Logo Picture Left SideLogo Picture Right SideLogo Text at Center
Home > Search > Site Map > Missouri > Printed Sources > Notes on The Building Stones, Clays and Sands of Iron...

“Notes on The Building Stones, Clays and Sands of Iron, St. Francois and Madison Counties, Missouri”*

By G. E. Ladd, Assistant Geologist

In Bulletin 1, Geological Survey of Missouri

Jefferson City, April 1890, pp. 22-44.

(* Page 22 footnote:  “These notes relate to an area where detailed work is in progress upon the various geological problems presented.  Chemical and physical tests, and microscopic studies of the specimens selected in the field, are necessarily reserved for the future, and this paper is, therefore, chiefly description of localities, and contains only such results and generalizations as a brief field section will warrant.”)

Prefatory Remarks

“The following paper, on the building materials of three of the southeastern counties of the State, is the product of about two months’ time spent in the field; and though, by no means exhaustive, it will be found a useful description of an, as yet, almost untouched subject, and its preparation reflects great credit upon the energies and discernment of its author.  This article, like others of the bullet, is a partial result; it is a provisional publication and may be taken as a sample of what will be produced in the future from that general reconnaissance along the various lines of work, to be carried on simultaneously with the systematic and detailed work, as outlined in the preceding administrative report.  The questions relating to the origin, distribution and properties of the substances here treated of, are numerous and intricate, and can only be solved by critical comprehensive study.  By the importance of these questions demands just such study as this.  The very incomplete figures which the survey has so far been able to collect at yet sufficient to show that the value of the total product of stone quarries of the State reaches many millions of dollars, and the value of the annual product must be now several millions.  Stone is destined to be used more and more in the future for building and other purposes, and this not merely in the ratio of the increase of population, but further because permanent construction is destined to succeed the temporary construction which has been largely the practice heretofore.  This change is already taking place in the East, and, as a notable illustration, may be cited the case of the Pennsylvania Railway, where iron bridges and other structures are being almost entirely replaced by stone ones.  Though no definite figures relating to the clay products are at hand, their value cannot be second to those of the stone quarries, and the tile and brick industry of the State is recognized to be among the most important in the country.  Its future growth cannot be doubted.  With the recognized importance of these substances in the industrial worked, the time is certainly past when we should be comparatively in the dark, not only as to their distribution and as to the best localities for obtaining them, but also as to their capabilities and adaptabilities, when found.  Enterprises must fail if they have not this fore-knowledge.  Scientific experimentation should always precede an industrial venture, and this experimentation should be exhaustive and on a scale proportional o the interests involved.  The increase in the number of laboratories and testing works during the recent years is an indication that this need is beginning to be felt, and it is with an appreciation of this need that the Survey contemplates, as part of its work, an investigation into the properties of the materials herein treated of.  Arthur Winslow, State geologist.

General Geology

Presumable Age of the Rocks - Nature of the Rocks.

“Iron, St. Francois and Madison counties, situated in Southeastern Missouri, include the most important part of what is known as the Missouri Archæan district.  With the recognized Archæan rocks, however, Lower Silurian rocks are associated; the Archæan rocks rising in hills of dome-like shape through the Lower Silurian strata, which surround and rest upon them.  The hills vary in height from less than one hundred feet to about seven hundred feet.  The rocks which have been determined as composing the Archæan, are the crystalline siliceous rocks and the porphyry conglomerates, given in the following classification.  The Lower Silurian strata consist of what is possibly Potsdam Sandstone, and of the Second Sandstone and of the Third magnesian Limestone of Swallow.  The latter formation consists of thick beds of limestone, which are often magnesian, and also of beds of marble; the latter are, however, of much more limited distribution than the former.

Classification of the Rocks.

“For convenience of discussion the following provisional classification of the rocks of this region is adopted.  It is a classification adopted with reference to the industrial uses of the rocks.  It cannot be considered in any way final until a detailed study into the origin and composition of the various rocks is made.

1.  Crystalline Siliceous Rocks.

a.  Granite.

b.  Syenite.

c.  Porphyry and Felsite.

d.  Diabase and Diorite.

2.  Carbonates.

a.  Limestone.

b.  Marble.

3.  Fragmental Rocks.

a.  Sandstone.

b.  Conglomerates and Breccias.

Clays and Sands.

“The clays of commercial value, so far as discovered, are not wide-spread and are practically undeveloped.  The clays which have been worked are classed locally as brick and pottery clays, and will be discussed under these headings.  The sands and gravels are recent Quaternary deposits.

Building Stones.

“The building stones are the most important materials of construction to be considered here; they will be discussed in the order of the classification given.

Crystalline Siliceous Rocks.

Distribution of the Granites - Qualities - Conditions of occurrence.

“Granites. - Of this group the granites afford the most valuable structural materials.  Their most important occurrences are in the southern part of St. Francois county, the northeastern part of Iron and the northwestern part of Madison counties.  These rocks have many qualities to recommend them, which are apparent on cursory observation.  The colors are excellent varying from red and pink to gray while often a contrast between the colors of the constituent minerals yields very beautiful effects.  They take a brilliant polish, are very strong and are reasonably durable.  Other considerations which make these granites valuable lie in the conditions under which they occur, and these conditions probably hold over extensive areas.  The first of these is, that the joint planes, or open seams in the rock, are in number and arrangement so happily adjusted as to make the quarrying of the rock easy and economical.  the second, is that very little ‘stripping’ has to be removed before stone quarrying may be carried on.  Further, the stones are easily split by the quarryman, and are easily dressed by the stone cutter.

