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Excerpts from

A Report on Mine la Motte Sheet, including Portions of Madison, St. Francois and Ste. Genevieve Counties

By Charles R. Keyes, State Geologist

Missouri Geological Survey, Volume IX, Reports on Areal Geology (Sheets 1-4)

Jefferson City, Tribune Printing Company, State Printers and Binders


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Building Stones.

“No other district of similar size within the limits of the state, or perhaps in the whole Mississippi valley, has a greater variety of good stone for all kinds of constructional purposes than the area occupied by the Mine la Motte sheet.  For quantity, quality and beauty, the stones that can be used for building and ornamental work are unsurpassed by any in the United States.  This is attested by the fact that the stones from this, or the neighboring localities, have entered largely into the construction of some of the largest and most massive buildings in the country.  Leading structures in Dallas (Texas), Omaha, St. Louis, Des Moines, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Baltimore and other large cities have been erected wholly or in part of the Missouri stone.  This stone has been transported a thousand miles for buildings reared upon the very brink of quarries the product of which is known the whole country over.

“There are in the district four general classes of rock that are suitable and available for building stone.  These, with their chief varieties which will be described farther on, are as follows:

  I.  Granite

  1. Granite (biotite granite, or granitite).
  2. Syenite (granite-syenite).
  3.  Black granite (diabase, ‘greenstone’).
  4. Porphyry (‘felsite’)

 II.  Marble

III.  Limestone.

  • Dolomite.
  • Ordinary limestone.

IV.  Sandstone.


“Under the general term ‘granites’ all the massive crystalline rocks of the region are known.  Lithologically there are several distinct varieties which have very different properties, and which have, moreover, very different composition and structure.  These various features have an important influence in the selection of a stone for structural materials.

Granite. - The coarse-grained granite composes by far the greater portion of the crystallines in the district under consideration.  Its area is not far from 50 square miles, most of which is easily accessible for quarrying.  In color the stone is a warm red to pink; in places merging into gray.  Though usually a coarse-grained rock, fine-grained varieties are frequent occurrence.  The arrangement of the constituent minerals give very beautiful effects of contrast.  (Plate XII, photograph of polished surface.)  The granites take a very high polish.  All are very strong and are very durable.  Extended examinations in thin slices under the microscope clearly indicate that the rock is in a remarkable degree free from objectionable constituents.  Both chemical and field investigations corroborate these observations.  The rocks consist almost wholly of a granular aggregate of quartz and feldspar.  White mica (muscovite) is entirely absent.  The amount of black mica present (biotite) which is usually one of three essential constituents and a mineral which is the first of the principal components in most granites to break down under meteoric influences, is reduced to a minimum amount and in many cases is almost entirely absent.  The feldspar is, for the most part, orthoclase, and the most durable of the feldspathic minerals.  Accessory components liable to decompose are wanting.  The great preponderance of the more indestructible constituents is also indicated by chemical analyses.

(Please note:  The table entitled, “Analyses of Granite,” and the explanatory paragraph will not be included here as the text  is difficult to read in the book.  Also, Plate XII entitled “Porphyritic Granite, Polished Surface” will also not be presented here.)

“As a quarry rock the granite has a number of features recommending it.  It is jointed in such a way as to make quarrying both easy and economical.  The proximity of the fractures varies at different points.  In places the breaks are close enough together to permit paving blocks being taken out with the greatest facility; in others monoliths of any size may be obtained perfectly free from seams and defects.  The stones are readily split in quarrying and easily dressed in preparing them for the purposes for which they are designed.  Furthermore very little ‘stripping’ is required in obtaining access to the stone.  The general aspect in the quarry ledge is shown in Plate xiii, which represents the Milne and Gordon quarries.

Plate XIII.  Jointing of Granite, Milne and Gordon Quarry at Syenite.  (after pp. 92) Jointing of Granite, Milne and Gordon Quarry at Syenite

“Syenite. - The rock to which this name is usually applied in the region is a ‘blue’ granite, in contradistinction with the gray or red granite.  It is properly a syenite-granite.  In texture and other physical properties it is nearly the same as the red variety.  Minerallogically (sic), however, it differs from the ordinary granite in containing hornblende and much more black mica.  It contains the least quartz of any granitic rock in the region.  The blue color is imparted chiefly by the biotite and hornblende, though the feldspar also has a peculiar bluish color.  

“There are several square miles of this variety of granite lying southwest of Syenite and Knob Lick, all of which is easily accessible.  The stone takes a brilliant polish but it is necessary to exercise some care in selecting the rock for dimension work, as often small seams are present which renders fracturing easy.  This would, however, doubtless be largely overcome by the adoption of better methods of quarry.

Black Granite. - The black granites are greenstones, or diabases.  They occur in dikes and small circular areas cutting the granite and porphyry.  In color they are very dark green or gray and present a marked contrast to the rocks associated with them.  They are heavy, very tough, and when struck with the hammer emit a metallic ring.  The diabases admit of a fine polish.  Owing to peculiarities of mineralogical composition these rocks do not make durable building materials and should not enter into expensive constructions.  Even if they were durable little good dimension stone could seldom be obtained on account of the numerous seams present.

“For paving blocks the diabase rocks are unsurpassed, and should be used to the greatest extent possible in the heaviest those districts of the cities in which the heaviest traffic is carried on.  While doubtless good for one-half to three-quarters of a century the atmospheric decay of the blocks is just rapid enough to prevent them from becoming slippery which is so objectionable in granite and quartzite blocks.

Porphyry. - The ‘felsite’ as it is commonly called locally is abundantly and widely distributed.  It is a very close-grained, often almost glassy rock having a variety of colors, pink, red, purple, green, brown and black in many shades.  It takes a brilliant polish.  The rock is extremely hard and flinty, rather brittle and breaks, with a somewhat conchoidal fracture.  On account of the difficulty in working and dressing, the porphyry is not very well suited for dimension work.

