Tompkins Bluestone is a family-owned and operated business located in the Catskill Region of New York State. We take pride in our reputation for being the premier bluestone fabricator for restoration and custom fabrication projects. We also supply stone to selected distributors throughout the east coast.
As innovators in our industry, Tompkins has developed some exciting new products. We are pleased to exclusively offer our customers gauged bluestone tile and a variety of bluestone products treated with an accelerated aging process.
Our state-of-the-art facilities allow us to meet the needs of our most discerning customers. We work closely with engineers and architects. Natural stone is the perfect choice to create lasting beauty whether it be indoors or out.
One of the greatest natural resources of Wayne and Pike is its stones, rocks we wish could speak for themselves of the epochs of mankind that have moved around them, carried them off, hammered them, blasted them and alternatively praised and cursed them.
One of the greatest natural resources of Wayne and Pike is its stones, rocks we wish could speak for themselves of the epochs of mankind that have moved around them, carried them off, hammered them, blasted them and alternatively praised and cursed them. Boulders and smaller rocks litter our landscape, legacy of retreating glaciers. Farmers and their families of yore moved them into stone walls. Some made houses that have lasted nearly 200 years. Others went into stone arch bridges, or churches. Rocks on top not being enough, a great store of valued stone of a particular kind was realized beneath the surface which, in the 19th Century, quickly became a major industry for capitalists and quarry laborers. Bluestone it is called, and blue is its hue, at certain angles. This variety of sandstone is desired for its durability and strength. We need look no further than the massive monument to human enterprise, now called the Hawley Silk Mill. An economic engine once again 130 years after its stones were carved from the earth and laid in place, the fortress-like quality speaks of its resilience and importance to our quality of life. It is said to be one of the largest bluestone building in the United States. Just down the falls is yet another huge bluestone landmark, a one time cut glass factory soon to be The Ledges Hotel. Bluestone quarrying in Pike and Wayne counties have yielded flagstones for sidewalks of New York, Boston and Philadelphia, and have been hauled as far as Havana. Local bluestone went into campus buildings at Princeton, Yale and West Point, and a corner of the Bank of America on Wall Street originated in our corner of Pennsylvania. Stone from Rowland was used to make a prison in Jersey City. Work was done by hand. Timber had to be cut, and hand tools used to cut and move rock. The dangerous work brought adequate labor when pay was raised to a generous three dollars a day. The D&H Canal shipped bluestone from Lackawaxen River quarries, later taken over by the Erie Railroad. While there were many small bluestone quarries, still discoverable in woods on ridge tops , leading the way was entrepreneur, John Fletcher Kilgour. Born in 1841 at Kingston, NY, he began at age 16 hauling stone for his father, from quarries to the docks on the Hudson River. In 1868 he came to Pond Eddy, Shohola Township, Pike County, purchasing about 400 acres with an eye on the rock beneath. Operations began the next year with 50 men, and quickly expanded to 150. Kilgour and his partners had a monopoly. Their firm, Pennsylvania Bluestone Company, had capital of over one million dollars. New Yorks Mayor , Boss Tweed, had interest in the business, and made sure orders for stone in New York came from this company. In December 1871, over 100 teams of horses were used to move stone to the railroad. That year, over 3,700,000 square feet of stone were shipped. bringing revenue for the Erie totaling $100,000. His original partnership failed, mired in the financial panic that hit New York in 1873. Kilgour regrouped in 1878, with 20 men cutting and hauling rock. Soon he had 100, then 250, then by 1886 he had over 800 men employed. Kilgour erected large mills for sawing, planing and polishing stone, as well as carving and molding. About 400 loaded freight cars were being shipped monthly. Monthly payrolls exceeded $20,000. Annual revenue for the business was nearly a million dollars. The mills were at Parkers Glen, Shohola Township. Work went on day and night, and boasted of electric lights to keep the work going after sundown. He had 23 quarries and 6,000 acres, along the Erie Railroad as far north as Hancock, NY, and on the railroad branch to Hawley. Kilgour was described by historian Alfred Matthews in 1886 as generous and benevolent. A schoolhouse was erected for his employees children, and he founded a temperance hall for the men. This meant, no alcohol. He also owned 3,000 acres outside the quarry land, where he started the famed Shohola Glen Hotel with sundry recreational amenties for the summer tourists. He also built a switch back gravity railroad to take people from the Erie depot to the Glen for five cents. He also put up a silk mill. Kilgour and his wife Maggie had seven children. He was active in Republican politics and gave to church work. Kilgour came to be known as the Bluestone King. Despite these kind words published of Kilgour, a letter in a Port Jervis paper from 1874 and a poem, said to be written by Kilgours quarry men who remained anonymous, complained of harsh conditions. These include a claim they were not getting the promised, good pay, and had inadequate clothing. These were referenced by Pike Historian George J. Fluhr in his 1999 work, Pike County Notebook. Although local bluestone quarrying continues to this day, it ceased to be a major local industry after a cheap way to make cement was introduced in 1899, and Kilgours death in 1904. In 1886, Matthews wrote of the bluestone industry that it is likely to prove a great source of wealth to Pike County in the future. Her rock-ribbed hill are full of fine-grained stone The hard work of those late 19th Century laborers and shrewd business sense of the operators can yet be appreciated, with the bluestone walkways, steps and building walls still very much part of our daily experience over 100 years later.
Bluestone today: Living history Wayne and Pike counties heritage in bluestone is not only found in history books. Although bluestone ceased as a major industry in the area in the early 20th Century as concrete came into use and mines were depleted of easily accessible stone, quarrying continues to this day. Wayne Holbert, of Lackawaxen, still quarries and sells bluestone, a business that started with his great grandfather in the late 19th Century. While he considers it a small operation, Holbert estimates that he is one the very few in the area still mining the stone, and probably the largest. There is still considerable bluestone mining underway in Susquehanna County. He mines the stone from 200 acres on what was the Holbert dairy farm. His great grandfather George Holbert leased the land to John Smith who in turn leased in to John Kilgour, for bluestone. Wayne states that he is the first generation in the line to try and make this his full time occupation. While still very laborious, today heavy machinery is used; Holbert utilizes only about two employees to produce what he says is strictly a landscaping product. He said he would like to have been able to expand his operation to mine stone for aggregate- crushed stone- which is more profitable these days. While bluestone today is desired for such things as benches, stone walls and patios, it isnt a necessity like crushed stone in its many applications. He said he backed off from the proposal because of opposition that a larger quarry would be incompatible, and affect the Delaware River. What he likes most about bluestone quarrying, he said, is being independent- being his own boss. Today, he says, the industry is heavily regulated by the government. While he says he has the integrity to take care of his workers and the environment in which he must also live, regulations consume much time and money. Nevertheless, Holbert, who is 54, says that he is very proud of the extremely high quality stone he is able to deliver. It is his dream, he says, to be able to pass on the business to his heirs, and not have to sell the operation in order to retire.
Our mission is to produce a product that meets or exceeds our customers expectations in a safe and cost effective manner that not only continues to carry our company forward but our industry as a whole.