Granite and Rhyolite (Porphyry).
“The igneous rocks of Missouri are all of pre-Cambrian age and with one exception are confined to nine counties in the southeastern part of the State. These counties are Madison, Iron, St. Francois, Ste. Genevieve, Wayne, Carter, Shannon, Reynolds and Washington. The distribution of the pre-Cambrian rocks is shown on the accompanying geological map of the district. The map shows one large irregular area in Madison, St. Francois, Iron and Washington counties, and numerous small irregular areas east, south and west of this main area. In Wayne and Iron counties, the igneous rocks occur in numerous small, isolated, roundish knobs. In the east central part of Shannon county they also occur in isolated, roundish hills, the largest of which are from one to three miles across. In Carter county the outcrops consist of three or four small knobs covering very limited areas. In the west central part of Ste. Genevieve county there are three isolated areas. To the region embracing a greater portion of the igneous rocks of this district, Winslow has given the name St. Francois Mountains.
“These granitic rocks constitute, chiefly, the more elevated portions of the land. Some of the hills are 1,800 feet above sea level and from 500 to 800 feet above the adjacent valleys. There are no continuous ridges or mountain ranges, the hills and knobs being scattered promiscuously over the district. There are very few escarpments or rugged cliffs. The hills generally rise rather rapidly, but with well rounded outlines. Many of the knobs are separated by rather narrow valleys. The hills which are composed chiefly of rhyolite, usually stand out in much bolder relief than the granite knobs. The differential weathering of the igneous and sedimentary rocks is beautifully shown in this district.
“As determined by Haworth, these rocks are undoubtedly of igneous origin and of pre-Cambrian age. They were formed through the solidification of molten material long before the limestones and sandstones were laid down. Before the sedimentary rocks were formed, they constituted an important part of an extensive mountain range, and are probably the stumps of what were formerly lofty peaks. During Cambrian time they were probably in part submerged, as shown by the sandstone and limestone which flank many of the knobs. During most of the period which has elapsed since Cambrian time, they have been a part of the continent, and as such have been exposed almost continuously to weathering. Erosion has removed a large part of the surrounding sedimentary rocks, uncovering more and more of the granite and rhyolite which are being broken down and removed, although much more slowly than the sedimentary rocks.
“The igneous rocks of this district consist mainly of granite an rhyolite, which have been cut by numerous diabase dikes. The major portion of the granite, as shown on the map (see plate XII.), is an area of about 110 to 120 square miles, west and southwest of Knob Lick. the remaining granite occurs in very much smaller areas, seldom exceeding two miles in cross section. These are scattered, promiscuously, through the district, but occur in greatest numbers within a radius of ten miles of Fredericktown, in Madison county.
“A great part of the pre-Cambrian rocks of this district are rhyolite, which predominates, especially in the western half of the district. The rhyolite surrounds the main body of granite almost continuously on the northwest, west and south. The numerous small areas of igneous rocks in the western and southwestern parts of the district are chiefly rhyolite.
“Both the granite and rhyolite are cut by numerous diabase dikes, especially in the eastern and southeastern parts of the district. These dikes vary from one inch up to more than six feet in width.
“The texture and composition of the granite and rhyolite have been discussed in detail by Haworth in Vol. VIII, of the reports of this Bureau. Much of the granite has a porphyritic texture, although there is considerable variation in the textures of the granites from the different areas. The granite at a number of the quarries has a medium grained matrix in which are embedded large crystals of feldspar. The granite in the quarry at Cornwall is the coarsest grained of any that is being quarried. It is considerably coarser grained than that from either the Knob Lick or Graniteville areas. The Knob Lick granite is medium grained, but varies somewhat in different parts of the area. However, as a rule, it is finer grained than the granite from the other quarries. The Graniteville granite is somewhat coarser than that quarried in the Knob Lick area.
“The gradation of rhyolite into granite and vice versa can often be traced horizontally and vertically. The rhyolite everywhere has a very finely crystalline ground-mass, in which are embedded phenocrysts of quartz or feldspar, varying in size from those that are microscopic to those one-half an inch in diameter.
