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Tuolumne County – List of Stone Quarries, Etc. (Continued) *

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

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  • Columbia (north of), Tuolumne County, California – Columbia Marble Company’s Quarry (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    Columbia Marble Company’s Quarry, in Sec. 34, T. 3 N., R. 14 E.; Columbia Marble Company, D. Hearfield, manager, Rialto Building, San Francisco. The quarry and works are located about 2½ miles north of Columbia, about 800 feet above the Stanislaus River. The Stanislaus River has uncovered the marble ledge, showing it to extend for a depth of 800 feet below the present quarry level. This marble strip is 150 feet wide. The quarry face has been sufficiently opened to allow large quantities of any desired size of stone to be readily taken out. The pure white and variegated varieties have been developed more especially. The marble is a compact, fine-grained, holocrystalline dolomite, free from iron and flint, and weighs 182 pounds to the cubic foot. It is quarried by channeling three sides of a block, and breaking the bottom by the plug-and-feather method. The channeling machines and drills are driven by compressed air. The stone is loaded by derrick on to car trucks, which convey it to the mill, where six gangsaws (with automatic screw feed) cut it into slabs and panels ready for shipment. The plant includes a 50-horsepower Ingersoll-Sergeant air-compressor. Electric power is used, but a steam boiler and engine are ready for emergencies. The marble is hauled 7 ½ miles to Sonora by traction engine when the road permits, otherwise by wagon. A 60-horsepower traction engine hauls four cars, each of 10 tons capacity. About a carload is shipped every week the year round. About 800 tons of this stone was used in the Merchants’ Exchange Building, on California street, San Francisco. The pavements and stairways of the Palace Hotel are also of this marble.”

    In quarry of Columbia Marble Company at Columbia, Tuolumne County, showing channeled faces. In quarry of Columbia Marble Company at Columbia. Tuolumne County
  • Columbia (northwest of), Tuolumne County, California – Columbia Marble Quarries (Marble) (Excerpt 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 I. “The Counties of Amador County, Calaveras County, Tuolumne County,” by W. B. Tucker, Field Assistant, San Francisco, California, July, 1915, California State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1916, pp. 2-172.)

    Columbia Marble Quarries. These quarries are situated 3 miles northwest of Columbia and 7 miles northwest of Sonora, on ridge southeast of the Stanislaus River. This company has been under steady operation since 1891, producing three grades of marble – medium, light and dark – and turning out a product that in beauty, durability and susceptibility to a brilliant polish is the equal of any in the United States. Besides the white, veined and black marble, it also produces a pretty blue marble, and a beautiful buff with red streaks, known as Portola. The marble is very hard, running as high as 11 cubic feet per ton, which makes it especially valuable as a durable stone. A body of marble 1 mile long with a depth of 800 feet and width of 200 feet has been developed, estimated at about 211,200,000 cubic feet.

    “The stone is quarried in blocks weighing 380 tons each, accomplished by cutting a vertical groove 10 feet deep around three sides, covering a space of 420 square feet. Then channeled holes 6 inches apart, 6 feet long, are drilled horizontally along the exposed vertical face on a line with the bottom of the groove. Then plugged and feathered. The block is subdivided into sections weighing 15 tons, which are hoisted from pit by means of derricks, and placed on cars and transported to the gangsaws.

    “Equipment: There are 8 Merriam gangsaws. A 25 h.p. motor drives three gangs, and 8 Francis sand pumps elevate sand to distributors for saws. A 360-cubic foot Ingersoll-Rand compressor furnishes air for the drills. The company owns and generates its own electric power for lights and plant. Thirty-five men are employed. Columbia Marble Company, 268 Market street, San Francisco, owner. W. D. Bannister, manager.”

