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Valuable Building Stone



A singular feature of this northern terminus of the Bald Eagle Mountain is the immense quantity of excellent building stone strewn over much of its surface, chiefly on the sides and around the end, causing every thoughtful observer to ask, "How did these stone get here in this condition? By what agency were they thus broken up, and piled away in heaps and patches, ready for the coming of civilized man?" Not water-worn or rounded stones, but in angular blocks of all shapes, and a large proportion of portable sizes, as if purposely shattered and stored here for the use of man by some Titanic power. In some places on the very top of the mountain these stones occur; but during a ramble years ago over the summit, from the terminus to the Turnpike Gap, I sauntered over many acres of almost level land entirely free from stone. Hundreds of great ant hills were seen that were constructed of almost pure white sand. How account for the stone with angles and corners, and the exuberance of sand? The riddle is respectfully passed over to the geologist for an answer.

Peter Lesley, in his Final Report of the Geological Survey of Pennsylvania, Vol. 1, page 712, says it is a fixed fact that "there is not a valuable mineral of any kind" in the formation of the mountains of which the Bald Eagle is a member, and that their "sandstone rock may be said to be worthless." He had set himself right, however, by admitting on the same page, that some of the layers yield "excellent building stone." The exceptionally excellent building stone are right here on the Muncy end of the Bald Eagle. Their great value has long been demonstrated. Thousands of wagon loads of these valuable stone for well and cellar and foundation walls, piers and abutments-and beautiful stone also when dressed for fine buildings, being of various pleasing shades or color, as may be seen in the handsome and matchless walls of the Episcopal and Lutheran churches of Muncy-have, during the last seventy years or more, been hauled away from this mountain by the inhabitants of the valley. And many car loads have been transported to other sections by the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad, the track of which runs almost parallel with the river, close to the mountain on the north side. It appears there are "excellent" stone enough left for many generations to come. They will be wanted. "One generation goeth, and another cometh."

Lesley complains that he was often asked why God made mountains without a single valuable mineral in them, as if mountains were of little consequence unless stored with coal, iron, tin, lead, zinc, copper, silver or gold. He says: "The answer is a plain one and should be satisfactory to any reasonable man. Mineral value is not the only kind of value. The true worth of mountain land is to cool the air and condense its moisture into rain, to feed the streams which supply the valleys, and to preserve the forests, for gold and silver mines, after all, are not half so desirable as fertility and water," and, of course — "excellent building stone."

  • Gernerd, J. M. M., The Muncy Valley: Snap-Shots of Scenery, Geology and History, 1909, Press of the Gazette and Bulletin, Williamsport PA
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