The World Famous Peach Bottom Slate
"Best Roofing Slate in the World"
The famous Peach Bottom roofing slate was discovered about 1734, on the ridge where Delta, Cardiff and Whiteford are now located. The discovery was made by two Welsh pioneer farmers. William and James Rees. They proceeded to roof their buildings with these crude slates. This was the first use of native roofing slate in America. Some of the slates which they produced are shown here, still in perfect usable condition and over 260 years old.
The first actual quarry was opened about 1785. It was the first commercial slate quarry in the United States. It was not successful because of transportation problems (slate is very heavy and there were few roads at the time), and there was a lack of skilled slate workers.
The transportation problem was solved in 1840, with the opening of the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal. It was built mainly to transport anthracite coal from the Pennsylvania coal fields to the Chesapeake Bay, and followed the Susquehanna River's West Bank. The completion of this project opened up many new markets for excellent roofing slate.
In 1845, the first of the Welsh "slaters" came to the area. They brought with them
New quarry operations were opened. Hundreds of workers, mostly from Wales, worked in as many as twenty quarries. The reputation of the slate began to spread. In 1851, Rowland Parry, of Peach Bottom, exhibited slate samples at the London Crystal Palace Exhibition. It won first prize as finest roofing slate then known.
Today, the reputation endures. As you drive down Main Street, in our community, you notice that many slate roofs remain. It is an enduring legacy of the "best roofing slate in the world".
The Old Line Museum
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Original Peach Bottom slates
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • Industry & Commerce. In addition, it is included in the Susquehanna and Tidewater Canal series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1734.
Location. 39° 43.487′ N, 76° 18.479′ W. Marker is in Peach Bottom Township, Pennsylvania, in York County. Marker can be reached from Green Road 0.1 miles east of Ridge Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 28 Green Road, Delta PA 17314, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Welsh Immigrants (here, next to this marker); The Slate Splitters (here, next
More about this marker. On reverse side, left to right:
"The Welsh Immigrants" plaque,
"Welsh Slate Quarrymens' Cottages at Coulsontown" plaque,
"The Slate Splitters" plaque.
Credits. This page was last revised on April 20, 2021. It was originally submitted on June 26, 2020, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 98 times since then and 23 times this year. Last updated on April 15, 2021, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 26, 2020, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.