As a kid, I had a top-secret place to explore not far from my own backyard. My father showed it to me one day while we were blowing off steam at Valley Creek Park in East Whiteland Township. After a short hike down a heavily wooded path, we came upon quite a sight: massive piles of quarried dolomite limestone.
I can’t recall how many there were—three, maybe. My dad thinks the tallest was about 100 feet. But to a 9-year-old boy seeing them for the first time, the man-made heaps loomed like an amusement-park version of the Swiss Alps, their stark-white peaks set against a cloudless, blue sky.
The piles came from Cedar Hollow, the oldest and largest quarry in Great Valley. Taking its name from the once-abundant cedar trees in the area, it was a full-scale limestone mining site from 1855 to 1993. It’s now a corporate park, and the quarry—with its imposing cliffs—a scenic lake.
About 35 years ago, when my father and I were scaling one side of a powdery mound and sliding down the other, the quarry was running low on the high-quality stone for which it was known, and the once-thriving village it sustained on Yellow Springs Road wasn’t much to speak of. By 1984, all of the prime limestone was gone. It was the beginning of the end for Cedar Hollow.
Of course, I knew none of that back then. But as I edited Marilyn Odesser-Torpey’s “Insider’s Guide to the Main Line & Western Suburbs,” I found myself flashing back to those weekend afternoons spent negotiating the limestone peaks. My journalistic instincts getting the best of me, I did some research. Now I know where the popular Cedar Hollow Inn on Yellow Springs Road got its name. And while our Insider’s Guide may not feature anything quite so otherworldly as those quarried mountains I remember well, hopefully you’ll discover a few hidden gems of your own to explore.
SECOND TIME’S THE CHARM? For the second year in a row, Main Line Today is one of five finalists vying for the City and Regional Magazine Association’s General Excellence Award in its respective circulation category. More than 85 judges from Atlantic Monthly, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Good Housekeeping, National Geographic and other national publications joined journalism professors from the esteemed Missouri School of Journalism to select this year’s finalists. To learn more, visit citymag.org.
The winners will be announced at the end of the month at the 35th annual CRMA Conference in Chicago. Cross your fingers.