    The Columbia Marble Quarry, Columbia, Tuolumne County, California. The Columbia Marble Quarry
    Another view of the Columbia Marble Quarry Another view of the Columbia Marble Quarry,
    Columbia, Tuolumne County, California.
  • Columbia (northeast of), Tuolumne County, California – Columbia Marble Quarry (Marble/Dolomite) (Excerpt from “Limestone in California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    Columbia Marble Quarry. This property, which for a long time was the best known and the largest marble producer in California, has lain idle for several years (written circa 1947). It is in secs. 2 and 3, T. 2 N., R. 14 E., and sec. 34, T. 3 N., R. 14 E. Nearly all of the equipment and machinery described in our 1928 report (Logan, C. A. 28, pp. 51-53)* has been sold and removed and the land on which the quarry is situated, 2 ¾ miles northeast of Columbia, has recently been sold to U. S. Lime Products Company. The new owners have been producing dolomite from the old marble quarry for lime.

    (* Clarence A. Logan, Sacramento Field Division, “Tuolumne County,” California Division of Mines and Mining, Report 24, pp. 3-53, illus., 1928.)

    “The quarrying of marble began in the Columbia district in 1860. A mill with 100 saws and 4 polishing machines (Browne, J. R. 68)* turned out many thousands of tons of marble between 1862 and 1866. Then the erection of similar plants in San Francisco, and the importation of Italian and Vermont marble put the California quarries out of business, as the foreign stone could be brought thousands of miles by ship to the Pacific Coast for less than the cost of transporting California marble from quarries 150 miles from market. For quite a long time the California marble quarries were limited to supplying local needs in nearby areas where foreign stone could not compete, but Columbia marble appeared in San Francisco in 1878, and in 1891 Columbia Marble Company was established. With the building of the Sierra Railway of California, it became possible to get cheaper freight rates and the company continued under the superintendence of W. D. Bannister until his death.

    (* John Ross Browne, Report on the Mineral Resources of the States and Territories West of the Rocky Mountains, 674 pp., California pp. 12-298, Washington, D. C., U. S. Treasury Department, 1868.)

    “The new pit which was opened in 1921 is 2 ¾ miles northeast of Columbia and 1100 feet from the old quarry now being worked for dolomite. Being on a steep slope it has good natural drainage and room for easy disposal of waste. Channeling machines were used in the quarry and blocks of marble weighing about 7 tons each were pulled up an inclined track to the 8 gangsaws, which sawed slabs 1 ¼ inches thick. These were trimmed by air chisel and put on the rubbing bed for trueing up and finishing sufficient for flooring, steps, etc. It is a 7-mile haul over good roads to the railway at Sonora.

    “Most of the product was a strong and durable white dolomitic marble with blue veining, although other shades to nearly black, including a beautiful buff stone with reddish veining, called Portola marble, have been quarried. At the time of our 1928 report (Logan, C. A. 28, pp. 51-53) the marble deposit was claimed to be 200 feet wide, 500 feet deep and 1 mile long, and was estimated to contain over 200,000,000 cubic feet. Later a re-organization and change of name to Columbia Marble, Inc. occurred and land holdings appear to have been reduced.

    “The Columbia marble is considered equal to any in the country and as regards durability and strength it is superior.

    “The following physical data are from a report furnished to this division some years ago.”

    Compressive strength, 25,535 lb. per square inch.
    Modulus of rupture, 2,741 lb. per square inch.
    Tensile strength, 1,204 lb. per square inch.
    Average weight, 177 lb. per cubic foot.
    Plate 36-A. Old Marble Quarry – Formerly worked by Columbia Marble Company, Tuolumne County. Old Marble Quarry - Formerly worked by Columbia Marble Company
  • Columbia (north of), Tuolumne County, California – Columbia Marble Quarry (Excerpt from “Mines and Mineral Resources of Tuolumne County, California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 45, No. 1, January 1949, pp. 47-83. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    Columbia marble quarry was for many years the most important marble quarry in the state. It was closed in 1942 and all equipment has been removed (as of 1949). The holdings were in secs. 2 and 3, T. 2 N., R. 14 E., and sec. 34, T. 3 N., R. 14 E. The land on which the marble-sawing plant stood and the old quarry in section 34 have been sold to U. S. Lime Products Company, 1840 East 25 th Street, Los Angeles 11. They are quarrying marble at this site, 2 ½ miles north of Columbia and hauling it to their plant 1 mile south of Sonora to make lime. The operations of Columbia Marble Company from 1891 to 1942 have been fully described in our past reports.”*

    (* Page 77 footnote: Tucker, W. Burling, Tuolumne County: California Min. Bur. Rept. 15, pp. 169-172, 1915; Logan, C. A., Tuolumne County: California Min. Bur. Rept. 17, pp. 488-489, 1920…Rept. 24, pp. 51-53, 1928; Logan, C. A. Limestone in California: California Jour. Mines and Geology, vol. 43, pp. 343-344, 1947.)

