VERMONT MARBLE SAND PIT NEAR CHENEY HILL

The Vermont Marble Company sandpit was located between four roads in the north end of Rutland Town. Bounded on the west by North Grove Street, south by Cedar Avenue, east by lands of Kellogg, and north by Pinnacle Ridge Avenue. The land consists of about 33 acres.

When Sand Hill in Proctor ran out of sand, the Vermont Marble Company was looking for a new source to be used in cutting and sawing marble. They located on the above site about 1900. There, they built a mill and erected a tramway (a system of buckets carrying the sand over Pine Hill to the marble mills in Proctor). This tramway system was a great deal like our present day ski tow.

The first sand removal was all done by hand labor. Men filled wagons and horses were used to draw sand to the mill. The horses were stabled in a bum in back of Mr. Forkas’s house. Kathy Knight, granddaughter of Mr. Forkas, now owns that house. A great deal of the labor force came from Europe and many of the men lived in a boarding- house attached to Dick Creed’s old farmhouse. Mr. Forkas, a well-known neighbor, was second Foreman. A man named Dewey was head foreman. Many old Rutland Town neighbors used to work at the pit. Mr. Forkas came from Hungary around 1909 to work there.

Thomas Gerdon, Sr., another neighbor, came from Rumania to work there also. After the plant closed he bought the original land and added it to his farm. The farm is now owned by Thomas Gerdon, Jr.

The tramway was run by electric power. Later on all pit operations used electric power to load and haul sand to the mill. Two tragedies happened, many years apart, at the sandpit. One lad was drowned in a pond located near the mill and another boy was electrocuted nearby. Both boys (Clarence and Edward) were from the Boutwell family, nearby neighbors.

Many neighborhood boys used to spend a great deal of time, summer and winter, racing up and down the high bank. Swallows used to have their nests in holes at the top of the banks.

The Cheney Hill Sand Pit  played a very active role in Rutland Town history, supplying jobs, furnishing sand to Vermont Marble Company, and later to many local people, as a playground.