Quarries in Granite.

Allen & Vieth Quarry. - The location of the quarry of Allen & Vieth is about four miles northwest of Knob Lick and one-half mile north of Doe Run creek (Tp. 35 N., R. V. E., Sec. 36, SW. qr).  The working face is 180 feet long; the depth of the quarry averages twenty feet.  Numerous joints, running mainly in a NE-SW direction, are noticeable.  They are not, however, so frequent as to prevent getting out blocks of any desired dimensions.  The stone has been worked up chiefly into pavers, half a million having been taken out.  The stone is of a clear red color and dresses readily.  Its composition differs somewhat from that at most of the other quarries, quartz being abundant.  A vertical quartz vein traverses the bed.  One large steam derrick has been employed and tracks laid to the dumps.  It is one of the largest block quarries in the area.

Kirk Quarry. - A short distance from the Allen & Vieth opening is a quarry on the south slope of the hill (Tp. 35 N., R. V E., Sec. 35, SE. qr).  Quarring (sic) was done in solid red granite which is of medium grain and dresses readily.  The product is pavers, of which 23,000 blocks have been taken out.  

Chamberlain Quarry. - Not very far away, on the Peers land, a granite quarry has been opened, from which about 38,000 blocks for streets have been taken.  It now has a vertical face twenty feet high which could be easily extended.  The rock is rather fine-grained, but works easily and could be utilized for dimension stone as joint planes are not frequent.

“A dozen or more other openings have been made in the same vicinity.  They lie on both sides of the Doe Run creek.  A couple of miles farther up the stream (Sections 27 and 28) granite has also been quarried at several points.

Eaves & Crawford Quarries. - The principal openings of those last mentioned are located on the east side of the creek (Tp. 35 N., R. V E., Sec. 27, SW qr.)  The immediate exposure of granite is quite small.  Over 3,000 blocks have been taken out.

“Near the mouth of Doe Run creek on the flank of a prominent hill northeast of Wachita mountain considerable stone has been obtained.

Cartee Quarry. - Work at this place has been carried on (Tp. 34 N., R. V E., Sec. 2, NE. qr.) in granite for about eight years.  There are several small quarries.  Blocks are also obtained from surface ledges.  The red granite is coarse in texture.  About 60,000 blocks have been hauled to the railroad.  At the present time (circa 1896), there are no extensive operations being conducted.

Wood Quarry. - This quarry is on the Taylor land, on the north hillside about one-fourth mile west of the Cartee place.  The rock is quite similar and the same kind of methods are employed in quarrying and dressing the rock.  Over 32,000 blocks have been produced.

Eaves Quarry. - Northeast of the last mentioned openings is operated a small quarry (Tp. 34 N., R. V E., Sec. 1, NW. qr.) from which several thousand blocks have been removed.  The granite is the ordinary light red, medium-grained variety.  No heavy blasting has been undertaken, the top ledge of granite alone being utilized, since at the surface the rock is fresh and very durable.

Wildcat Quarry. - This quarry is at the top of a broad granite hill (Tp. 34, N., R. V E., Sec. 13, SE. qr).  The rock is tolerably coarse-grained, pale red in color and works easily.  No dimension stone has been taken out, although joint planes are not so abundant as to interfere with the quarrying of large blocks.  About 50,000 six- and eight-inch paving blocks have been made here.   The granite in this district is all of splendid quality.  It seems to be more uniform in color as well as in texture.

 “Berry Quarry. - Three miles northwest of Knob Lick are several large quarries (Tp. 35 N., R. VI E., Sec. 30, SE. qr).  A switch connects them with the Belmont branch of the I.M., St. L.&S. railroad, a little over one mile distant.  Until recently it was owned and operated by the St. Louis Granite Company and went by the name of the O’Meara quarry.  The quarry was opened up a little more than four years ago on the northeast slope of a hill which is partly covered by sandstone.  It has a circular face of about 300 feet in length and averages fifteen feet in depth.  Across the center, nearly east and west, a seven-foot channel has been excavated to enable work to be carried on more easily.  The quarry as a whole is in excellent working condition.  Usually the amount of stripping is slight.  On the northeast side the rock is somewhat decomposed and is not utilized, but elsewhere it is very firm.  In texture it is of perhaps the coarsest of any within the area.  Some pink feldspar crystals are found more than an inch in length.  It works readily, especially on the lift, and blocks of any desired dimensions can be taken out.  The plant consists of a rack and power shed and a number of dwellings; also a drill, derrick, traveler, and a ‘Jenny Lind’ polisher for flat surfaces; the machinery is worked altogether by steam power.  The dimension rock has been used in the construction of the Bissell Point waterworks building, pump house at Chain of Rocks, for tops of piers for the elevated railroad in East St. Louis, Illinois, and for many other structures.  In addition half a million blocks for street paving have been taken out.

Tetley Quarry. - About 200 yards south of the Berry quarry is an opening on the Tetley land.  The work is a reddish gray granite, and rather coarse-grained.  About 50,000 paving blocks have been used from this place.

Steffen Quarry. - A couple of small openings have been recently started (circ 1896), one on the north and the other on the south side of the O’Meara switch, just west of its connection with the Belmont branch railroad (Tp. 35 N., R. VI E., Sec. 29, SW. qr).  As quarrying has just been begun only a few blocks have as yet been made.  The granite is the coarse, grayish red variety, is easily trimmed and is doubtless quite a valuable stone.  Drilling is done by steam power and the intention is to open up large block quarries.  Sandstone extends over the top of the hill along the north face of which the granite is uncovered and quarried.

“West of Knob Lick around the town of Syenite are the most important quarries in the sheet.  Three long switches leave the Belmont branch of the Iron Mountain railway at the station to provide shipping facilities for the output.