Demand and market for granites.

“The localities where the granite is workable, although not immediately accessible to the railway, can be reached in most cases by switches or tramways.  The demand for these granites for building purposes and for paving blocks seems to be constantly growing.  the principal markets are St. Louis and Chicago, but the stone has found its way to many distant parts of the United States.

Distribution and Qualities of the Ssyenites - Uses.

Syenites. The syenites are wide-spread, but have been quarried only in St. Francois County.  They take a good polish and are very handsome.  Their colors are dark pink, and light and dark grays, which are mottled with red feldspars and with black crystals of hornblende.  These rocks, when quarried, are now used entirely for paving purposes.  Only one attempt has been made to quarry them for dimension stone, and this proved a failure because of the easy fracturing of the rocks along numerous, almost imperceptible seams.

“Motions” and “Motion Work.”

“Near Knob Lick the syenite is worked extensively in ‘motions,’ the name motion being given in this region to a class of work confined to boulders, which either lie already loose upon the surface, or are excavated from the decayed rock by pick and shovel.  These boulders in the syenite lie in situ to a depth of twenty or more feet.  The decay of the rock mass has progressed from a net work of joint planes, the amount of decay diminishing away from these planes until, near the center of the meshes, the boulders are still fresh and ready to be split and worked.  Many are thus able to make paving blocks who could not assume the expense of opening a quarry.  A ‘motion’ man, assisted by a boy to drill and split boulders, will probably produce form this rock an average of seventy paving blocks a day.  Motions are occasionally developed until bed-rock is reached, when derricks are put in use and small quarries opened.

Distribution and Qualities of the Porphyries and Felsites - Uses Limited.

Porphyries and Felsites.  The porphyries and felsites are widely distributed and make up the greater part of the Archæan rocks.  They take a high polish, and are of widely varying colors, such as red, purple, green, black and brown of many shades.  The porphyries are especially handsome, containing, s they do, crystals varying from mere specks to those several inches long, which contrast beautifully in color with the matrix of the rock.  They are exceedingly hard and break with a sub-choncoidal fracture.  Their specific gravity is very high. For dimension work these rocks will probably never be extensively quarried, principally because the joint planes which intersect them are so numerous as to make it impossible, or at least extremely difficult, to obtain large enough blocks; and also because the rock is so very hard that, worked by present methods, it cannot be dressed without too great an expense.  However, they split easily and are widely worked by small companies for paving blocks; and for these they have the recommendation of being very durable, but have the defect that, unlike the granites which wear to a very rough surface, they become very smooth and slippery with use.

Distribution of Diabases and diorites - Qualities.

“Diabases and Diorites.  These rocks are found most extensively in Madison county.  They are commonly called green stones, and are intrusive in the granite, but have not been observed in the prophyries (sic) by the writer.  They are mostly dark gray in color, and are as readily polished and dressed as the granites.  Such attempts have been made to quarry them for dimension stone have failed completely on account of the large number of seams and joint planes.  They make good paving stone and are easily quarried and split.

Carbonates.

Distribution and Qualities of Limestones - Uses.

Limestones.  The limestones exist in these counties in inexhaustible supplies.  They are, as a rule, easily quarried, and some of them dress very readily.  Their best color is a soft buff, although they are also of a dark gray and an almost white color.  They seem to be very durable.  No attempt has been made to quarry them for any commercial purposes.  Locally they are used extensively for foundations, bridges, walls, tiling, etc., and a few very handsome dwelling houses have been constructed of them.

Distribution and Qualities of Marbles - Mode of Occurrence - Qualities - The Development of the Marbles.

Marble. The marbles are confined in these counties, so far as known, to Iron and Madison counties.  In Iron county their distribution is confined to the territory drained by Marble creek and the head waters of Stout’s creek.  In Madison county they are confined practically to the townships of ranges five and six east, and, in these, the territory south of the Little St. Francois river.  The marbles occur, in places, with a total thickness of probably thirty or more feet, and some strata may be found which are two feet or more thick.  Their colors are beautiful, varying from light gray to dark red and chocolate, sometimes exquisitely combined in variegation.  They are capable of taking a brilliant polish.  No well directed effort has been made to develop these marbles, but several partially successful efforts have been made.  The chief reasons for their discontinuance have been:  the distance from railways, thinness of strata, frequent seams and blotches of green and brown ferruginous clays which weather out on exposure, and a tendency of the stone to ‘pluck,’ in a damaging way, under the tools of the stone cutter.  In spite of these numerous drawbacks there are, however, many places where well conducted quarrying may be profitably carried on, and the marbles made a source of considerable wealth.

Fragmental Rocks.

Distribution of the Sandstones - Qualities.