“In color the granite varies from light gray through different shades of reddish pink to brownish red. The prevailing color is some shade of dark red and wine color to dark brown and black. Where the phenocrysts are large the color is somewhat mottled, giving the stone a general grayish brown tint.
“The dikes are fine grained, greenish black or black rocks, called diabase, which have been injected into the granite and porphyry. This rock often has a finely porphyritic texture, although much of it is apparently homogenous throughout. The dikes are from one inch to six feet in width and are generally broken into small blocks by many vertical and horizontal joints.
“The granite is composed chiefly of orthoclase, quartz and biotite with minor quantities of hornblende. Among the accessory minerals are apatite, which is occasionally present as an original constituent; zircon, which occurs n very small grains; and magnetite and hematite, which occur in small quantities in all the granites. Chlorite occurs along the weathered surfaces and jointing planes. A number of other minerals have been found associated with the dike rocks at the ‘silver mines.’ Among these are sericite, zinnwaldite, topaz, fluorite and wolframite.”
“The first extensive granite quarry in Missouri was opened in 1869, at Graniteville, by Phillip Schneider of the Schneider Granite Co. This quarry is now known as the west opening of the syenite Granite Co. The land on which this quarry is located was first leased by Mr. Schneider from the Iron Mountain Ore Co. At the expiration of his lease, Mr. Schneider purchased the land upon which the present quarry of the Schneider Granite Co. is located. In 1874, Milne and Gordon opened the first quarry at Syenite, which quarry they have operated up to the present time (circa 1904). The syenite Granite Co., one of the largest granite companies in Missouri, opened a quarry at Syenite, in 1880. They operated it about three years, after which they moved to Graniteville, leasing the land first developed by Mr. Schneider. In 1889, Sheahan Bros. opened a quarry at Graniteville. The Schneider Granite Co., the Syenite Granite Co., Milne and Gordon and Sheahan Bros. are now the principal producers of dimensional and monumental granite in this State.
“The first quarries produced mainly dimensional and monumental stone, but after the introduction of granite blocks for paving in St. Louis, the paving block industry attained considerable proportions. At that time paving blocks sold for $80 to $90 per thousand, and a block maker, after paying a driller, could easily earn from $5.00 to $7.00 per day. As a result, many small quarries, locally known as ‘motions,’ were opened, especially in the vicinity of Syenite. At Graniteville, the paving block industry has been confined mostly to the large quarries, at which the material not suitable for monuments or buildings is manufactured into blocks. Most of the paving block manufacturers leased the land upon which they worked, paying a royalty, based upon the number of blocks made.
“The motions mentioned above consist of small, irregular, shallow openings from which the granite can be quarried without machinery. Sometimes large boulders lying on the surface are broken into blocks. Most of the boulders and the outcrops from which the stone could be quarried easily at Syenite have been worked until now there are very few favorable and inexpensive places at which to open ‘motions.’ The price of blocks has declined about 50 per cen. and consequently nearly all of the motions have been abandoned. The manufacture of blocks is now confined chiefly to the large quarries in which the poor stone is used for this purpose. At present the only motions that are being worked are at Bee Knob, locally known as Klondike Hill, about four and one-half miles west of Knob Lick. There are a great many ‘motions’ on this hill, most of which have been abandoned. When the granite quarrying industry was in its prime, a number of quarries were opened at Skrainke postoffice and Buck Mountain, about seven miles south of Knob Lick, but these have not been operated for a number of years.
“The fall in price of paving blocks may be attributed to a number of causes. First, fewer granite blocks are being used in St. Louis. Second, the introduction of Georgia granite, which, on account of its schistose structure, is less expensive to work into blocks.
“During the past few years there has been a large increase in the use of crushed granite for paving and concrete and as a result this is the chief product of a number of quarries. Although a macadam pavement will not wear, without repair, as long as one built out of granite blocks, yet with a correct system of maintenance, it will last indefinitely. One of the chief advantages of a macadam pavement is its quietness, compared with granite blocks.
