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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, Madera County, California – Knowles Quarry, Raymond Granite Company, Photographs presented by the Madera County USGenWeb Project site, Ken Doig, County Coordinator.
  • Raymond/Knowles, Madera County – the main Knowles Quarry – Quarry Blast at Mid-quarry (Granite)  The following photographs are of a tour for the Yosemite Rangers of the main Knowles granite quarry site and the Raymond Museum on February 21, 2012.  The Knowles quarry tour was led by Chuck Roehrl and Bob Nelson, and the lead ranger was Dean Shenk.  (These photographs were contributed by Lynn Northrop of the Raymond Museum.)

    Chuck Roehrl speaking to the group at the tour of the main Knowles granite quarry for the Yosemite Rangers in February 2012 Watching the quarry blast at the main Knowles granite quarry, Madera County, CA 2/2012

    Chuck Roehrl speaking to the group at the tour of the main Knowles granite quarry for the Yosemite Rangers in February 2012

    Watching the quarry blast. Accord- ing to Lynn, “The blast was an L Blast using nitroglycerin and they had not done one in several years.”

    Bob Nelson, one of the tour leaders of the tour of the main Knowles granite quarry, Madera County, 2/12 Bud Richards viewing part of the main Knowles granite quarry - mid-quarry, Madera County, CA

    Bob Nelson, one of the tour leaders

    Bud Richards viewing part of the main Knowles granite quarry - mid-quarry

    Bob Nelson is answering questions from the group, main Knowles granite quarry, Madera County, CA 2/12 One of the workers at the granite polishing machine, main Knowles granite quarry, Madera County, CA 2/12 Bud Richards and Raymond rancher Esther Moore are looking at the slabs of granite that are ready for market, main Knowles granite quarry, Madera County, CA 2/12

    Bob Nelson is answering questions from the group

    One of the workers at the granite polishing machine

    Bud Richards and Raymond rancher Esther Moore are looking at the slabs of granite that are ready for market

    Saw at the main Knowles granite quarry, Madera County, CA 2/12 Close-up photo of the granite saw used at the main Knowles granite quarry, Madera County, CA 2/12

    Saw at the main Knowles granite quarry. Lynn Northrop wrote that the saw at the quarry was running 24 hours a day at the time of the quarry tour.

    Close-up photo of the granite saw used at the main Knowles granite quarry

  • Raymond (near), Madera County, California – Raymond Granite Quarry operated by the Wilson-Lyon Construction Company  (The following excerpt and photograph is from “California Quarries,” in The Monumental News, Vol. XVII, No. 4, April 1905, pp. 276-278.
    View in granite quarry of Wilson-Lyon Construction Co. at Raymond, Cal. View in granite quarry of Wilson-Lyon Construction Co. at Raymond, Cal. ca. 1905

    “As a constructing material, granite leads all other building stone in California.  Sandstone (native California), comes second, when stone work is considered.  Of course, various kinds of bricks are used very generally in building.  A majority of the business buildings of San Francisco, Oakland and other large cities and towns of California are constructed of handsome pressed brick of various designs and colors.

    “Both granite and sandstone are extensively used for exterior construction.  There are a great number of what are known as ‘composite’ buildings – where several kinds of stone and brick are used together in various proportions.  A great many of the finest buildings are constructed of granite and sandstone with the interior facings of the walls of brick. 

    “A very handsome and showy material is the red sandstone of Arizona.  As it is brought hundreds of miles by rail, it is rather an expensive material and comparatively few buildings are constructed exclusively of this stone.  It is, however, widely used for trimmings, copings, cornices, and ornamental work of every kind, as it is worked into fine ornamental designs very easily.

    “Large quantities of all kinds of marble, – native, Eastern and foreign, – are used as building material, and the demand is constant and increasing.  A large percentage is used for monuments, slabs and costly mausoleums, vaults, etc.

    “For all heavy, massive and enduring construction granite may be considered the ‘King Stone’ in California.  The state has wonderful resources in sandstone, marble and granite.

    “In Madera County, not far from the little town of Raymond, about 165 miles from San Francisco, is located one of the most important granite deposits in the country.

    “There is a large quarry in operation there, from which stone is shipped to San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles and other California cities.  This quarry is owned and controlled by the Wilson-Lyon Construction Company, whose headquarters are in San Francisco, a corporation of unlimited financial resources.  This company is officered as follows:  President, H. Wilson; vice-president, J. A. Byrne; secretary, H. M. Owens; treasurer, High Dimond; directors, J. H. Batcher, Robt. J. Britzman and Joseph Slye.

    “This is one of the largest stone contracting firms on the Pacific Coast.  The land holdings are nearly 200 acres, and the entire tract contains large granite deposits – all of A1 stone – clean, hard and white.  There are very few flaws or large mica spots, and the material takes a very handsome polish.

    “These granite deposits are of unknown depth, and blocks can be quarried much larger than the machinery can handle.  All the stone in the main quarry is singularly free from flaws or blemishes of any kind.

    “The company has a complete plant for handling the output, both at the quarries and finishing sheds.  A large force of skilled stone cutters is employed the year round, and a railway spur runs from the main line into the quarry.

    “Many of the great business blocks of San Francisco are constructed of Madera County granite.  Prominent among these may be mentioned the new Post Office building, which, when completed, will cost $4,000,000; the great Flood Estate Block, costing nearly $3,000,000, and the immense Merchants’ Exchange Building, 14 stories high (just finished), costing over $200,000.

    “The stone has no superior for hardness, fineness of grain and durability, and Wilson-Lyon Construction Company have some of the largest contracts for buildings to be erected from this granite of any firm on the Pacific Coast.”