Sandstone.  The Second Standstone (sic) is found in many localities capping the Magnesian Limestones or resting upon the Archæan rocks.  In St. François and Madison counties the beds sometimes reach a thickness of one hundred feet or more.  they are often saccharoidal, but are mostly stained red or yellow with ferric oxide.  They disintegrate most easily and are unfit for building material, although they have been used by the railway company in constructing bridge abutments, and locally for door and window sills.

Distribution of Conglomerates - Porphyry Conglomerate.

Conglomerates and Breccias.  Several varieties of these rocks are found, most of which are not now in their proper geological horizon, but exist only as boulders scattered over the hills lopes.  The contained pebbles are usually limestone, while the cementing material varies, being in different localities, lime, silica, and limonite respectively.  On Pilot knob and Shepherd mountain, Iron county, there occurs a porphyry conglomerate in which the pebbles (often large enough to be called boulders) are porphyry, as is also the cementing matrix.  This rock was quarried locally at Ironton, but was found to be not durable, disintegrating very rapidly.  extensive and thick beds of porphyry conglomerate are found in the northwestern part of Madison county and in the eastern part of Iron county.  In the western part of Iron county is a conglomerate consisting of light green crystalline limestone, or marble, containing small, well rounded pebbles of a darker green sub-crystalline limestone.  It makes a very handsome ornamental stone, but the quantity is probably so limited as to make the occurrence of no commercial value.

Clays.

Sedimentary and Residual Clays.

“In the area here discussed no sedimentary clays have been observed excepting such as have resulted from local washings from the hillsides; but, of residual clays, there are very extensive beds, products from local decomposition of the rocks, which vary in thickness from a few inches to seventy feet or more.*

(*  Page 29 footnote:  See Geological Survey, Missouri, 1872, page 13.  Raphael Pumpelly.)

Brick Clays.

Bricks Made for Local Use Only.

“The only demand for bricks is the local one, which is extremely small; consequently the industry has been carried on only in a desultory way.  The material used is a clay, residuary from magnesian limestone, but is fit for use only to a depth of about eighteen inches, where, having been weathered and leached by rain water, it is in a condition to make a fair quality of brick which burn to very dark colors.  The clay is sticky and much sand is required in moulding it, which is probably the reason for the failure of several brick making machines which have been tried in Iron and Madison counties.

Production.

“In Iron county, brick has been made at Ironton, iron Mountain, Middlebrook and Arcadia.  the total product amounts probably to not over 6,000,000 bricks.

“In St. Francois county, bricks have been made at Farmington, Bonne Terre, Doe Run and DeLassus.  The product to date amounts to about 15,000,000 bricks.

“In Madison county, bricks have been made at Fredericktown and at many small kilns in the country.  The total product is probably less than 30,000,000 bricks.

Pottery Clays.

Distribution of Kaolins - Origin - Uses.

“Kaolins are known to exist at several localities.  These are in the western part of Iron county, and in the eastern part of Madison county.  The clays result from the decomposition, in situ, of certain porphyry rocks, and they have probably a wider distribution than that at present observed.

“In both Madison and Iron counties, many years ago, these kaolins were mined, and made into several excellent varieties of stone ware.  The discontinuance of these works appears to have been due not in any way to the character of the clay, but rather to lack of cheap transportation facilities, and, possibly to private reasons of the owners.

Examinations Not Yet Completed.

“The writer has not yet had opportunity to properly examine any of these kaolins, because such pits as have been opened into them have become filled with water and debris during a long period of disuse, and the samples taken from the dumps about the pits are not now worthy of analysis or mechanical test.  The facts observed by a cursory examination indicate, however, that there are extensive occurrences of a valuable quality of kaolin which is adapted for the production of a high grade of stone ware.  In some places it contains a large per cent. of peroxide of iron, and will make a valuable commercial paint.  It is the intention of the Survey to make further and more detailed examinations into the extent and character of these clays.

Sands.

Stream Sands - Sand-rock.

“The many water-courses furnish an abundance of sand and gravels of chert and porphyry.  These are easily accessible and are extremely useful as road-making materials.  A sandstone which has been assigned to the same geological horizon as that at Crystal City, occurs in some localities, and is soft and saccharoidal and otherwise similar to this stone.  Chemical examinations have not yet been made of it.”

Descriptive List of Stone Quarries.

Iron County - Quarries in Granite.

Syenite Granite Co. - Character of the Rock - Color.

Graniteville.  In township 34 north, range 3 east, on the southern half of the line dividing sections 10 and 11, are two quarries which have been operated since 1882 by the ‘Syenite Granite’ company.  These quarries are probably the largest in the State.  They are admirably located on hill slopes, which location permits of their being drained by siphons.  The rock is a red granite, exposed in extensive outcrops, generally with a thin cover, necessitating little stripping.  Its very easily quarried, having a good ‘bedding’ plane, and vertical joint planes, in sufficient quantities to assist the quarryman greatly in getting out stones, and yet not so abundant as to prevent the obtaining of very large blocks.  The color of this stone is red or dark pink, mottled with gray and black, the red shades being due to feldspar, the others to a more or less smoky quartz.  The rock takes a high, lustrous and handsome polish; but on account of excessive hardness, it is very difficult to dress.

The Plant.

