RETURN TO BEDROCK
In the middle of the 19th century, the development of the territory of the young Belgium began to accelerate, which was reflected, among other things, in the exploration and opening of quarries throughout Wallonia. Various soil investigations in this area led to the discovery of sandstone deposits that are millions of years old (these layers developed 359 to 385 million years ago). The first excavations in this area date back to the mid-19th century. High-quality yellow and blue sandstone could be extracted here relatively easily. This was especially popular for paving and construction. “Return to Bedrock” is one of five sites operated in this valley. By the late 1800s, sandstone mining represented about 35% of the region's employment, a percentage that continued to rise until the start of World War I, when sandstone quarries comprised 64% of the region's workers.
The Second World War put a temporary end to sandstone mining. The quarries remained deserted until after the liberation. A company specializing in road construction and engineering then took over the quarries. Under the impulse of this new entrepreneur, the company continued to develop over the following years and the installations and the area were equipped with a network of railways. The reputation of sandstone from this valley was well established by the mid-20th century, but in the 1960s several adverse financial transactions led to serious difficulties. This eventually led to the gradual cessation of activities. The company went bankrupt in the mid-1970s. After the bankruptcy, a buyer was never found and the various sites were never reused.
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