Meyers Quarry is situated just north of the county road, one-half mile west of Knob Lick.  It was opened two years ago (circa 1894) and block-making has been prosecuted most of the time since.  Probably 50,000 six-inch and eight-inch blocks have been produced.  The rock work is called ‘blue syenite’.  It is a gray granite with rather medium texture.  The jointing planes are rather numerous, the general direction being southwest-northeast.  The stone is admirable for paving purposes and could be used for certain dimension work.  There are, however, small spots of dark gray material scattered through the mass.  These of course detract from the value of the rock for building purposes but does not lessen its value for paving blocks.  The large masses are raised to the surface by a hand derrick.

Flemming Quarry. - This opening lies about 100 yards west of the one just described (the Meyers Quarry).  It was first opened three years ago (circa 1893).  The rock is the ordinary ‘blue’ granite, and is very easily worked on the rift.  Something over 55,000 blocks have been made.

Asplos Quarry. - Northeast of the Flemming opening is a small quarry in the ‘blue’ granite, such as is found at the other quarries in the vicinity.  It dresses easily and joints are sufficiently numerous to aid very materially in the quarry operations.  About 10,000 blocks have been hammered out.

McGeorge (J.) Quarry. - The J. McGeorge quarry was opened 11 years ago (circa 1885) and a large quantity of paving blocks have been obtained.  The working face is about 20 feet high and 150 feet long.  It is opened just north of the road about half-way between Knob Lick and Syenite, in the ‘blue’ granite.  Over the hard rock are two to six feet of decomposed granite and residual clays which must be stripped.  Joint planes run a little west of south.  This has been one of the most important workings.  A single hand-power derrick is used in raising the large masses to the surface.

McGeorge (W.) Quarry. - This opening lies just northwest of the J. McGeorge quarry.  Operations were begun 13 years ago (circa 1883) and a large number of blocks made.  It is 20 feet in depth and has an average of five feet of stripping.  The joints almost invariably lie nearly north and south.

Kelly Quarry. - At the Kelly quarry about a quarter of a mile north of the J. McGeorge place considerable work has been done.  It is in the coarse-grained ‘blue’ granite, upon which rests from four to eight feet of stripping.

“In and around Syenite is the largest development of the quarry industry within the limits of the area.

Milne & Gordon Quarry. - The quarry and dressing works are at Syenite, just north of the county road, in the center of section 5 (Tp. 34 N., R. VI E.).  It is one of the oldest granite openings in the district.  The worked out area is about thirty feet deep, but at the present time the work is being done at a twenty-foot bench.  A good face of rather coarse-grained red granite has been developed.  At the southeast corner of the opening the stone is grayer and is here traversed by red porphyritic streaks.  A few feet southeastward, beyond the quarry proper a coarsely crystalline gray granite lies above the red.  It is of firm texture and suitable for dimension stone.  This area is included in the regular quarry.  The joints are sufficiently numerous to greatly facilitate the work.  The general direction is about south 10 degrees west.  The texture is fairly coarse but the color is not constant over large areas.  There is a tram-way from the quarry to the railroad just above Knob Lick.  The plant itself has in addition, three steam and two hand derricks at the quarry and one hand derrick at the railroad; also vertical and circular polishers, sheds, and other necessary equipment.  The out put from the quarry has been mostly dimension stone for large structures in various cities, chiefly St. Louis, and for monuments.  The stone appears to good advantage in the roughly dressed state and partakes of a very bright polish.  Blocks of almost any desirable dimensions can be secured.  One huge monolith was broken out that was 50 feet long, and 20 feet in width and depth.

Syenite Quarries. - The Syenite Company was among the earlier operators in the region.  Work was begun in 1880, large sheds erected and machinery put in for handling the blocks.  Later the work was transferred to Graniteville in Iron county.  Two principal quarries were developed to some extent before the change was made.  One lies above the Little St. Francois river north of Syenite.  This was the principal seat of work and was about fifty feet deep.  It is estimated that 175,000 cubic feet of granite were quarried.  The stone is of a grayish red color and of medium grain.  The general trend of the master joints is in a direction a little west of south; of the secondary planes nearly at right angles to these.  The other main quarry lies about 150 yards northwest of the Milne & Gordon quarry.  It has a twenty-foot perpendicular face.  Joint planes are not so numerous and large blocks are obtained.  The texture is a little coarse but the stone works very easily.  The company has another quarry in granite north of the large one.  Only blocks were made here.  A switch leaves the railroad north of Knob Lick and extends to the old work sheds.  Although now abandoned there is much probability that work will be resumed here instead of continuing at Graniteville.

Ratcliffe Quarry. - This is a small quarry west of Syenite.  The grayish red granite used is quite coarse-grained, but there are not enough joint planes present to enable the work to be carried on without some difficulty.  Probably 12,000 blocks for paving have been made at this place.

Ward & O’Bannon Quarry. - This is a new locality just east of the Ratcliffe.  Two to three thousand blocks have been made.  The stone has but few joints, but works on the lift with ease.  No stripping is required as yet.

Arnold Quarry. - The Arnold quarry, to the south of the county road on the Baker land in the southwest quarter of section 5, has been opened three years.  In this time 17,000 blocks have been obtained.  The opening is in a red granite, tolerably coarse textured.

Milne & Gordon Leased Quarry. - This is also on the Baker land.  It was opened up for block-making purposes eight years ago (circa 1878) and quite an extensive excavation has been made.  The granite is light red in color, and medium-grained.  Besides the masses which are broken into pavers a considerable amount has been used in the construction of bridges along the railroad.

Wood Quarry. - Formerly the Rueking & Eistrup quarry.  The opening is in the red granite, on the lower part of Knob Lick mountain about three-fourths of a mile nearly west of the highest point.  The rock is considerably jointed and paving blocks are made with but little difficulty.  A derrick is employed for shifting the large masses.

