Topsham’s Quarrying History

Our last stop on this tour is next to another smaller vernal pool, off to your right. This pool has a significantly different history from the first pool you stopped at, tied very closely with how humans have used this land in the past.

In front of you, notice a large pile of rocks that may, or may not, seem a little out of the ordinary. This rock pile is full of mineral-rich rocks that include micas, quartz, and feldspar. If you look to the right, you’ll see more piles in the distance and the large hole that is the vernal pool. These rock piles and pools are evidence that this location was quarried in the past, not surprising given Topsham’s history of feldspar mining.

During the early 1900s, Topsham quickly rose to the distinction of being one of the largest producers of feldspar in the country. Feldspar is an off-white, blocky mineral used in a variety of products, including ceramics. This quarrying boom is an important part of the region’s history and left its mark all over Topsham, including the Cathance River Nature Preserve!

Thank you for taking this self-guided tour! We hope you find time to return and explore the many other trails and natural and human features you can find here!