East of the Blue Ridge

Chronicles of an On30 quarry railroad

Piedmont Soapstone

In the woods of Nelson County on the bank of the Buffalo River lay the earthly remains of the Piedmont soapstone mill.

The location of the old mill is most clearly marked by a dam across the river.

Stone was supplied to the mill by two nearby quarries. One quarry is high on a ridge, and delivered stone to the mill by way of a steep incline tram. The other quarry is at the end of a well graded, relatively level path along the creek. Try as I might, I could not find any sign of a tram or rail operation to this quarry.

The site is littered with pieces of soapstone that show signs of having been cut.

The creek below the mill site is choked with soapstone scraps and cutoffs. Piedmont mill once suppled soapstone components to a cooking appliance manufacturer in Toledo, Ohio.

Piedmont was eventually purchased by Virginia Alberene.

The milling equipment and many of the company houses were moved to Schuyler. The old mill site on the Buffalo River was abandoned by 1925.