“The plant consists of a switch about three miles long, which connects the quarries with the Iron Mountain & Southern railway, a locomotive and two stationary engines, two steam travelers, a vertical and a lathe polisher, several derricks, steam drills, an office, a store, extensive sheds, work shops, etc.

The Product.

“The product since 1882 is about 250,000 cubic feet of dimension stone, about 5,000,000 paving blocks, and a large amount of ‘rip-rap,’ which has been used for ballast by the Iron Mountain Southern railway, and also extensively in the manufacture of granitoid pavement and sidewalk flags.

Structures Containing This Granite.

“Among the important structures for which these quarries have supplied stone are the following:

Fagin building, St. Louis, Mo.

Odd Fellows hall, St. Louis, Mo.

Mercantile Library, St. Louis, Mo.

Roe building, St. Louis, Mo.

Singer building, St. Louis, Mo.

Commercial building, St. Louis, Mo.

Ligget & Meyer bldg., St. Louis, Mo.

Rosenheim building, St. Louis, Mo.

Meyer Bros. building, St. Louis, Mo.

Drummond tobacco factory, St. Louis, Mo.

Merchants bridge, St. Louis, Mo.

St. Louis stand pipe tower, St. Louis, Mo.

Boatmen’s Bank bldg., St. Louis, Mo.

Rookery building, Chicago, Ill.

Marshall Field bldg., Chicago, Ill.

Studebaker building, Chicago, Ill.

Savory hotel, Dubuque, Iowa.

Rialto building, Chicago, Ill.

Northwestern Guarantee Loan Co. bldg., Minneapolis, Minn.

Society for Savings building, Cleveland, Ohio.

Central Sav. Bk., Baltimore, Md.

Union Depot building, Indianapolis, Ind.

City Hall bldg., Cincinnati, O.

Cincinnati art museum, Cincinnati, O.

Ǽtna Bank bldg., Cincinnati, O.

German Savings Bank, Cincinnati, O.

Whitney National Bank, New Orleans, La.

Morris bldg., New Orleans, La.

Oriental hotel (now in construction - circa 1890)

Paxton building, Omaha, Neb.

Heest bldg., Kansas City, Mo.

Corrigan building, Kansas City, Mo.

Sizes of Blocks Produced.

“Among the largest pieces of dimension stone which have been quarried here are:  The Allen monument in Pittsfield, Mass., which is 42 feet high and 4 ½ feet square at the base, and weighs about 45 tons; the columns in the front of the Studebaker building, in Chicago, which are ten in number and are each 18 feet high and 4 ½ feet in diameter, and weigh about 18 tons; and the window sills in a Chicago building, on Adams street, between Fifth avenue and Franklin, which are each 3 feet square by 17 feet 4 inches long.

Mode of Occurrence and Character of the Rock.

“H. A. Sheahan.  In township 34 north, range 3 east, a little south of the ‘Syenite Granite’ company’s quarry, Mr. Sheahan opened a small quarry, in August, 1889.  The manner of occurrence of the rock with reference to quarrying, and the character of the stone is similar to that of the Graniteville quarries.  Little work has been done here.  No dimension stone has as yet been quarried, and only a few thousand paving blocks have been produced, which were hauled in wagons to Middlebrook for shipment.

Mode of Occurrence of the Rock - Character - Plant - Production - Uses.

“Phil. Schneider.  In township 34 north, range 3 east, section 10, west half, Mr. Schneider has two granite quarries which were opened in 1885.  They are situated on the west slope of a granite ridge where drainage by siphons is possible and quarrying is easily carried on.  The characteristics of the outcrop and of the stone are about the same as those at Graniteville, which have been described above.  The plant consists of two stationary engines, a steam traveller (sic), six derricks, three polishers (lathe, vertical and pendulum), a short tramway, blacksmith shop, office, boarding houses, sheds, tools, etc.  A railway connection, three miles long, with the St. Louis, Iron Mountain & So. ry. is contemplated.  The total output to date is about six million paving blocks, in addition to an undetermined amount of dimension stone.  Among the important structures for which it has furnished granite are the Lemp building, and the Moline and Merchants bridges, all of St. Louis.

Character of the Rock - Uses.

Ozark Mountain.  About a quarter of a mile south of Graniteville is a quarry which was opened in 1869, and which is the oldest granite quarry in Missouri.  It is in the same outcrop as the Graniteville quarry and the stone answers to the same description.  The quarry is not now worked, but, when in operation, from five to six hundred men have been employed here at one time.  Stone from this quarry was used in the construction of the famous Eads bridge across the Mississippi, of the Illinois and Iowa State houses, of the St. Louis and Cincinnati custom houses, and of the Memphis and Little Rock post-offices.  The stone taken out was, however, inferior to what can be obtained, as it was mostly surface rock.

Condition of Occurrence - Composition.

Pilot Knob Company.  In township 34 north, range 3 east, section 22, center of southern half, there is a very small quarry belonging to the Pilot Knob company, from which a few paving blocks have been quarried.  The outcrop of granite is very large here, and can probably be quarried advantageously for dimension stone, as the joint planes seem to be so situated as to facilitate quarrying, and yet not to interfere with the production of large blocks.  The stone is composed of grains of clear transparent quartz and of crystals of dark pink feldspar, which latter give it a reddish color.  It takes an excellent polish.