  • Raymond, Madera County, California – Towns of Raymond & Knowles and the Raymond Granite Quarry & the Knowles Granite Quarry – Photographic Tour (To read the account of our trip to the Knowles and Raymond Granite Quarries in July 1998 go to our Visit to the Raymond Granite Quarries page.)
    Raymond Quarry Entrance Raymond Upper Quarry Raymond Upper Quarry
  • Raymond (2 miles southeast of) at Knowles, Madera County, California - the McClellan Granite Quarry (later known as the McGilvray Granite Quarry) (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    "The McClellan Quarry, owned and operated by the Wilson-Lyon Construction Company, office 220 Market street, San Francisco, lies on the same hillside, about one half mile south of the Raymond Granite Company's quarry. It has been in operation for nine years, and produces a stone similar to that from the Raymond Granite Company's quarry, except the rock is to some extent more deeply weathered.

    "The company has two quarry openings, with a large derrick, in each, and a large circular cutting shed, with derrick in the center, at each quarry. The one quarry is about 50 feet square and works two layers, each 4 to 5 feet thick. The other quarry has a face about 100 feet long and from 25 to 40 feet high, with many vertical weather seams, but good granite between the seams. A branch railway spur connects this quarry with the same branch that leads to the other quarry. This stone, like that from the other quarry, is used largely for building and monument purposes. They are at present (September, 1904) preparing the stone for the McKinley memorial monument in San Francisco."

    (Also see: Raymond (near), Madera County, California – McGilvray Raymond Granite Company (formerly McClellan Quarry) below.)

  • Raymond (near) at Knowles, Madera County, California – General View – McGilvray’s Quarry.
    (postcard photograph, unmailed, early 1900s) General View - McGilvray's Quarry
  • Raymond/Knowles (?), Madera County, California – “McGilvray’s Quarry”  (Granite) (postcard photograph; early 1900s; unmailed; there is no indication on this postcard whether this photograph is of the McGilvray granite quarry in Knowles, Madera County, or the company’s granite quarry in Lakeside, San Diego County.  Peggy B. Perazzo)
  • “McGilvray’s Quarry” (postcard photograph; early 1900s) “McGilvray’s Quarry” (postcard photograph; early 1900s), Knowles, Madera Co., CA?
  • Raymond at Knowles, Madera County, California – View of McGilvery Quarry, Madera Co., Cal.  (colorized postcard photograph; early 1900s; unmailed)
    View of McGilvery (sic) Quarry, Madera Co., Cal.” (postcard photograph) “View of McGilvery (sic) Quarry, Madera Co., Cal.” (postcard photograph)
  • Raymond (near) at Knowles, Madera County, California – McGilvray Raymond Granite Company (formerly McClellan 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.)

    "McGilvray Raymond Granite Company (formerly McClellan Quarry). John D. McGilvray, president; office, 634 Townsend street, San Francisco; Alexander McGilvray, superintendent at the quarry. Situated in Sec. 27, T. 8 S., R. 19 E. The rock is similar to that described in the Knowles quarry, except in the manner of natural fracturing. Here, no large exfoliation planes have as yet been exposed; but cross fractures some 20 to 30 feet apart occur, besides occasional small dikes. The quarry is a side hill cut worked on about the same scale as the other, but covering a smaller area and deeper. Equipment includes 6 derricks with oil-burning steam hoists, 2 saw sets, 4 overhead traveling cranes on two runways, and a locomotive track crane. The two compressors are driven by 150 h.p. and 250 h.p. motors, electric power being obtained from the line of the San Joaquin Light and Power Company, installed this year (February, 1914). Most of the work is done with pneumatic tools.

    "This summer (1914) the quarry has been employing from 250 to 300 men, the largest force in its history. This is mainly due to their furnishing the stone for the new San Francisco City Hall, the granite contract alone for which represents a value of $991,313. The architectural plans call for a large amount of fine sculptural detail, and this work is practically all done at the quarry sheds. In this department there were seventeen carvers working under a special foreman. The majority of these artists (for 'artists' they must be to do such work) are Italians and Scotchmen. Among the larger blocks finished are several platform pieces for the City Hall, 21' x 6' x 2'. (See photo No. 6.)

    Photo No. 6. Dressing a platform stone (size 21 feet by 6 feet by 2 feet) for the San Francisco City Hall. McGilvray Raymond Granite Company, Madera County, Cal. Dressing a platform stone (size 21 feet by 6 feet by 2 feet) for the San Francisco City Hall.
    Photo No. 8. Sculptural Carving, plaster model at right for San Francisco City Hall. McGilvray Raymond Granite Company, Madera County, Cal. Sculptural Carving, plaster model at right for San Francisco City Hall.

    "The product has an extensive market, another example being the United States Custom House in San Francisco. The four monolithic Doric columns at the First National Bank are also from this quarry. The largest single piece shipped from this quarry was 14' x 13' 10" x 2' for the top of a mausoleum in Cypress Lawn Cemetery, San Mateo County.

    "Bibl.: R. XII, p. 384; XIII, p. 620; Bull. 38, p. 32."

  • Raymond (near), Madera County, California – Madera County Rock Crusher Plant at the McGilvray 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.)

    "Madera County Rock Crusher. The county has a rock crushing plant at the McGilvray quarry to utilize rock and spalls for road material. It is under the supervision of H. L. Craw, supervisor. Idle in 1914."

  • Raymond (near) at Knowles, Madera County, California – the McGilvray Granite Quarry as it looks today.

    McGilvary Granite Quarry (Inactive), Photographic Tour, Knowles, California (photographs taken Sept. 2010)

    Raymond Quarry Entrance Raymond Upper Quarry Raymond Upper Quarry

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