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Madera County – List of Stone Quarries, Etc. *

(* Please note this list does not include sand or gravel quarries.)

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  • Raymond (2 miles southeast of), Madera County, California – The Knowles Quarry operated by the Raymond Granite Company (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    "The Knowles Quarry, operated by the Raymond Granite Company, S. E. Knowles, president, Tenth and Division streets, San Francisco, has been open for seventeen years, and is well equipped with modern machinery for taking out and handling large quantities of stone. The outcrop of the granite at this point is something like a portion of the surface of a huge globe, about 300 feet or more in diameter, partly buried in the earth. Where it projects above the surface it is almost entirely bare of any soil, vegetation, or other material. It is apparently barren of seams, except the curved exfoliation seams parallel to the surface, and which are partly at least the result of weathering. In places there are remnants of these layers of exfoliation only a few inches in thickness, but the underlying layers, which are the ones worked in the quarry, vary from 1 or 2 feet to 25 feet in thickness. The quarry opening is on the northwest side of the sphere, and the quarry floor, which follows the foliation cleavage, is inclined from 20 to 30 degrees to the northwest.

    "The three large cutting sheds are located below the quarry opening, and an inclined tramway is run up to the quarry floor, down which the blocks are carried into the cutting sheds.

    "Hand and steam drills and the quarry bar are used in quarrying the stone. The quarry bar is used for cutting out the sides and ends of the quarry and also for drilling the large blocks in cutting dimension stone.

    "The stone is easily split and has a straight, even grain. It is split from the thin layers by drilling shallow holes and driving in wedges or plugs and feathers. From large layers the blocks are split off by drilling deeper holes and using the knox blasting system, which leaves an even surface. The thickest layer exposed is about 25 feet thick, but most of that part quarried is much thinner, from 4 to 10 feet. As the quarry opening is carried deeper the succeeding layers will probably become thicker, that is, the joints will be farther and father apart.

    "Nearly all the stone is cut and dressed at the quarry for building stone, or for monuments and cemetery work. After loosening the blocks from the quarry face and splitting them to the required dimensions by plugs and feathers, they are taken to the cutting sheds, where they are handled by steam-power overhead traveling cranes, and the surfaces are finished, either tool-dressed, rock-faced, or polished, as is desired, by hand or machine. The company has two of the heavy Barre granite surfacing and polishing machines and about ten of the lighter Concord surfacing machines. There are also a dozen or more pneumatic and surfacing tools for surfacing and carving, besides a hundred or more stonecutters and finishers at work with hand tools.

    "The finished stone is placed on the railway car in the cutting shed and run down the inclined track to the base of the hill, where it is taken to market over the Southern Pacific Railroad.

    "The supply of stone at this quarry is almost inexhaustible; it lies in admirable position for quarrying with a minimum amount of waste, and the facilities for handling the stone are excellent, all of which favor the large stone industry which has grown up at this place.

    "The stone is a biotite-muscovite light-gray granite, with biotite mica in excess of the muscovite, and an occasional crystal of black hornblende. It has a medium-fine grain and is remarkably uniform in color and texture throughout the mass. Over the entire quarry area only one small dark blotch was observed. Some of the biotite crystals are idiomorphic, six-sided prisms."

    • Raymond, Madera County, California – Raymond Granite Co. (Macadam) office at Tenth and Division streets; Avel Hosmer, secretary, San Francisco (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.) (No other information is given.)
    • Raymond, Madera County, California – the Raymond Granite Quarries circa 1913 – Included in chapter in “California,” by G. F. Loughlin, in the Mineral Resources of the United States Calendar Year 1913, Part II.  Nonmetals, United States Geological Survey, 1914.

      “The Coast Range and the Sierra Nevada contain a vast quantity of various kinds of stone suitable for building, but large areas of these ranges are too remote from transportation lines to be of economic importance....”

      “Granite. – The granites and related rocks of California form the greater part of the central and southern parts of the Sierra Nevada and of the Coast Range southeast of Los Angeles.  Smaller, though  considerable areas are found in the Coast Range near San Luis Obispo, and east and west of the lower part of Salinas River, near Santa Cruz, and at several places in the Klamath Mountains in the northwestern part of the State....A favorable feature common to most of the granites is their remarkably good rift and grain, which allows large blocks to be split evenly with a minimum amount of labor...."

      “The most important quarry districts are in Madera, Placer, Riverside, and San Diego counties.

      “At Raymond, in Madera County, there are two large quarries of biotite muscovite granite which have furnished stone for the post office, the Fairmont Hotel, the Mercantile Trust Co., and other buildings, and for the Dewey and McKinley monuments in San Francisco.  The principal granites used in San Francisco are those from Raymond, Rocklin and Penryn....”

    • Raymond, Madera County, California – Raymond Granite Company (also known as the Knowles Quarry) (Granite) (Excerpts from Report XIV of the State Mineralogist - Mines and Mineral Resources of Portions of California, Chapters of State Mineralogist's Report - Biennial Period 1913-1914, Part IV. “The Counties of Fresno, Kern, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus,” by R. P. McLaughlin and Walter W. Bradley, Field Assistants (field work in July, 1913, and July, 1914), California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. 427-634.)

