes' home had burned long, long ago. My own observations sadly found little to nothing that H. B. was ever here. Then it was down the mountainside once again, feeling content that the major areas of interest on the Sikes - and their mountain - had been well sought out.