The editor of the REGISTER spent last Friday at the busy village of Bakerton, in this county, where the Standard Stone and Lime Company of Washington, of which the Messrs. Baker are the moving spirits, has its extensive plant. Starting some fifteen years ago with a couple of kilns and a limited number of hands, the industry has been so capably managed and so wisely developed that there are now between 300 and 400 men regularly employed and the weekly output of lime is something like 45,000 bushels from the eighteen kilns that are kept in constant operations. The lime is of the best quality, and there is always demand for it from this and adjoining States.
Three great quarries are operated, the original quarry from which the limestone was first taken and two others on the land the company bought a few years ago from Dennis M. Daniels. Steam drills bite their way into the rock and make the holes into which dynamite or powder is packed, and then at the sound of the warning whistle when the men quit work the stone is torn from the beds where ages ago it was formed. The stone is loaded into the quarries on trucks, which are drawn by wire cables to the kilns.
Wood has been used almost exclusively for burning the lime at this plant, but owing to its growing scarcity and its cost, experiments have recently been made by which it is hoped that coal can be made to serve for fuel. Blowers have been attached to some of the kilns, and they make a fire that seems hot enough for any purpose. Colored men do most of the work about the kilns, while the quarrymen are nearly all white men. The men make good wages and seem to be very well satisfied with their work.
A considerable quantity of the lime is shipped in barrels, and a large force of hands is kept busy in the cooper shop making barrels. Many of the young men of the neighborhood find profitable employment in this part of the works.
D. Raleigh Houser has been the superintendent of the works for a number of years. He recently sent in his resignation, and Harry L. Marshall was appointed in his place temporarily. But Mr. Houser had been so long at the works, and was so thoroughly conversant with every detail of the business, that the company has induced him to take his old place again, and he will be found at his old post again when he has had a little rest. Mr. Houser is respected by the men and his ability is recognized by his employers. Genial Wm. H. Link is one of the foremen, and is kept busy looking after his part of the work.
A branch of the B. & O. Railroad connects Bakerton with the main line at Engle’s Station, and an engine is kept busy most of the time handling the cars. The branch is about three miles long, and extends to the Virginia Ore Bank, near by. The people there are interested in the new line of the B. & O. by way of Shepherdstown, which will give them still better facilities.
Bakerton has grown to be quite a village, and there are some very nice homes there. A neat little church, built by the Southern Methodists, gives the people the benefit of religious services. There are two good stores there, that of Millard & Engle and that of J. Strider Moler, the later being managed by Reynolds Moler.
The editor enjoyed a good dinner with his friends Mr. and Mrs. Wm. J. Moler, whose farm adjoins the village, and was glad to renew old acquaintances. A day was too short to take in the neighborhood as we had hoped, and we mean to make another visit soon.
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