Quarries in Porphyry.

Product - Character of the Rock.

J. S. Benson.  In township 31 north, range 4 east, section 14 east half, about three miles from the railroad, is a small quarry in porphyry, opened in the spring of 1888.  About 700,000 paving blocks have been produced to date here, which were shipped to St. Louis and Memphis.  The rock is too full of joint planes to permit of its being quarried for dimension stone; but it splits well and is easily made into paving blocks.  Its color varies from dark blue to pink.

Character of the Rock - Product.

May and Tow.  In township 31 north, range 3 east, at Annapolis, is a quarry at which work has been discontinued, owing to the extreme difficulty with which the rock was worked and also on account of the numerous seams and joint planes which intersect it.  The stone is a blue-black porphyry, speckled with crystals of gray feldspar.  It has numerous inclusions which resemble bombs in a lava flow.  About 10,000 paving blocks is the total product of the quarry.

Character of the Rock.

E. W. Graves.  In township 30 north, range 4 east, section 16, northeast quarter, is an outcrop which has been worked in ‘motions.’  The stone is a dark, hard and brittle porphyry which splits easily.  It is fit only for the production of paving blocks, and only a very few of these have been made.

Quarries in Limestone.

Color of the Rock - Uses.

Carley and Mann.  In township 33 north, range 3 east, section 1, near the center, are several small quarries in the magnesian limestone, which is here covered by about a foot of stripping.  The color of the stone is blue in some strata, and yellow in others.  The yellow variety dresses easily and makes a handsome building stone, but the blue is less easily worked and is less valuable.  The strata vary in thickness from 6 inches to 2 feet.  The output from these quarries has been small, and has been used mostly for foundations.  They furnished stone for one small dwelling house, and for Dr. Goulding’s hospital, both at Ironton, the latter a handsome edifice.

Color and Properties of the Rock.

Hastings. In township 33 north, range 4 east, section 5, southeast quarter, is a small quarry in the magnesian limestone.  It is situated on the west slope of a hill, where the workable stone is covered with a bed of stripping many feet thick.  The color of the stone when fresh is a dark green which fades to a gray as the stone dries.  The stone is easily dressed.  It occurs in strata about 2 feet thick, two or more of which are workable.  The output is small, and has been used mostly for foundations.”

Conditions of occurrence and Color of the Stone.

Hollman Bros.  In township 33 north, range 3, east, section 27, near Hogan, is a quarry in the magnesian limestone, about 70 feet long, 33 feet wide and 10 feet deep.  It is on a hillside and is connected with the Iron Mountain and Southern railway by a short switch.  The stone occurs in strata varying from one to fourteen inches in thickness.  Its color is bluish, streaked here and there with drab or yellow.  It does not dress easily.  The output has been used entirely by the Iron Mountain & Southern railway, in construction of bridge abutments and culverts.

Conditions of Occurrence and Character of the Rock.

Russell.  In township 33 north, range 4 east, section 5, northeast quarter, is a small quarry in the magnesian limestone.  The bed-rock is covered with about 3 feet of stripping of light red loam.  Joint planes seem too numerous to permit the quarrying of blocks of desirable sizes for dimension work.  The colors of the stone are gray and yellow, and black in the case of one non-continuous stratum of marble, which has a maximum thickness of 6 inches.  The stone is very tough, has numerous veins of calc-spar and, hence, is dressed with difficulty.  The product has been used in Ironton and Arcadia for foundation purposes.

Quarries in Marble.

Conditions of Occurrence and Character of the Rock.

Sarah P. Childers.  In township 34 north, range 3 east, section 35, southwest quarter, are two or three very small openings in the out-cropping marble, which were made many years ago, and are not now worked (circa 1890).  The marble occurs in a hill which occupies an area of many acres.  The hill slope is covered mostly by a thick mantle of residuary products and detrital matter; but at several horizons marble beds crop out, and it is probable that they have a total thickness of many feet.  Individual strata 18 inches thick were observed.  The stone has a gray color and is mottled and streaked with green and yellow.  Some of the mantel-pieces in the Capitol at Washington are said to have been taken from beds here exposed.

Quarry in Conglomerate.

Conditions of Occurrence of the Rock - Character - Product.

Shepherd Mt.  On the southern slope of Shepherd Mountain is a small quarry in a porphyry conglomerate which grades into a coarse sandstone.  From 2 to 10 feet of stripping of clay and boulders covers the rock.  The stone is easily quarried and dressed, but that from this locality disintegrates very rapidly on exposure to the weather, and is practically worthless for building purposes.  The output, which has been very small, has gone to Ironton to be used for foundations.  Some of the steps of the Iron County courthouse are of this stone and these are very deeply worn, compared with those of limestone with which they are associated.

St. Francois County.

Quarries in Granite.

Conditions of Occurrence of the Rock - Character - The Plant - The Output - Important Structures.

