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Catalog Number 2005.038.0001
Object Name Tape, Cassette
Scope & Content An oral history of Raymond Cull's experience in the slate industry as recorded by Stephen Williams on 9 August 2004.

Raymond Cull worked 47 years in the slate industry. Vermont Structural Slate Company owned 6 quarries. Raymond drove a truck in 1955; for 10 years he ran a shovel - Eureka, Pedro, Genier, Eastern, Evergreen, etc. 30 years pit work. Union employed 110 at one time; now non-union, but kept same gains. Mostly located in Poultney (North Poultney). All had sticks. Slate still mostly used for roofing tiles.

The SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTE wanted to record use of the quarry stick; Raymond helped in the research and use.

Changes in the slate industry: More transportation involved, Mack trucks now used, loading truck ?, excavator, different places for different slate products within the same company. LOTS of slate left to work with, good veins are pretty well located. Overburden 40 feet thick at Eureka - soft brown clay, 10 feet of blue clay. Colors of slate include mottled, purple, green (light and dark), no black. Much money is still made from slate in Castleton, industry has disappeared in West Castleton, only walls left.

Trestle in South Poultney was where slate was loaded on Route 30 (just past old North Poultney cemetery), siding near Carmody Road, north of Poultney.

Ethnic background of workers in this area included Welsh, Slovaks, Polish in South Poultney.

Working conditions for slate workers: Heavy rain brought flooding in the pit, clay slides when wet; some time lost in winter due to cold. In summer heat, stone surface could reach 110 degrees in sun, worked east side of quarry, no sun until noon. Workers brought own water for drinking. In later years, Raymond punched slate.

More equipment is needed in today's slate industry. In the old days, it took 10 weeks to shovel overburden by hand; today it can be done in a day. Exposed surfaces need to be kept away from the wind, can bury face rock each night, should not freeze. Hay was used in the old days to cover rock surface. "Scalping" - covering house sides with stone - can be worked in the winter.
Creator Williams, Stephen T.
Title Raymond Cull, Oral History.