    Ill. No. 45. Columbia Marble Company’s Quarry, Tuolumne County. Columbia Marble company's Quarry
    Plate 6-B. Columbia Marble Company. Old quarry pit, which has been idle for several years. Columbia Marble Company. Old quarry pit
    Fig. 14. Marble quarry north of Columbia, Tuolumne County, located on a side road to the east of the Columbia-Parrot Ferry road. Photo by Olaf P. Jenkins (From Geologic Guidebook Along Highway 49, Bulletin 141, 1948. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, Division of Mines and Geology.) Marble quarry north of Columbia
  • Columbia (near), Tuolumne County, California – Columbia Quarry (Dolomite) (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: Columbia Quarry; Operator: Marine Magnesium Company; Address & County: 18631 Lime Kiln Rd., Sonora, CA 95370, Tuolumne County; Phone: (209) 532-3171; Latitude: 38.07, Longitude: -120.42, and Mine location number: Map No. 882; Mineral commodity: Dolomite.

  • Columbia, Tuolumne County, California – Columbia Marble Quarry (?)
    (postcard photograph; early 1900s; unmailed) (I am assuming that this is a photograph of one of the marble quarries in Columbia as "Columbia Marble Quarry” is written on the front of the postcard, although there is no other identification noted.) Postcard - Columbia Marble Quarry
  • Columbia (near), Tuolumne County, California – Knapp’s Ranch - Pink/Black Egyptian Marble Exposure (circa 1864/1865)  The following excerpt is from Transactions of the California State Agricultural Society During the Year 1864-65, pp. 251. (Sac: O.M. Clayes, State Printers, 1866)
  • “MARBLE QUARRIES. (TUOLUMNE COUNTY) Marble quarries are numerous and of good quality in this district. There are in and near Columbia, four. In Vine Springs is an extensive quarry on a immense ledge, of fine and good quality for almost any of the purposes to which marble is applied. The second is in Vine Springs District; a pure white marble, susceptible of high polish, suitable for statuary, and is an extensive ledge. The third is in Matelot Gulch, Columbia; is pink and black Egyptian, mixed - will take a high polish, and may be wrought to ornamental uses, for lamp stands, mantelpieces for fireplaces, and other ornamental uses, and is an extensive quarry. The fourth is on Knapp’s Ranch, Columbia; white marble, with blue veins, and valuable for general purposes to which marble is applied.”

  • Columbia, Tuolumne County, California – Photographic Tour of one of the historic Columbia marble quarries (These photographs were taken July 1998)
  • Columbia, Tuolumne County, California – Columbia State Historic Park (Marble Quarry nearby)
  • Columbia (north and northwest of), Tuolumne County, California – Port Stockton Cement Company Quarry (Limestone) (Excerpt from “Mines and Mineral Resources of Tuolumne County, California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 45, No. 1, January 1949, pp. 47-83. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    Port Stockton Cement Company, 1113 Hearst Building, San Francisco is assessed on the county tax rolls for over 700 acres of land in secs. 2, 3, T. 2 N., R. 14 E., and nearby. This land is in the large limestone belt ½ to 1 mile north and northwest of Columbia. No indication of activity has been noted on the land recent (circa 1949).”

  • Hetch Hetchy Junction (near), Tuolumne County, California – Slate Quarry (Excerpt from “Mines and Mineral Resources of Tuolumne County, California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 45, No. 1, January 1949, pp. 47-83. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    A belt of Mariposa (Jurassic) black clay-slate strikes northwest across the west side of the county. A quarry was operated on this slate. It is in sec. 36, T. 1 S., R. 13 E. within 200 feet of the tracks of the Sierra Railroad. A crew of five men produced at the rate of about 500 tons a month for part of the above period. The slate was shipped to San Francisco by Walter S. McLean. It was crushed to make roofing granules for ‘ready roofing’ and dust was said to be utilized as filler in a coarse grade of paper used for lining refrigerator cars.