Cross Quarry. - Work began at this point, which is on the northwest slope of Knob Lick mountain, in 1894, and since that time, 40,000 blocks have been taken out.  The stone is the ordinary light grayish red granite and has an easy fracture.

Allen Quarry. - This place is also opened on the north-western part of Knob Lick mountain.  The stone is reddish gray.  Over 175,000 blocks have been shipped out.  The stone works well and makes an excellent paver.

Wallace Quarry, formerly the old Welch quarry, is situated high up on the northwest side of Knob Lick mountain.  It is 250 feet long and 100 feet wide; and has been worked for a dozen or more years.  The quarry is eight to eighteen feet deep, with two to six feet of stripping.  The fracture is more certain on the rift parallel to the north and south planes.  In the upper part of the quarry a porphyritic rock appears, at one point being eight feet thick.  Nearly 1,000,000 blocks have been made here.

Wells Quarry. - A short distance on the slope to the north-east from the Wallace quarry is another recently opened.  The color of the granite is the usual reddish gray and the texture is tolerably coarse.

Pritchett Quarry - Work was begun just northwest of the Wells quarry in the spring of 1895.  The granite here is of a lighter color than at the Wallace but otherwise is quite similar.  Only a few blocks have as yet been removed.

Summers Quarry. - This is quite a large opening, situated in Tp. 34 N., R. VI E., Sec. 9, NW. qr.  It was opened about ten years ago (circa 1886) and quarrying was carried on interruptedly until recently (circa 1896).  The excavation is about 150 feet in length.  The stripping of decomposed materials is from five inches to as many feet thick.  There are many joint planes trending nearly east and west and north and south, but these do not interfere with the adaptability of the stone for dimension purposes.  The easiest way for working the granite is on the rift, yet the ‘hardway’ is often resorted to.  The ‘hardway’ is nearly perpendicular to the direction of the slope.

Simpson & Thurley Quarry. - What is known as the main Simpson quarry lies about 500 feet south of the Summers place, and there is another about 250 feet to the northeast.  The latter is in light pink to gray granite; the former in a red variety.  Both are now abandoned by the blockmakers, but the debris, consisting of chips and large blocks which have accumulated, are transported in cars along a tramway to the railroad at Knob Lick and shipped as grout to St. Louis. where it is crushed and used in the preparation of granitoid walks.  A very large number of blocks were manufactured from the two localities.

Anderson Quarry. - This place was opened about four years ago (circa 1892) on the hillside seventy-five yards southeast of the Summers quarry.  It is now only about thirty by forty feet in areal extent and ten feet deep.  It has been idle until recently (circa 1896), but blockmaking has been resumed.  The granite is fairly coarse-grained.

Butler Quarry. - The old Butler openings lie on the south side of Butler hill, a western extension of Knob Lick mountain.  There are in this place a number of surface quarries known as ‘bowlder motions,’ the solid beds not having been reached.  Some of these detached masses are twenty feet or more in diameter and are composed of fine, undecayed granite.  Only one or two excavations are being worked at present (circa 1896), but in past years the output has been quite large.  Most of the granite is rather coarse-grained and of a grayish red color.

Wood & Hibbits Quarry. - In the northeast quarter of section 7 (Tp. 34 N., R. VI E.), quarrying has been going on in a tolerably fine-grained red granite, for the production of paving blocks.  There are a great many large bowlders on the surface near by but only the solid ledges underneath are utilized.  The stone fractures easily in the manufacture of pavers.  Dimension stone could also be easily obtained.  The total output to date is about 100,000 blocks.

Missouri Quarry. - There are several quarries now known under the name which were formerly called the Abbot openings.  They lie at the end of a switch extending from Knob Lick, in the western part of section 17 (Tp. 34 N., R. VI E.).  Work was begun here several years ago but the quarries have not been developed to any extent except for the manufacture of paving blocks.  However, since connections have been made with the Belmont railway the intention is to extend the works and put in equipment primarily for the production of dimension stone.  Two large steam derricks are in position.  There are two openings; the main one lies at the end of the switch, the other about 125 yards to the north.  The latter is in red, rather coarsely crystalline granite, but the joints are hardly sufficiently numerous for easy working.  The other is a small quarry now about twenty feet square and twelve feet deep.  At the large excavation the rock is of a grayish red color and very compact.  In the southwestern part of the quarry there is a dike of fine-grained diabase traversing the granite in a nearly north and south direction.  Its width is from twelve to eighteen inches and there are branches running off from the main mass.  It is nearly vertical.  About twenty car loads of grout have been taken out recently (circa 1896).  The output thus far has been almost wholly paving blocks.

Chamberlain (J.) Quarry. - This is located on the section line between 17 and 18 (Tp. 34 N., R. VI. E.).  It was opened in 1887 and is now (circa 1896) about 150 feet one way by fifty feet in another, and seven feet deep.  The stripping amounts usually to less than two feet and in places the hard undecomposed rocks extend to the surface.  A quartz vein traverses the quarry in a direction south 65 degrees west.  Along this intrusion the granite is very much jointed and of a gray color.  There is a dike of diabase also crossing the granite of this quarry.  It is the extension of the one shown in the Missouri quarry a short distance to the northeast.  Since opened, probably 75,000 blocks have been gotten out.  Large dimension stone might be obtained also.

Warsing Quarry. - This is a small opening in the northeast quarter of section 18 (Tp. 34 N., R. VI. E.).  As yet it has been developed but little.  The rock dresses easily and could be used advantageously for building stone.  Up to 1894 only paving blocks had been taken out, of which about 10,000 had been marketed.

Fry Quarry. - Paving blocks were obtained until 1893 in the northwest quarter of section 18 (Tp. 34 N., R. VI E.).  The rock quarried was the ordinary reddish granite, rather coarse-grained and capable of being worked into blocks with comparatively little effort.  Joint planes were not numerous, but sufficiently so to assist in quarrying.  The output probably amounted to 10,000 blocks.