Milne and Gordon.  In township 34 north, range 6 east, section 5, near the center, is a granite quarry which was first open in 1870, and reopened in 1876 by the present company.  It is situated on the west slope of a low granite ridge and is drainable by siphons.  The stripping on the rock varies in thickness from 1 foot to about 10 feet.  The distribution of joint planes permits the quarrying of enormous blocks, one solid block having been broken out measuring fifty feet in length and twenty feet in width and depth.  The stone is of a soft gray or pink color.  Feldspar is the chief coloring mineral, and a milky quartz and black biotite serve to modify its effects.  Both the gray and pink varieties take a brilliant polish.  The stone is hard but dresses quite easily.  It splits to best advantage along the ‘lift.’*  The plant of this company consists of a tramway about a mile and a half long, two stationary engines, of 30 and 10 horse powers respectively, 6 derricks, a polishing room with a circular and a vertical polisher, sheds, tools, etc.  The output of this quarry to date amounts to about 60,000 cubic feet of dimension stone and about a half a million paving blocks.  Among the most important structures for which it has furnished granite, are the J. R. Lionberger and the H. L. Forks buildings of St. Louis; U. S. custom house and post-office, Keokuk, Iowa; United States Rock Island arsenal, Rock Island, Ill.; Jackson County court house, Kansas City, Mo.  The largest dressed stone produced is a block ten feet square and one foot thick.

(* Page 36 footnote:  The “lift,” at the quarries described in this paper, is the name given to the plane along which the rock splits, and which is parallel to the bedding plane of the quarry.  The bedding plane is the one which is nearest to horizontal in position.  The plane nearest perpendicular to the “lift” along which the rock splits is called the “rift.”  The plane approximately at right angles to the “lift” and to the “rift” is called the “hardway.”)

Syenite Granite Company’s Quarries - Character of the Rock.

Syenite.”  In township 34 north, range 6 east, section 5, in the northeast quarter, are two granite quarries which are controlled by the Syenite Granite company.  They were opened in 1878.  Work at these quarries is now suspended because the company finds it most convenient, at present, to supply the stone for all its contracts from the Graniteville quarries.  Dimension stone can be obtained here in large blocks, and the rock is quite easily dressed, and takes a high polish.  The color of the stone, derived from the contained feldspar, is a pale pink, mottled with grains of milky quartz and black specs of biotite.  The quarries are connected with the Belmont Branch railway by a switch, a little less than two miles long.  Most of the company’s working plant is, at present, at the Graniteville quarries.

Conditions of Occurrence of the Rock - Color - Product.

Allen and Vieths.  In township 35 north, range 5 east, section 36, on Doe Run creek, is a large quarry which was opened a few years ago.  It is situated on the east slope of a hill, and is drainable by siphons.  It is not worked, though capable of furnishing excellent dimension stone.  The rock outcrop has practically no cover, and is cut by joint planes in an advantageous manner.  There are two varieties of stone:  a pink, fine grained syenite, and a gray to pale pink and rather coarse grained granite which in places is handsomely mottled with crystals of a pale green mineral.  The former is apparently intrusive in the latter.  The quarry has produced about 400,000 paving blocks to date.

Motion Quarries - Names of Owners - The Output.

Motions at Syenite.  The country for several miles north, west and south of the town of Syenite, in section 5, township 34 north, range 6 east, has extensive outcrops of red granite in which the quarries, already discussed, of Milne and Gordon, Doe Run and Syenite are situated.  In addition to what these quarries have produced, stone has been gotten out at a number of other localities from ‘motions,’ or other small openings, for the production of paving stone.  Such are the Walsh, Ruecking & Co., O’Bannon, Abbot, Turpin, Bougeois, Cartee, Chamberlain, Crawford and the Kansas City company’s motions or quarries.  These granites do not offer the facilities for motion work that the syenites do, and it is usually necessary to open them by powder blasts.  In general, they are not intersected by many joint planes, have no great amount of stripping, and are situated so as to favor economic quarrying of dimension stone, on a large scale.  They are destined to be worked extensively in the future.  The characteristics of the stone, as described above in the notes on the Milne and Gordon and the Syenite quarries, are fairly representative of the stone of this whole area, although it varies locally in depth of color and in texture; the latter being occasionally very coarse.  The output of paving blocks from these localities has been, approximately:  from the Walsh, 200,000; Ruecking & Co., 100,000; O’Bannon, between 4,000,000 and 5,000,000; Cartee, 10,000; Crawford, 4,000, and others 5,000.

Quarries in Syenite.

Output - Conditions of Occurrence of the Granite.

Allen and Company.  In township 36 north, range 4 east, section 20, southwest quarter, is a quarry in the syenite, known as the Garrett quarry, which was opened in 1887, by a blast of many tons of powder.  It is not now worked.  The total output to date is little less than 100,000 paving blocks.  The rock is covered with very little stripping, but joint planes and seams are so abundant that it is impossible to quarry it for dimension stone.  It is fine grained, pink in color, and easily dressed.

300 Motions Near Knob Lick.

Motions at Knob Lick.  In the neighborhood of Knob Lick, west of the railroad, ‘motion work,’ started some thirteen or fourteen years ago, has been extensively carried on, and there are probably not less than three hundred motions now existing (circa 1890), though not all at present worked, within a few miles of the depot.  They are most numerous in the syenite outcrops which occur in sections 4 and 9, in township 34 north, range 6 east.  