    “In 1941, Walter C. Sundberg, Sonora, sold some slate for flagging.”

  • Jamestown (7 miles from), Tuolumne County, California – Musante Ranch (Limestone) (Excerpt from “Limestone in California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    Musante Ranch is assessed to Giacomo Musante et al., R.F.D. 1, Sonora. This ranch is about 500 acres in secs. 28, 33, and 35, T. 1 N., R. 15 E., is traversed for about a mile by the same limestone deposit already described…under Mayhall and Murphy Ranches, between which part of the Musante holdings are situated. The limestone here is 7 miles by good road from Jamestown. On the north side of the road, in the eastern part of section 33, the limestone extends to the tops of two hills, offering opportunities for opening quarries from which large tonnages could be obtained. As mentioned under Mayhall Ranch, the deposit is probably 2100 feet wide from north to south along the line between sections 33 and 34, which here is the east line of the Musante land. The samples of which analyses are shown under Mayhall, apply to the Musante land as well, covering widths of 600 feet and 300 feet respectively and indicating marked variation in the characters of the two beds. The amount of limestone available here above the road level, assuming that it extends to a vertical depth of only 100 feet would be several million tons. No work has ever been done on it.”

    • Jamestown (7 miles from), Tuolumne County, California – Musante Ranch (Marble Quarry) (Excerpt from “Mines and Mineral Resources of Tuolumne County, California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 45, No. 1, January 1949, pp. 47-83. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

      Musante Ranch is assessed to Giacomo Musante et al., R.F.D. Sonora. This ranch of about 500 acres in secs. 28, 33, and 35, T. 1 N., R. 15 E., is traversed for about a mile by the same limestone deposit already described under Mayhall and Murphy Ranches, between which part of the Musante holdings are situated. The limestone here is 7 miles by good road from Jamestown. On the north side of the road, in the eastern part of section 33, the limestone extends to the top of two hills, offering opportunities for opening quarries from which large tonnages could be obtained. As mentioned under Mayhall Ranch, the deposit is probably 2100 feet wide from north to south along the line between sections 33 and 34, which here is the east line of the Musante land. The samples of which analyses are shown under Mayhall, apply to the Musante as well, covering widths of 600 feet and 300 feet respectively and indicating marked variation in the characters of the two beds. The amount of limestone available here above the road level, assuming that the deposit extends to a vertical depth of only 100 feet, would be several million tons. No work has ever done it.”

  • Matelot Gulch, Columbia, Tuolumne County, California – Pink/Black Egyptian Marble Exposure (Marble) (circa 1864/1865)  The following excerpt is from Transactions of the California State Agricultural Society During the Year 1864-65, pp. 251. (Sac: O.M. Clayes, State Printers, 1866)
  • “MARBLE QUARRIES. (TUOLUMNE COUNTY) Marble quarries are numerous and of good quality in this district. There are in and near Columbia, four. In Vine Springs is an extensive quarry on a immense ledge, of fine and good quality for almost any of the purposes to which marble is applied. The second is in Vine Springs District; a pure white marble, susceptible of high polish, suitable for statuary, and is an extensive ledge. The third is in Matelot Gulch, Columbia; is pink and black Egyptian, mixed - will take a high polish, and may be wrought to ornamental uses, for lamp stands, mantelpieces for fireplaces, and other ornamental uses, and is an extensive quarry. The fourth is on Knapp’s Ranch, Columbia; white marble, with blue veins, and valuable for general purposes to which marble is applied.”

  • Phoenix Lake, Tuolumne County, California – Phoenix Lake  Granite Quarry (Granite) – Included in chapter in “California” (pdf), by G. F. Loughlin, in the Mineral Resources of the United States Calendar Year 1913, Part II.  Nonmetals, United States Geological Survey, 1914.
  • (pp. 1357)  “...In Tuolumne County a fine-grained biotite granite has been quarried at the head of Phoenix Lake.”

