The Resource Alberene Stone House Papers, Albemarle County, Virginia, (microform)

Alberene Stone House Papers, Albemarle County, Virginia, (microform)

Alberene Stone House Papers, Albemarle County, Virginia, 1899-1950.
Alberene Stone House Papers, Albemarle County, Virginia
Inclusive dates
  • This accession consists of correspondence, receipts, architectural drawings, and details related to the construction of a company residence in Alberene, Albemarle County, Virginia, for Albemarle Soapstone Company. The house was to be used by officers of the company on their periodic visits to Alberene and to serve as a showplace for the architectural uses of soapstone. The collection mostly contains letters exchanged by the company's officers and the primary contractors. Letters from subcontractors such as nurserymen, plasterers, hardware manufacturers, and seed growers also are included. The reel contains four elevation drawings of the Queen Anne style house executed by New York architect C. Wellesley Smith
  • Also included are two newspaper articles from 1950 recounting the history of the Albemarle soapstone quarries and the Albemarle Soapstone Company
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Biographical or historical data
  • James H. Serene, a successful New York plumber, joined in the 1880s with Daniel J. Carroll, a box manufacturer, to capitalize on a huge vein of soapstone running through the mountains of Albemarle County, Virginia. Due to its non-conductivity, softness, and tolerance to acids and bases, soapstone had a myriad of uses in the home, industry, and laboratories. Serene and Carroll, bought soapstone rich land in Johnson's Mill Gap (later renamed Alberene) and launched their enterprise in 1883. By 1900, the firm had 250 employed and branch factories in New York, Boston, and Chicago.
  • The company, named the Albemarle Soapstone Company, helped to grow the small town of Alberene. The town boasted a company store, school, post office, barber shop, several churches, and company-owned frame houses for workers. Carroll had a grand mansion built on Prospect Hill that was to be a showplace for all of the architectural applications of soapstone. Carroll also upgraded the company's capacity by incorporating and building the Alberene Railroad Company in 1895.
  • The Alberene firm bought controlling interest in the semi-successful Virginia Soapstone Company of Schuyler, Nelson County, Virginia, operated by Captain James W. Foster and Carl Adolph Wiehle. The full merger of the two companies occurred in 1904. The company suffered during the Great Depression and eventually went into receivership. After a short closure in the mid-1970s, the mill and machinery were restarted by a European firm and took the name The New Alberene Stone Company in 1986.
Citation source
Groff, Garth G., SOAPSTONE SHORTLINES : ALBERENE STONE AND ITS RAILROADS, Charlottesville : Drop Leaf Press, 1991
Alberene Stone House Papers, Albemarle County, Virginia, (microform)
  • The Library of Virginia
Immediate source of acquisition
Historic Landmarks Commission
Reproduction note
Type of unit

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
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