The first time I saw this photo in Vermont Life (Autumn 1961, page 38), I could not believe my eyes. This huge enterprise was in East Monkton? These were the buildings of the Vermont Kaolin Corporation, located just east of Hardscrabble Road. This company was the last of the several companies that mined kaolin in East Monkton. Stephen Barnum discovered the first deposits in 1792. He was apparently looking for iron ore on his property just north of the Monkton-Bristol line, and instead found kaolin. He sold it to markets in Troy and Albany, NY where it was used to make crockery.
What is kaolin, you ask? Also called kaolinite, it is a soft clay material. Here, it is usually white, but it is found elsewhere in pink and orange. Some call it china clay or porcelain earth. Over time, it has been used for many purposes, including medicinal.
Researching kaolin mining in East Monkton was very interesting. The full history is too lengthy for this post. But, fast forward to the 1950s! In 1956, Bushey and Sons (Frank and Leon), who had been mining kaolin for a couple of decades, sold their kaolin operation to Duncan Bostwick of Shelburne, the principal of the Vermont Kaolin Corp. Beginning in 1959, the company cleared large areas of land and constructed a modern processing plant. Unfortunately for them, the kaolin was of insufficient quality for modern purposes. About 1965, the plant closed, and most of the buildings were dismantled. If you walk down the “road” into the area proposed for the Monkton town forest, you will see foundations and other signs of the buildings.
See the full Vermont Life article at https://archive.org/details/rbmsbk_ap2-v4_1961_V16N1/page/n39/mode/2up