Kirkpatrick & Cross Quarry. - This small working lies southeast of the center of section 7 (Tp. 34 N., R. VI E.).  About 10,000 blocks were made from fine-grained red granite.  Very little solid rock was used, as large bowlders were most accessible.

Arnold Quarry is on Rock branch in the southwest quarter of section 7.  It was opened seven or eight years ago, as were also others on the opposite side of the river at the ‘Narrows’ in the northwest quarter of the same section (Tp. 34 N., R. VI E.).  Red granite of rather fine grain was worked with little difficulty.  The rock is also adaptable to structural purposes.  Full 75,000 blocks have been shipped from the several points.

“In addition to the large number of quarries and ‘motions’ at and in the vicinity of Syenite and Knob Lick, other localities have been found which would furnish a superior grade of granite and at some of these work could be prosecuted very successfully.

“Four miles south of Knob Lick, on Musco creek, several quarries have been opened in the granite.

Carr Quarry. - This quarry lies in the southwest quarter of section 26 (Tp. 34 N., R. VI E).  Work has been done on both sides of the creek at the railroad bridge.  The stone quarried is a dark grayish rock, rather fine-grained.  Joint planes are frequent.  During the three years it has been in operation, a large number of pavers have been taken out.

“There is another quarry, but now abandoned, about one-half mile upstream from the Carr place, the old Kreitzer opening.  This is on the west side of the gradually sloping granite hill.  The blocks were hauled to Lewis switch a short distance westward.  About three years ago the Bridgman quarries furnished paving blocks from red granite along the railroad near the center of section 22 of the same township and range.

“Buck mountain is about two miles northwest of Skrainka and on its slopes to the northwest there are several quarries.

Hurst Quarry is located on the headwaters of Pine creek (Tp. 33 N., R. VI E., Sec. 32, NW. qr).  Three or four openings have been worked and perhaps 26,000 blocks taken out.

Graham Quarry is near the Hurst and has been worked for paving blocks.

Billington Quarry.  There were several excavations opened in the southwest quarter of section 30 (Tp. 34 N., R. VI E.) a few years ago and 25,000 paving blocks were produced.  Operations have now ceased at this locality.

Vandergriff Quarry. - The two Vandergriff openings are close together and lie about half a mile north of the Billington.  They were opened about the same time and 30,000 blocks made.

Lamb Quarry. - Openings have been made in half a dozen places in the northwest fourth of the southeast quarter of section 25 (Tp. 34 N., R. V E.), the principal one being the Lamb quarry.  Only 15,000 blocks have been prepared, and the work has not been carried on continuously.

Lewis Quarry.  Some work was done four years ago in several places in the vicinity of the Lamb place and 10,000 blocks manufactured.  The rock is well adapted to block-making but is a little difficult to dress.

Phillips Quarry. - Several small workings have been developed in the northeast fourth of the southeast quarter of section 25 (Tp. 34 N., R. V E.).  They are known as the Phillips ‘motions.’  Reddish granite of rather coarse texture was quarried and 10,000 paving blocks sent out.

Bridgeman Quarry.  There are several small excavations in the granite, located less than one-half mile south of the Phillips.  Work was carried on quite extensively for a time and the amount of the output was over 25,000 blocks.

“The quarry industry was of considerable importance ten years ago in the area in which are situated the quarries in the southeast part of Tp. 34, R. V E., and in the southwest part of Tp. 34 N., R. VI E.  The remoteness from railroad facilities militated against them. The granite is all of excellent quality and were transportation facilities nearer at hand work would doubtless continue.

Buck Mountain Quarries. - The work on Buck mountain has been confined principally to the southern end, in the northern part of section 5 (Tp. 33 N., R. VI E.)  Development began a dozen years ago (circa 1884).  Later, much quarrying was undertaken and soon a large number of paving blocks were taken out and shipped.  The rock has proved to be one of the best grades of granite in Missouri.  From Syenite southward to the Buck Mountain area the quality is found to become better and better.  The stone is easily dressed, receives a high polish and contains no deleterious constituents.  A little quarrying is carried on here from time to time but extensive work has not been prosecuted for the past few years.  Over 250,000 blocks were gotten out from the several openings.

Bald Mountain Quarries. - Bald Mountain lies to the northwest of Skrainka.  The first quarry was the Skrainka & Simpson, which was opened about eleven years ago (circa 1885).  It is near the top of the mountain.  Other quarrying has been done, mainly on the southwest flank, but no rock has been taken out here for nearly two years.  There is but little stripping and the granite is of such character as to make it very desirable block stone.  It fractures smoothly and wears well.  The product was transferred on a long switch to the Belmont branch of the Iron Mountain railway.

Fredericktown Quarries. - In the vicinity of Fredericktown a number of openings have been made.  About 300 yards north of the station east of the railroad track there is a small quarry.  An excavation twenty feet square and twelve feet deep has been quarried out and worked into paving blocks.  The rock is a fine-grained grayish pink stone, with easy fracture.

“In the southeast quarter of section 6 (Tp. 33 N., R. VII E.) several small quarries have been opened up in a red granite; and from time to time the output of blocks is quite large.  The blocks are of first-class quality and are easily made.  At present no work is done in the locality.

“In addition to the great number of quarries and ‘motions’ in the granite, of which descriptions have already been given, there are numerous others which have been worked and which have afforded and number of paving blocks.  Around Syenite and Knob Lick as far west as the eastern edge of section 5 (Tp. 34 N., R. VI W.) much quarrying has been done outside of the places particularly noted.  They are perhaps not less important in extent, but not being in operation at the present time no definite information could be obtained regarding them.  Many were filled with water and debris.  The ‘blue’ granite area, which lies between Knob Lick and Syenite has been worked into on the south as well as the north side of the road by many ‘motions’ but none have taken out dimension stone, and work is now (circa 1896) abandoned at the greater number of them.  There are several ‘motions’ in the granite near the center of section 3, west of Syenite.

