Hopewell Valley Quarries

Rock face at Pennington Trap Rock Quarry [Irene Wildgrube, pc 1900s]

In addition to the Hopewell Quarry swimming club, there were multiple other quarries operating in the Hopewell Valley in the late 1800s and into the 1900s.

These were making crushed stone for use on the local roads – to replace the pain of rutted and muddy dirt roads with solid macadam roads that allowed travel and commerce to flow much more freely.

Here are three quarries in Hopewell Township that are still visible in our local landscape today.

Learn more about these local quarries, plus the two(!) other quarries near Hopewell Borough, in the presentation on Memories of the Hopewell Quarry: Stones to Swimming.

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Trap Rock Sites

Macadam roads were built from layers of crushed stone – small, angular pieces that would naturally tightly interlock when compressed and create a solid surface. What was needed, then, was local sources for this kind of “trap rock,” especially when transporting large loads by horse-drawn wagons.

Conveniently, the Hopewell Valley had large deposits of trap rock, specifically diabase – shown in orange in the geological map.

Hopewell Valley diabase sites (orange) [1909 Geological Survey]

There are two sites on the left of the map, along the Delaware River between Lambertville and Titusville – Baldpate Mountain and Belle Mountain. In the center, above Pennington, is the Pennington Mountain. And in from the right is an extension of the Rocky Hill Ridge from Mount Rose towards Hopewell.

All these sites were quarried for crushed stone for use on local roads, and all had adjacent railroad sidings to deliver stone to outside markets.

Moores Station Quarry on Baldpate Mountain

Moores Station Quarry [Mercer Co.]

There are two quarries between Titusville and Lambertvillle, to the right as you travel north on Route 29 along the Delaware River.

The large Moores Station Quarry on Baldpate Mountain is north of Titusville at Route 29 and Pleasant Valley Road.

The quarry was abandoned in 1932, and then reactivated by Trap Rock Industries in 1982.

The surrounding area was acquired by Mercer County in 1998 along with more than 1,000 acres of land to create the county park at Baldpate Mountain. The quarry area is under discussion to be used for passive recreation.

Mercer County Workhouse Quarry on Belle Mountain

Stone crusher at Mercer County Workhouse Quarry at Belle Mountain [1985 HwTwp Cultural Survey]

The Mercer County Workhouse Quarry is on Belle Mountain, further up Route 29, north of Pleasant Valley Road.

It was part of the Workhouse farm complex established by Mercer County in 1892 to provide employment for inmates, operating the farm and running the quarry to generate crushed stone for county roads. The Mercer County Correctional Center still is located there.

The stone crusher building, built around 1915 and abandoned in 1975, still is visible close to the road – albeit heavily overgrown.

Pennington Quarry on Pennington Mountain

Stone crusher at Pennington Quarry on Pennington Mountain [Irene Wildgrube, pc 1931]

The Pennington Quarry on Pennington Mountain is on the west side of Route 31, north of Pennington and just south of the turn-off for Pennington-Hopewell Road (Route 654).

There is an old metal bridge overpass still standing across Route 31 which was a spur connecting the quarry to the Reading Railroad. The Hopewell Valley Baseball Association field across from Route 654 also was donated from the quarry property.

The Pennington Quarry is still in operation, and still delivering trap rock. The original Pennington Trap Rock Company was chartered in 1910, and later began leasing the property in 1940 to the current owner, Trap Rock Industries.

We welcome additional historic images and other materials that we can share related to the Hopewell Valley quarries and the Hopewell Quarry.

More on the Hopewell Quarry and Swim Club

[Kennedy 2017]


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