Episode 9: Remnant Limestone Quarry Stones

October 7th, 2010Posted by admin

Note: A stubborn cold prevented me from getting out and shooting a new video this week, particularly one in St. Catharines where this show is long overdue to visit. In the meantime, here’s an outtake from the Queenston / Bruce Trail sessions. It’s about rocks. Try and contain your excitement.

As you get further from Queenston the Bruce Trail takes a turn and drops down onto the slope of the Escarpment towards the villiage of St. Davids. Immediately before this corner you’ll find yourself on a stretch of path dotted with medium sized, irregular limestone boulders. These moss-covered stones are not naturally occurring,  and instead had origins in the nearby Queenston Quarry. Some of the stones date back to operations in the 1800s.

These are leftovers; debris from past activity. It’s easy to find traces of past mining and masonry, as most of the rocks in this area are scarred with the telltale grooves of Plug and Feather rock splitting techniques. Also known as Wedge and Shims or Wedges and Feathers, these tools were designed to split stone  and have been in use for centuries. To split these stones, holes were drilled at regular intervals along the intended break-line. Feathers, which were pairs of angled shims, were placed into the holes perpendicular to the line. Wedge-like plugs were then driven into the holes, forcing the feathers to put pressure on the rock and cause a split.

If you’re looking for a quiet stretch of the Bruce, this is among the most tranquil in the Queenston area. You’re just a bit too far out from the park for most tourists to wander out to but you’re close enough to the old Quarry to see some interesting relics.

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