      "Raymond Granite Company (also known as the Knowles Quarry). F. E. Knowles, president; office, Division street and Potrero avenue, San Francisco; F. J. Krebs, superintendent at the quarry. Situated in Sec. 22, T. 8 S. R. 19 E. Operations have continued since 1888 with varying activity, there being at present (July, 1914) 175 men employed about the entire plant. The company owns some 1700 acres. About 5 or 10 acres are free of weathered overburden on a low rounded hill (see panoramic photo No. 4A). The rock breaks to extensive fractures lying nearly parallel to the ground surface and from a few inches to 15 or 20 feet apart. Cutting of these immense slabs is done principally by wedges with a little powder used occasionally. A channeling machine is also employed. (See photos Nos. 1, 2, and 'M'.)

      Raymond Granite Company's quarry near Raymond, Madera County
      Photo No. 4A. Raymond Granite Company's quarry near Raymond, Madera County, California. Panoramic view of quarry from below.
      Photo No. 1. Raymond Granite Company, Madera County, Cal. Upper part of quarry. Raymond Granite Company, Madera County, Cal. Upper part of quarry.
      Photo No. 2. Wedging out a large block of granite (about 10 feet by 20 feet by 5 feet). Raymond Granite Company, Madera County, California. Wedging out a large block of granite
      Photo "M," Raymond Granite Company's quarry, Raymond, Madera County, California. Raymond Granite Company's quarry, Raymond, Madera County

      "The largest single piece reported was 4' x 4' x 40', but much larger blocks could doubtless be obtained. The stone is completely dressed or carved at the sheds adjoining the quarry, where air-driven machines are used. The equipment includes 6 derricks with oil-burning steam hoists, 2 sets of saws, and overhead traveling electric cranes (3 large and 2 small). Until February of this year (1914) oil has been used to generate power, since which time the San Joaquin Light and Power Company has been furnishing electricity. The steam plant is still maintained as an auxiliary. The stonecutters received $5 per day for eight hours.

      Monumental and building stone has been furnished to many large structures, among which may be mentioned the San Francisco post office, Municipal Auditorium, the U. S. Sub-Treasury Building and the Fairmont Hotel; also for buildings at the University of California in Berkeley. Of the latter, the most striking example is the Campanile, or bell tower, a shaft of 34 feet square base and 305 feet in height to the top of the surmounting bronze lantern. On the front of the new U. S. Sub-Treasury Building in San Francisco are ten Doric columns about 4 ½ feet in diameter and 27 feet long, each in three sections. As originally drawn, the specifications called for these columns to be monolithic. The change was made because of the greater cost of handling. As has already been pointed out even larger monolithic pieces than that can be obtained here. We were informed that the cost of cutting would be practically the same, but that the necessity of providing heavier equipment to handle them would have increased the cost $2000 for the ten columns in question, or $200 per column. It seems to the writer that it would have been money well spent, for the beauty of the building would have been enhanced many times.

      "Bibl.: R. X. p. 189; XII, p. 384; XIII, p. 620; Bull. 38, pp. 30-32."

    • Raymond, Madera County, California – Sierra White Quarry (Granite) (active ca 1996) (From Mines and Mineral Producers Active in California (1994-1995), Special Publication 103 (Revised 1996), California Department of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology, in cooperation with California Department of Conservation, Office of Mine Reclamation. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

      Mine name: Sierra White Quarry; Operator: Raymond Granite Co.; Address & County: 26772 Rd., 606, Raymond, CA 93653, Madera County; Phone: (209) 687-3257; Latitude: 37.22, Longitude: -119.87, and Mine location number: Map No. 327; Mineral commodity: Stone.

    • Raymond, Madera County, California – the Knowles Granite Quarry (Granite) (From United States Geological Survey, "Mineral Industries Surveys - Directory of Principal Dimension Stone Producers in the United States in 1995, prepared in January 1997.)

      The Knowles Granite Quarry is located near granite and is owned and operated by the Cold Spring Granite Co. of Cold Spring, Minnesota.

  • Raymond, Madera County, California – Raymond Granite Quarry (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906, pp. 25.)

    “Method of Quarrying and Dressing The Granite.

    “In the smaller quarries the drilling is done by hand, but in most of the larger ones steam or electric drills are used. In many of the quarries the blocks are loosened from the bed by driving wedges, plugs, or feathers in the drill holes. In some of the quarries the Knox blasting system is used, and in some the rocks are blasted without any system.

    “The Raymond Granite Company uses a quarry bar to cut out the ends of the quarry. In many of the granite quarries in the Eastern States channeling machines are used for this purpose.

    “In the smaller quarries the stone is dressed by hand, by means of hammer and chisels and the bush hammer. In the larger quarries this part of the work is facilitated by machinery. Rock Planers, polishing machines, surfacing machines, and pneumatic surfacing tools are in quite general use at the largest quarries. Lathes are used also for turning and polishing columns, pillars, and round monuments.”

    Ill. No. 2. Raymond Granite Quarry, Madera County. Showing use of quarry bar. Showing use of quarry bar.
    Ill. No. 6. Raymond Granite Quarry, Madera County. Raymond Granite Quarry, Madera County

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