Quarries in Porphyry.

“In those districts were (sic) there is a great abundance of granite, porphyry can never be quarried to advantage, principally for the reason that it is so difficult to work.  For paving blocks, which at present form a very considerable part of the quarry output, porphyry is not popular.  The blocks, aside from being difficult to make, become very smooth and slippery after being down a short time.  Only one quarry of importance exists in the district.

Wells Quarry. - This is a ‘motion’ near the top of Knob Lick mountain.  Work in a compact porphyritic rock progressed for about a year, and 3000 pavers were made.  the rock was found to be too hard for first-class blocks and was condemned.  A few hundred porphyry blocks have also been taken out near this place but the work lasted only for a short time.

Quarries in Black Granite.

“The principal quarries of diabase are in the vicinity of Skrainka.  The product is entirely paving blocks.  The locality is about five miles northwest of Fredericktown (Tp. 33 N., R. VI E., Sec. 3).  A dark green rock occurs here and is well exposed in a ravine at an abandoned quarry.  It can be definitely traced almost to the divide to the eastward, southward for 100 yards or more, and northward for a greater distance.  It is reported that the same rock was met with in a well one-fourth mile to the northeast.  Branches from the main mass doubtless extend in various directions and although the exact connection has not been traced there are good evidences that some of them are either extensions of the principal one or else separate dikes.  At several places along the headwaters of Frizelle branch (section 4) just west of Bald mountain, dike rocks are also very numerous.  One and one-half miles south of Skrainka there are bowlders of the same rock.  To all appearances there is no difference between the Skrainka diabase and that of neighboring localities.

“A quarry at Skrainka was opened about eleven years ago (circa 1885) and worked about two years as the Skrainka & Simpson quarry.  Then for a season it was operated as the Simpson quarry; after which it became the LaMotte opening.  For nearly six years no work has been done.  At times as many as 150 men were employed in getting out stone and making blocks which were shipped over a switch to the Belmont branch railroad.  The principal quarry is now about one hundred yards long by fifty yards wide.  ‘Motions’ were also opened.  In the southern end of the quarry the rock has decomposed to a depth of thirty to forty feet and has left only a coarse sandy, brown colored mass, in which an occasional solid bowlder is present.  Hard rock doubtless exists to the southward.  On the other side of the opening the depth to hard diabase is only a few feet.  It is estimated that nearly 100,000 blocks were made of this diabase.  It works very easily and is gotten out with little difficulty, since joint planes are quite abundant.  The supply of block stone is practically inexhaustible.

“Large diabase bowlders are found in great numbers along the county road one and one-half miles south of Skrainka.  They are not decomposed and many have been worked into paving blocks.  The character of the stone is almost identical with that of the Skrainka diabase.

“Near the north and south section line, on the southeast extension of the Knob Lick mountain, about 100 feet below the summit, there are several small ‘motions’ in green diabase.  The stone is fine-grained, but makes a very good paver.  It is not difficult to dress; and if it were found in greater abundance and more conveniently situated would doubtless be utilized much more extensively.  For several years the excavations have been abandoned.


“The marbles, as found in the district under consideration, are very fine, close-grained, throughly (sic) crystalline stones which have every appearance of having been metamorphosed by heat.  They have rather a limited areal distribution and are confined to a few small areas in the southwestern corner of the sheet.  There is a great variety of colors, ranging from nearly white, to pale straw, gray, pink, through all the reds, to dark chocolate.  The effects are very beautiful and in many cases the colors are variegated and exquisitely blended.  All the varieties take a brilliant polish and are suitable for all kinds of ornamental work.  Little effort has yet been made to develop the marble beds, as the chief drawback has been the lack of shipping facilities.  At the present time (circa 1896) the quarries are so far from the railroad that in order to get the stone to market it must be hauled over rough roads for distances of five to twelve miles.  Enough however has been done notwithstanding the various drawbacks to show clearly the character, adaptability and extent of the beds in the localities.  With the proper transportation facilities at hand the marbles could doubtless be made the source of considerable wealth.

Quarries in Marble.

Allen & Smith Quarry. - Formerly the opening was known as the Covert, or Cedar Bottom, quarry.  It is located about three miles south of Silver mines and ten miles southwest of Fredericktown (Tp. 33 N., R. V E., Sec. 25, SE. qr).  It lies in the largest deposit in the district, covering about one square mile.  Most of the area is of very gentle slope, but in spite of the low surface relief but little debris has collected over the greater portion of the marble deposit, and in places the thickness of the residual clays barely cover the hard layers.  In color and texture the stone varies greatly.  Some ledges are flesh-colored; others the same but clouded with, light streaks; others are of darker shades of red, either uniform or motled (sic); while certain strata are of a very dark cherry red color.  The texture is homogeneous.  For the most part the stone has a compact, fine-grained matrix, through which are scattered small grains of more coarsely crystallized material either of marble or of pure calcite.  Then there are thinner layers of semicrystalline rock of a uniform texture; others of either of those mentioned, with an occasional band more crystalline and sometimes thin broken streaks of dark red clayey material. The latter occurs in occasional layers and is not deleterious.  The stone dresses readily.  The ledges are from a few to twenty-four inches in thickness.  Almost any desired size of blocks may be secured.  Being the surface rock with little or no stripping and in a well-drained locality quarrying is carried on with almost no obstacle to intefere (sic).  The marble is hard and slightly brittle but takes a splendid polish and is suitable for monuments, mantles and ornamental work, and especially indoor trimmings and decorations.

