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A History Built on Slate

A History Built on Slate

Located across from Walnutport on the west side of the Lehigh River, Slatington became the center of the region’s Slate industry. In its heyday, slate was used for everything from durable roofing shingles to chalk boards in schools. The Lehigh Slate Company‘s quarries, in and around Slatington, were among the largest in the U.S., and furnished some of the country’s highest quality slate.
But a large portion of Slatington’s growth and success is also directly tied to the opening of the Lehigh Canal, and the ease of shipping that resulted. The town further blossomed when the railroad was built in the late 19th century.

Today’s traditional downtown, with large Victorian homes (such as the James O. Haines Home pictured at left), is a reminder of the commerce generated by the canal, railroad and slate industry. Elaborate slate roofs display the beauty of this local building material, which was once shipped as far away as British Columbia and used to adorn the capital building in the Canadian province. Slatington’s streetscape artifacts are closely tied to the story of extraction, processing, transporting and marketing of slate. (Source: Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor)



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