The Soapstone Quarries
The Pacolet area has one resource that was used
by Native Americans for several hundred years. This material is a soft rock
called soapstone. Soapstone can be fairly easily carved using stone and antler
tools. In the Pacolet vicinity, there are at least 16 locations or “quarries”
that were used by the Indians. They used the soapstone to make bowls, other
storage vessels and other tools. They started using the quarries some 3,000
to 5,000 years ago. There are some bowls or other items that still exist
in the quarries, not completely cut from the rock. There is also a lot of
chip material left where the items were chiseled out.
One of these quarries is thought to be the largest Native American
soapstone quarry in the United States. These quarries are located on both
sides of the Pacolet River, north of the
town of Pacolet Mills.
The Pacolet Museum has several examples
of soapstone vessels made by Indians.
Two of the quarries are now protected within the Pacolet River
Heritage Preserve located off of Bethesda Road.
Examples of soapstone bowls
This web site has
been started as a public service to share the story of
Pacolet. The web master and person to contact about putting
information on the web site is me, Gerald Teaster. Contact
or by telephone at (843) 873-8117. My
regular mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485