  • Shaw’s Flat, Tuolumne County, California – G. Engler Lime Company and Limestone Quarries (Limestone) (From The Structural and Industrial Materials of California, Bulletin No. 38, California, State Mining Bureau, San Francisco, California, 1906.)

    G. Engler Lime Company, in Sec. 27, T. 2 N., R. 14 E.; G. Engler, Sonora, owner. This plant is located about 2 ½ miles north of Sonora, near Shaw’s Flat, and supplies a local demand for lime. The stone is quarried from the numerous outcrops, exposed by the early placer workings, which extend for several miles through this district. The rock is burned in two intermittent field kilns, of about 400 barrels capacity. Wood is used for fuel.”

    • Shaw’s Flat, Tuolumne County, California – Engler Lime Company Limestone Deposit (Excerpt from “Limestone in California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

      Engler Lime Company. This company operated a generation ago in sec. 27, T. 2 N., R. 14 E., M.D., near Shaw’s Flat in the region where limestone bedrock was exposed over a large area by placer mining. There has been no recent activity (circa 1947).

  • Shaws Flat, Tuolumne County, California – Engler Lime Company (Lime Plant) (Excerpt from “Mines and Mineral Resources of Tuolumne County, California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 45, No. 1, January 1949, pp. 47-83. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    Engler Lime Company operated a lime plant at Shaws Flat a generation ago. In 1947, land assessed to August Engler in NE ¼ sec. 23, T. 2 N., R. 14 E., 19.97 acres, was leased to Sonora Marble Aggregates Company.”

  • Shaws Flat, Tuolumne County, California – Lime Kilns (From Geologic Guidebook Along Highway 49 – Sierran Gold Belt: The Mother Lode Country, Bulletin 141, Olaf P. Jenkins, Chief, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, 1949. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    “In the flat, lying between Sonora and Columbia, there were three Gold Rush settlements, Shaws Flat, Squabbletown, and Springfield. Among the interesting remnants to be seen in this area are the ruins of the two lime kilns (Fig. 53) which were used in the reduction of the local limestone to lime. These kilns date from 1852. The pitted limestone bedrock was extremely rich placer ground. The red lateritic earth was good for brick making, and some of the Sonora and Columbia bricks were molded and fired here in the early ‘fifties…”

    Fig. 53. Lime kiln, Shaws Flat, DMBS Tuo-H10. Lime kiln, Shaws Flat
  • Shaw’s Flat, Tuolumne County, California – McLean Limestone Deposit (Limestone) (Excerpt from “Limestone in California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 43, No. 3, July 1947, California Division of Mines, San Francisco, California, pp. 175-357. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    McLean limestone deposit is assessed to Mary Beth McEachran, P.O. Box 44, San Francisco. It contains 21.54 acres in sec. 23, T. 2 N., R. 14 E., 5 miles by paved highway from Sonora. It is a part of the great Columbia marble area where the stone was exposed by early-day placer mining. On this land, the limestone is white or gray, fine-grained, and compact. It has been worked in a small way by hand-mining of the exposed boulders, crushing the stone in rock breakers and in a small Hardinge conical mill, screening, bagging, and shipping. The principal market is said to have been for poultry grit. The property had been idle for some time when visited (circa 1947).

  • Shaw’s Flat, Tuolumne County, California – McLean Limestone Deposit (Excerpt from “Mines and Mineral Resources of Tuolumne County, California,” by Clarence A. Logan, California Journal of Mines and Geology, Vol. 45, No. 1, January 1949, pp. 47-83. Used with permission, California Department of Conservation, California Geological Survey.)

    McLean limestone deposit, containing 21.54 acres in sec. 23, T. 2 N., R. 14 E., is now (May 1948) owned by Sonora Marble Aggregates Company. It is at Shaws Flat, 5 miles by paved road north of Sonora and part of the area exposed by early placer mining…It is hard, fine-grained stone, ranging from white to gray in color.”

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