Gale Quarry. - There are two small quarries on the Gale land, the principal one lying in the center of an old grant, corresponding to the south-central part of section 29 (Tp. 33 N., R. VI E.), and the other across the road about half a mile.  There are about 160 acres of marble in the deposit.  The openings were made fifteen years ago (circa 1881).  A considerable amount of stone has been taken out for monuments and samples.  The rock in the northern opening is exposed along a branch and in order to quarry it but little stripping is required.  The principal ledge is eighteen inches in thickness, has a light grayish pink, clouded color and is quarried in large blocks.  Earthy partings of greenish clayey material are occasionally shown, facilitating the getting out of the stone.  The ledges are without joints except at wide intervals so that the stone in the ledge may be cut into thin slabs for indoor trimmings, mantles, steps and base-boards.  The upper ledge is ten inches thick and of a pinkish gray color.  The general texture is fine-grained.  Both ledges admit of a fine polish.  Small monuments have been prepared from the upper bed.  Other layers exist but are not now worked (circ 1896).  Only about one car load of these marbles has been shipped.

“In the southern opening only the weathered ledges are shown.  The most important layer is several inches thick.  It is tolerably tough and takes a high polish.

Wright Quarry. - The Wright quarry is about a mile northeast of the Gale (Tp. 33 N., R. VI E., Sec. 28,  NW qr., S ½) in the side of a ravine.  Work towards developing these ledges began about fifteen years ago and a number of blocks of the stone taken out, two or three car loads of rough stone being shipped from Fredricktown.  No stripping of consequence is necessary to reach the best ledges which can be gotten out in slabs sixteen inches thick.  As a rule the stone has a peculiar texture.  It is rather dull, finely textured and a granular in appearance, the latter character being well brought out in the polished faces.  It is remarkably easily worked and not in the least ‘plucky.’  The color is commonly a very dark brick-red, approaching brown; in this general hue are blotches and specks of lighter color and of clear white calcite which give a striking as well as beautiful effect to the dressed stone.

Strong & Gillespie Quarry. - The opening in the marble just north of the main east and west road along the headwaters of Slater branch was formerly known as the Slater quarry but is now called the Strong & Gillespie.  The quarry is on the south slope of the hill and considerably above the drainage level.  A prospect shaft was sunk here through thirty or forty feet of marble and the formation was not passed through.  A large amount of stone has been taken out from the quarry.  Some has been shipped and some of it used for monuments.  The stone is light to dark red in color, and partly banded with thin veins of white, the latter are of calcite and do not interfere with the solidity nor durability of the rock.  The clayey seams which occasionally occur near the outer surfaces of the layers are somewhat injurious in that they are sources of undesirable fractures and do not polish well.  The thickness of the strata in sight ranges from a few inches to two feet and immense blocks are obtainable.  A single large derrick has been employed.


“The limestone of the district comprise two principal varieties:  dolomite, and ordinary limestone.  Outside of the granite field they form a considerable belt along the northern, eastern and southern margins of the sheet.

“Dolomite is the most important of the calcareous quarry-rocks and most of the limerocks are of this nature.  Its stone is buff, compact, fine-grained, massively bedded.  Often some silicious matter is present either in the form of fine quartz sand or chert.

“On the Mine la Motte estate three analyses of the rock gave the following results.

Analyses of Dolomite Table

Analyses of Dolomite.

“One of the samples (I) was from Rock creek one mile east of the road crossing, north of the village.  The second (II) is from the old lime kiln half a mile farther up the creek.  The third (III) is from the eastern part of the estate.

“Exposures of heavily bedded dolomite are of frequent occurrence.  Outside of the granite area these outcroppings are usually so situated as to enable quarrying to be done without much expense on account of stripping.  Quarrying in the magnesian limestones has been carried on in the area more or less extensively for a long time, but never has the work gone beyond satisfying local demands.  It is not due, however, to the fact that there is not a great abundance of first-class building material, but rather to the fact that other districts within shipping distance are alos (sic) well supplied.  The limestones are well adapted to foundation walls, sills, steps, bridge piers and all of the common uses.

Ordinary Limestone. - While there are some beds of limestone which contain very little magnesia they are comparatively few in number and extent.  As quarry rocks they are unimportant within the district.

Quarries in Limestone.

Downs Quarry. - This quarry is about two miles northwest of Fredericktown (Tp. 33 N., R. VI E., Sec. 11, NE. ¼ of NW. qr).  It is circular in shape.  The stripping has a maximum thickness of four feet but usually only from three to fifteen inches.  This covering is of residual clays and there is a decomposed limestone ledge present.  The strata here dip with the floor of porphyry about 15 degrees, south of 20 degrees east.  The actual juncture is not distinctly shown, but crystalline rocks are exposed only a few feet up the hillside from the quarry.  The same dip of strata is noticed for nearly half a mile to the southeast and is one of the best illustrations of the slant of the sedimentaries agreeing in places with the angle of the slope of the granite floor.  The top ledge of limestone is from three to twelve inches in thickness.  It thins out up the slope.  It is of a light grayish color, is finely textured and of dull luster.  It is taken out in slabs containing eighteen square feet and is well adapted for curb stones, water tables and well rocks.  Under the first layer comes a heavy ledge of very similar character but containing fewer grayish to buff horizontal seams.  It is a good building stone but has not been extensively used.  Much of the stone for the new college building at Fredericktown was taken from this quarry.

Berryman Quarry lies just east of Fredericktown on the south side of Saline creek.  It was opened a number of years ago and the stone was used for burning into lime.  The present face is about twenty feet long and fifteen feet high with no stripping.  The ledges are light gray, hard, with a subcrystalline texture and from three to nine inches thick.  It is easily quarried and is a good stone for constructional purposes.  Much of the stone obtained from this quarry has been utilized for foundations.