“The motions are mostly on the lands of Messrs. Price, McDowell and Simpson to whom the ‘motion men’ pay a royalty for each paving block made.  The total product to date of these syenite motions is about 17,000,000 paving blocks.

Relations of the Felsite to the Syenite - Conditions of Occurrence - Color.

“The syenite is here exposed over an area of perhaps a square mile.  On the eastern side of this area it disappears beneath the thick, overlying beds of second Sandstone, while, on the western side, it rises topographically into a high peak, known as the Knob, the summit of which is composed of a very fine grained, pink porphyritic felsite.  The relation of this felsite to the syenite is not clear.  From the summit of the Knob, down the western side, the felsite passes by apparent gradations, into a coarse grained, red or pink granite.  On the north and south it is surrounded by sandstone or granite.  The syenite is covered with an extraordinary amount of stripping, the surface being strewn with loose boulders, beneath which lie, in situ, boulders and decayed rock to a depth, often, of many feet.  The stone varies in color from light to a dark gray, which is locally called blue (the stone being known as ‘blue granite’).  It is fined grained, splits and dresses easily, and is well adapted for the production of paving blocks.  It takes an excellent polish, but has not yet been produced as dimension stone.

Quarries in Porphyry.

Character of the Rock.

Motions at Knob Lick. In township 34 north, range 6 east, section 9, on what is known as the ‘Knob,’ are several motions and very small quarries where a porphyritic felsite is worked into paving blocks.  The rock is too hard to be dressed, and is so cut up by joint planes that it will probably never be quarried for dimension stone, although it is very handsome and is remarkably durable and strong.  The production of paving blocks from this rock has been small.

Quarries in Limestone.

Conditions of Occurrence of the Rock - Character - Uses.

St. Joe Lead Co.  In township 37 north, range 4 east, section 23, near Bonne Terre, are several small quarries in limestone.  The stone is easily quarried in open cuts on the hill-sides, where the stripping is very light.  The strata vary in thickness from six to eighteen inches, and blocks of large area can be obtained.  The color of the stone varies from blue to gray, growing lighter as it dries after quarrying.  It is dressed with some difficulty, owing to numerous veins of calcspar which it contains.  It is used largely in and about Bonne Terre for foundations, edge stones, paving, flagging, etc.  The dwelling house of Superintendent Parsons is built of it, and it is there shown to be a very handsome and durable building stone.

Conditions of Occurrence, and Character of the Rock.

P. V. Ashburn. In township 36 north, range 6 east, section 31, southwest quarter, is a limestone quarry, sixty feet square and twelve feet deep.  The limestone is covered by about thirty inches of stripping.  The strata vary in thickness from three to eight inches.  The color of the stone varies, being yellow, gray and blue.  The product is used mostly for macadam, and to some extent for foundations and flagging.

J. B. Miller.  Mr. Miller has a quarry in limestone similar to Mr. Ashburn’s, in the southeast quarter of the same section.  The rock, however, is covered by several feet of stripping.  It is used for foundations.”

A. Parkhurst. In township 35 north, range 5 east, section 2, near the center, is a small quarry in the limestone from which about sixteen hundred cubic feet of stone have been taken, to be used for macadam.

M. P. Cayce. In township 35, range 5 east, section 1, southwest quarter, is a limestone quarry which has furnished a small amount of stone, of a poor quality, for foundations in and about Farmington.

J. M. Elvins.  In township 36 north, range 4 east, section 12, southwest quarter, is a limestone quarry, in a stone of a yellowish color, which dresses easily.  The maximum thickness of any stratum is twelve inches, and blocks of large area are obtainable.  The quarry has furnished considerable flagging for Farmington, and also the sills for the Elmwood academy.

Mrs. F. E. Toleman.  In township 36 north, range 4 east, section 13, southeast quarter of the southeast quarter, is a limestone quarry.  It is an open cut, on a hill-side, about seventy feet long and twenty feet wide, with an extreme depth of eight feet.  The rock is covered by about four feet of stripping.  The stone varies in color from yellow to gray, is fine grained, tough and hard, and is dressed with difficulty.  The product has been used for foundations only.

Conditions of Occurrence and Character of the Rock.

Jno. Rothney. In township 35 north, range 3 east, section 5, northeast quarter of northeast quarter, is a limestone quarry, about one hundred yards long, forty feet wide and twenty feet deep.  About three feet of stripping covers the rock.  The strata vary in thickness from two to fourteen inches and blocks of large surface area are obtainable.  The stone is somewhat siliceous, and varies in color from yellow to pink and chocolate.  The output has gone almost wholly to the railway company for the construction of bridge abutments and culverts.

Beals’ Quarry. In township 35 north, range 5 east, section 1, northeast quarter, is a quarry in which the limestone is porous, filled with calcite veins and pockets, and unfit for building purposes.  The output has been used principally for macadam and foundations.

J. M. Ritters. In township 36 north, range 5 east, section 23, northeast quarter, is a quarry in the limestone where blocks as large as ten feet square by eighteen inches are obtainable.  The stone is fine grained, gray to yellow in color, and dresses very easily.  The output has been used mostly for monument bases, window sills, etc.

