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Stony Brook Slate & Brick Company with a Narrow Gauge Railway in Springettsbury Township

Southwest Looking View NOW and of the Stony Brook Slate & Brick Company THEN in Springettsbury Township; 1905 Proto from Clay Record, a Semi-Monthly Publication of the Brick & Clay Industry, Vol. XXVII. No. 2. July 31, 1905, Chicago, Illinois

This 1905 view of the Stony Brook Slate & Brick Company is looking southwest, as if one is standing where the main 4’-8 1/2” Standard Gauge Railroad crosses Stonewood Road.  The NOW view shows the employee parking lot north of the Campbell Warehouse.

The Stony Brook Slate & Brick Company constructed a 3’-0” narrow gauge railway in 1905 that is out of view in this photo, however the photo posted yesterday shows the narrow gauge railway.  I also documented it via a 1908 Map two days ago in a post titled: Narrow Gauge Railway Along Stonewood Road in Springettsbury Township and Plot of Daniel Brubaker’s 280-Acres; i.e. location of Camp Security.

The narrow gauge railway paralleled what would become Stonewood Road to a quarry 1-1/4 miles to the south.  Horse and wagon had initially hauled slate from the quarry to a siding on the Railroad between York & Wrightsville at the site of this photo.  The brick plant at the siding was constructed in 1904 when the owners of the slate operation discovered that their slate waste by-product become more valuable as bricks than their original slate business.

Related posts include:

My post yesterday contained local recollections of the Stony Brook Slate & Brick Company.  This post contains articles about this company from Brick Trade publications of 1904 and 1905.


A November 1st 1904 short-article about the Stony Brook Slate & Brick Company appeared in Brick, a Semi-Monthly Publication of the Brick & Clay Industry, Vol. XXI. No. 5. November 1, 1904, Chicago, Illinois.  Both articles from that time incorrectly switch ‘Slate & Brick’ in the company title.  Stony Brook Slate & Brick Company is correct per recorded Deeds at the York County Archives and in Reports of the State Treasurer.

Of all sources researched, this 1904 article is the first to use a company name associated with brick making, thus I’m pretty confident it was established in 1904.  It is uncertain how many years the shale quarry operated prior to 1904.  Quoting from the 1904 article in Brick:

The construction work on the new brick plant of the Stony Brook Brick & Slate Co., Stony Brook, Pa., is nearing completion and the machinery is being installed, which consists of a four-mold Boyd special brick press, dry pan, and complete equipment furnished by Chisholm, Boyd & White Co., of Chicago.  The company has an abundance of a superior quality of shale, which makes a high-grade press brick.  Capt. J. W. Minnich is manager and G. E. Goldner, a well-known and successful brickmaker, is superintendent.

That short-article was followed up with a full-page article the following year, including the picture shown at beginning of this post, in Clay Record, a Semi-Monthly Publication of the Brick & Clay Industry, Vol. XXVII. No. 2. July 31, 1905, Chicago, Illinois:

Making Brick of Fine Quality out of Refuse Slate

In York County, Pennsylvania, one of the southern tiers of counties in this great clay-producing state, is a plant well worth the mention for several of its peculiarities.  This plant is located at a little village of only a few hundred inhabitants called Stony Brook, about five miles east of the city of York, the county seat.

A company owned a slate quarry and were at a loss to know what to do with the refuse slate which was piling up in large quantities and only a great expense to get rid of.  After making several tests of this refuse slate it was found that a very superior dry pressed brick could be made from it; therefore they could not only get from their quarry but could use the waste for making a first class brick, so the Stony Brook Brick and Slate Company was formed with a reasonable working capital and a dry press brick plant put in.

The equipment consisted first of a four-mold Boyd special dry press and outfit of clay preparing machinery, but later this was added to so that now they have the above outfit, also a two-mold Boyd press, ’97 model.  Two mortise dry pans, elevators, screens and mixers, so that they can make standard Roman and ornamental brick.  The slate is crushed in the Martin dry press and elevated and screened in the usual manner, and a fine red face brick is the result.  The power capacity is a 100 horsepower engine and boiler.

At present the kiln capacity is only four thirty foot round down-draft kilns.  They are what are known as the Goldner patent kilns and are designed and patented by G. E. Goldner, who is the superintendent of the plant.  Four more kilns of the same pattern are now under construction.

Another very pleasant and profitable feature is the stock room; it has a floor 40 x 170 feet in size, this is on a level with a car floor, making filling or loading of the cars very easy, which is quite an item, as all of the goods have to be shipped.  All the buildings are well built as you can see by the illustration.  The slate quarry is about a mile distant and a 36-inch gage railway for the hauling of the refuse slate to the plant is now being constructed.

The officers of the company are T. Frank Bayer, president, who lives at Huntingdon, Pa.; M. N. Isenberg, of the same place, secretary; Captain J. W. Minnich, of Wrightsville, general manager and treasurer, and G. E. Goldner, 747 South Queen Street, York, Pa., the superintendent.  These gentlemen are all businessmen of the highest character and are to be congratulated upon having such a fine plant to work up their refuse and make the by-product become more valuable than the original industry.

The brick making part of the business appears to have ceased in 1915, as the result of a Sheriff’s Sale to settle the results of a lawsuit.  Nevertheless from the local history of the business, it appears that the shale quarry near the intersection of Stonewood and Mountain Roads continued to be used for road gravel into the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Go to this post for an index of everything on YorksPast that is railway related or about 19th Century Rail Car Builders of York, Pennsylvania.  Check back often, as the posts on these subjects expand.

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