“About one mile south of Fredericktown, on the south side of the river, there is a bluff of limestone nearly forty feet high at the top of which a quarry is being developed.  The strata are overlain by three to four feet of residuary clays.  The beds quarried are from three to eighteen inches in thickness; most of them above five inches.  They are buff to gray in color, usually semicrystalline, and easily quarried.  Large blocks are obtainable which are handled by means of a derrick.

“In the vicinity of Mine la Motte a considerable amount of quarrying has been done in the limestone strata.  The principal use has been as a flux in the furnace.  Besides the ordinary demand for building stone has been satisfied.  Some of the limestones have a composition well suited for a good flux.  Along Rock creek nearly one mile east of the crossing of the north and south county road from Mine la Motte, limestone is now being taken out and hauled to furnaces.

“Other quarrying has been done in the dolomite formation especially to the east and south of Fredericktown and also near Libertyville.  At both localities splendid ledges for building stone have been developed.


“The sandstones as a rule are yellowish or buff in color, changing into brown.  They are rather friable on the whole, but in places are indurated sufficiently to form a moderately good quarry rock.  

“Although occupying a large area in the Mine la Motte sheet neither the sandstone nor the conglomerate at the base have receive (sic) much attention in the quarry industry.  There are objectionable features to many of the beds; much of it is poor in color, others have a texture unsuited to successfully dressing, and still others are of shaly character.  Unless a sandstone is of a high grade, limestone has preference in localities where both are present.  There are really no important sandstone quarries in the district, although a large amount of sandstone has been used locally for foundations and chimney work.  The more calcareous sandstones are to be preferred.  Around Mine la Motte the heavy ledges of this kind have been quarried extensively and used as building stone.

“About two and one-half miles almost due south of Doe Run there are two or three steep hills of sandstone.  These are bare and disclose a good grade of sandstone which is hard enough for structural purposes.  It may be obtained with almost no difficulty.  It is however, quarried, pulverized and hauled to the furnace at Doe Run and thrown in with the lead just before it is drawn off, so as to ‘cinder’ the product.  The sandstone has been found to contain 97 per cent of silica, being unusually pure.  It could doubtless be used in the manufacture of glass.

Character and Growth of the Quarry Industry.

“The opening of the inexhaustible beds of rock suitable for building purposes forms one of the most important industries in the area of the Mine la Motte sheet; and within this district the quarry industry is destined to become greatly expanded.  With the exception of a few localities, furnishing supplies of sandstone and limestone for local consumption, the quarry industry was of small importance until about the year 1880.  At that time work began on a somewhat extensive scale, and now there are almost innumerable quarries of various sizes putting out all kinds and various grades of building material.  The principal field of operation is in the vicinity of Knob Lick and Syenite, and in a district extending five to six miles in a southwesterly direction from these places.  There are besides a great many isolated quarries, some of which are of considerable extent.  In the neighborhood of the localities mentioned there were only a few small openings made in the granites prior to the date named and a little dimension work begun.  About that time two large quarries were opened at Syenite; and soon afterwards extensive quarrying commenced at Skrainka.

“The importance and growth of the industry is shown by the output.  The total product shipped from Knob Lick alone for the last fifteen years amounts to one thousand cars annually.  This includes dimension stone, paving blocks, group and spalls.  There are now three principal quarries furnishing dimension stone.  Two of these are equipped with steam power and polishing apparatus.  Four or five of the works have switches or tramways extending from the quarry to the Belmont branch of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern railroad.  Other short switches have been built from time to time.

“Up to about 1890 there was an immense production of paving blocks, but within the last five years the annual output has decreased probably one-half.  This decline was due to a number of circumstances.  In the first place there was a great influx of quarrymen and as a result the number of blocks was greatly increased and in consequence the price was gradually lowered.  For several years the blocks brought eighty dollars per thousand.  A reduction was made to sixty-five dollars, then another to fifty, and finally during the recent general commercial depression the cash value as only thirty-five dollars.  The use of vitrified bricks and other materials for street-paving has tended to lessen somewhat the demand for the blocks.  The late stagnation in business circles has also very materially effected the demand.  However, the loss in the amount of blocks has to a great extent been compensated by the great increase in the amount of spalls utilized; for during the past five years a wide and constantly increasing use of this material in granitoid side-walks has more than made up for the deficiency in other directions.  The first crusher was put in at Knob Lick four years ago (circa 1892), but it was subsequently transferred to St. Louis, and the rough grout shipped to that point.  Spalls are worth about fifty cents a ton and the value is likely to increase as the supply of loose rock at the old quarries becomes exhausted; while the demand for the crushed rock is rapidly increasing.

“Of course it is impossible at this time to secure anything like an accurate statement of the output of all the individual quarries.  In the consideration of the various openings the production of many were given.

“The total output from Knob Lick for the past fifteen years has been probably 15,000 cars.  For this period the average annual output of dimension rock has been about 150 cars.

“The value of the block shipment approaches $500,000.00; that of the spalls and grout perhaps $25,000.00.  The price of dimension stone is so variable that it is hard to estimate the average price of a car load.  One monument alone may bring $1,000.00 or more.

“The output of blocks from Skrainka and other quarries in the vicinity and westward and also along the railroad between Knob Lick and Fredericktown is estimated at 300,000, with a value of not less than $20,000.00.  The shipments from Fredericktown have never been very great.  Probably more than 100,000 blocks have been sent out; the valuation is in the neighborhood of $6,000.00.


“Although the accessible limestones are almost entirely dolomitic they are some of such composition that a fair grade of quick lime may be produced.  It does not ordinarily burn well into what would be called a strong lime, but one suitable for all kinds of mason work and for plaster.  A small kiln is frequently burned in the various sections but the principal locality is along Rock creek about one mile northeast of Mine la Motte.  Up to the present time (circa 1896) the industry has not developed farther than to partially supply local demands.”

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