St. Joe Lead Company, North Quarry is in township 38 north, range 4 east, section 35.  The strata vary from six inches to two feet in thickness, and large slabs are obtainable.  The stone varies in color from gray to yellow, is coarse grained, dendritic, and occasionally blotched with calcite crystals.  It does not dress easily.  The output has been used for piers and abutments for a railway bridge over the Big river, and for the construction of drains and culverts.  It has also been crushed and used largely for ballast in the construction of a railway bed.

Quarries in Sandstone.

Thickness - Uses - Character.

Knob Lick Quarries. Close to the railway, about half a mile north of Knob Lick, are several small quarries in the sandstone  which are not at present worked.  The sandstone has here, probably, an aggregate thickness of one hundred feet only, and consist of strata which vary from one to twenty inches in thickness.  Only a few of these strata have any value for building stone and they disintegrate so rapidly that they are scarcely worth quarrying.  Stone from the thickest and most compact strata have been used, to a small extent, for foundations at Knob Lick, but the chief use has been by railway company in the construction of culverts and abutments.  An examination of some of the stone in these abutments showed it to be in a badly crumbled condition, and seriously needing replacement by stronger and more durable material.

Madison County.

Quarries in Granite.

Character of the Rock - Output.

Milne and Gordon.  In township 33 north, range 7 east, section 25, northeast quarter, are two small quarries in a granite ledge, which were opened in 1886.  The granite here is capable of furnishing large blocks of dimension stone, has very little stripping upon it, and is conveniently near the railroad.  The stone has a dark reddish color, due to a prevailing feldspar, and is beautifully mottled with grains of translucent quartz and dark specks of biotite or hornblende.  It takes a high lustrous polish and makes a very handsome stone for ornamental purposes.  It does not dress very easily, however.  The total output of the quarries to date amounts to about five thousand paving blocks and a small amount of dimension stone.  These quarries will soon be developed on a large scale by the present owners.


Quarries in Diabase.

Conditions of Occurrence and Character of the Rock - Product.

Kansas City Company.  About three miles west of Mine La Motte station at Skrainka, are some large, quarries in an outcrop of diabase, which is probably an intrusion in the granite.  They are not now worked.  The rock is covered with from ten to thirty feet of stripping, and has been so violently contorted and broken, that it is impossible to quarry dimension stone from it.  It is fine grained, dark gray to almost black in color, splits and dresses easily, and takes an excellent polish.  The effects of weathering, as exhibited in the outcrops, would lead one to the conclusion that this is not a durable stone.  Efforts made to quarry it for monumental purposes failed on account of the seams above spoken of.  About 2,000,000 paving blocks have been produced here to date.

Quarries in Marble.

Thickness of the Beds.

H. L. Gale. About eight miles south of Fredericktown, on the farm of Mr. Gale, a small opening was made in a marble outcrop, about ten years ago.  Two strata of marble are exposed here, one being about seven inches thick, and the other about eighteen.  The thinner stratum of these has a pale pink color which shades into a lavender, and is relieved by specks and streaks of calcite, arranged in parallel lines, giving the whole stone a subdued but very handsome effect.  It takes an excellent polish.  The thicker stratum has a pale grayish tint, slightly variegated by green and brown streaks.  These marbles are fine grained, and are somewhat ‘plucky’ under the stone cutter’s tools.  It is probable that there are several strata of good marble here; but the beds of residuary products make it difficult to determine this fact on a cursory examination.  Only one car load has been shipped from here, which went to St. Louis.

Character of the Rock.

Cedar Bottom Quarry. In township 33 north, range 5 east, section 36, northwest quarter, a stratum of dark red variegated marble, which takes an excellent polish, has been opened on (sic).  Only a very small amount of stone has been taken out, however, and this mostly for samples.

Thickness of the Stratum - Qualities.

L. M. Hebener. In township 32 north, range 5 east, section 17, southwest quarter of the southwest quarter, a small marble quarry was opened some time before the civil war.  The best stratum is about eighteen inches thick.  The marble is of a light gray color, variegated with streaks of brown and green.  It takes an excellent polish, but needs to be dressed with care, owing to its ‘plucky’ qualities.  Several car loads were shipped to St. Louis.

Developments - Character of the Rock.

Slater Quarry. In township 33 north, range 5 east, section 23, south half, a marble quarry has been worked intermittently for about fifteen years.  A heavy stripping was removed over an area of about seventy-five square yards, and a shaft was sunk through about eighteen feet of marble strata.  The quarry is now full of water.  Blocks lying about show that some of the strata are at least twenty inches in thickness.  The marble varies considerably in color, the handsomest variety resembles the thinner stratum in Gale’s quarry, described above, but it has a redder shade.  These marbles take an excellent polish, but are quite ‘plucky.’  A few small shipments have been made.

Character of the Rock.

Wright’s Quarry.  About a mile and a half east of Gale’s quarry, on the Fredericktown road, a small quarry was opened, in the marble, ten years ago (circa 1880).  The thickness of the beds here cannot be ascertained.  The marble has a dark brown or chocolate color, which is relieved by veins of calcite.  It is fine grained, and takes an excellent polish, but is ‘plucky,’ like the last described.  Two car loads were shipped to Boston and New York.”

[Top of Page]