THE GREENPORT QUARRIES
By Captain Franklin Ellis206
The Greenport Quarries, located about two miles southeast of Hudson, have for many years worked to a limited extent, and produces an excellent quality of stone. But owing to the absence of an sufficient means for its transportation to market, having to be hauled over two miles of inferior road, it has been difficult to procure blocks of desirable shape and size for building purposes, and the extent of production has not been at all commensurate with the practically inexhaustible supply contained in Becraft's mountain.
The quarries were leased a few years since by a stock company, under the corporate name of the "New York Shell-Marble Company," with a cash capital of $100,000, and under the management of the following-named officers: Frederick W. Jones, president; S. E. Whittingham, secretary and treasurer; and Robert Hood, chief engineer. It was the purpose of this company to perfect arrangements for doing an extensive business by the construction of a railroad from the quarries to Hudson, which was designed to form a link in the contemplated Hudson and Kinderhook railroad. The plan also included the erection of mills on the South bay, in Hudson, for sawing marble and dressing building-stone. These plans have not yet been carried out.
The marble obtained here is of that variety known as shell-marble. It is of superior quality, is susceptible of the finest polish, and is unsurpassed for ornamental purposes. It is thus described in Appletons' "New Encyclopedia": "Lumachella, or fossiliferous marbles, are those which contain petrified shells. These are sometimes so crowded upon on another that they compose the whole mass of stone; sometimes single shells are seen scattered throughout the block. A dark marble, from Kilkenny, in common use for mantels and hearths, often presents a section on its polished face, of the nautilus shell. The white spiral lines of the shell on the dark ground have exactly the appearance as if a rough-nailed heel had been carelessly spun around upon the surface, and many a nice housewife, unskilled in paleontology, has tried in vain to rub out the vexatious spots. These marbles are very abundant in Europe, and also throughout New York and the western States. Handsome mantels are made of American varieties, which are composed entirely of fossil shells, but they are rather to be regarded as curious than beautiful. They lack the high colors of the brecciated and variegated marble, and though they take a good polish, they are from their plain colors comparatively dull and sombre. Some of the best of this kind are from Becraft's mountain, back of Hudson, New York, which is noticed by Prof. Silliman.
"The marble is of a grayish color, with a slight blush of red. Its structure is semi-crystalline, and in some places highly crystalline, especially in and around the organized bodies, which in vast numbers it embraces. The largest slabs present a great diversity of appearance, and can scarcely be distinguished from the similar transition marble of the Peak of Derbyshire, which it quite equals in beauty and fineness. In Hudson it has been used in many of the houses for ornamental work, and it has been introduced into New York."*
*American Journal of Science, vol. vi. p.371.