“Spalls and broken surface boulders are shipped quite extensively from quarries not having crushing plants to crushing plants in St. Louis. For this purpose the fresh granite is preferable to that which is decomposed.
“Missouri red granite has a rich, subdued, warm red color, on account of which it has been constantly in demand as an ornamental monumental stone. At the present time (circa 1904) the demand for monumental stock is particularly strong. The universal demand for Missouri red granite is shown by the orders for car load lots which are received from all sections of the country, including California, Canada, Illinois, Massachusetts and even Vermont.
“The rhyolite is not a popular building or ornamental stone. In the quarries which have been opened it is so badly broken with joints that pieces sufficiently large for building or monumental stock can only be obtained with difficulty. The rhyolite has been used to some extent for paving blocks, but its fine texture causes the surface to wear smooth and slippery, on account of which it is no longer used. It takes a very good polish and many of the tints are especially beautiful. However, the small size of the blocks makes it impracticable to develop the stone for this purpose.”
(Please Note: The section of this book that lists and describes the individual granite quarries will not be included here. Please see the Missouri Quarry Section of this web site for the information on each specific quarry, which is listed according to location.)
“The largest and most important granite quarries in the State are located at Graniteville five miles northwest of Ironton, the county seat of Iron County. As may be seen by consulting the map of the district, the granite areas in this vicinity are comparatively small, consisting of two outcrops, a half a mile apart. The color, texture and composition of the stone at the two places indicate that they belong to the same granitic mass.
“The north outcrop consists of an elongated hill or ridge one and three-fourths miles long and one-fourth to three-eights of a mile wide. This granite is flanked on all sides, except the northeast, with limestone of Cambrian age. On the northeast side it grades into porphyry. The hill rises rather gradually from 100 to 130 feet above the surrounding country. The quarries on this hill produce the greater part of the monumental and dimensional granite quarried in the State.
“The south outcrop is locally known as the ‘wild cat.’ It is about a half a mile long by a fourth of a mile broad. The granite is very similar to that at Graniteville. A quarry was opened on this hill several years ago, but very little stone has been taken out.
“The granite of this locality has a very uniform texture and color. The essential constituents are orthoclase, quartz and biotite. The individuals of feldspar and quartz are intricately interlocked and seldom have crystal faces. The grains are of medium size. Occasional larg (sic) feldspar crystals, sometimes two inches long, occur imbedded in the granitic ground-mass, giving the granite a porphyritic texture. Occasionally, the feldspar, quartz and biotite individuals are seggregated (sic), separately, in large masses, rendering the stone unfit for structural work. The color of the granite, which is a deep red, is quite uniform throughout the different quarries. It is due to the pink feldspar and red iron oxide constituents. Most of the quartz is translucent. The biotite and hornblende have very little effect upon the color of the stone.
“The preponderance of the two relatively hard minerals, feldspar and quartz, render the granite susceptible to a very high polish.
“Probably one of the most striking illustrations of the way in which granite weathers occurs at Graniteville, where huge residual boulders are scattered over the surface. Just west of Graniteville these are especially picturesque and instructive, and on account of their peculiar shape are known as the ‘elephant rocks.’ (See Frontispiece.) These enormous boulders, which are from ten to twenty-five feet in diameter, have a roughly spherical or oval shape, due to weathering along the edges and corners of the blocks produced by the jointing planes. At this place the boulders occur in quite well defined rows, conforming very nearly in direction to the major system of joints. The feldspar decompose more readily than the quartz, leaving the grains of the latter protruding at the surface. The granite is frequently covered to a depth of from one to three feet with quartz grains which were loosened when the feldspar was decomposed. Upon the weathered surface and along joints and beds, kaolin, formed by the decomposition of the feldspar, frequently occurs, partially filling the space originally occupied by the feldspar.
“Examples of all stages of weathering, from that in which the surface joints are just being opened through decomposition, to that in which the blocks between the joints are entirely rounded, may be seen in this area. The sap rarely extends beyond a few inches into the stone.
“The quarries are being operated at this place by the Schneider Granite Company, the Syenite Granite Company and Sheahan Bros.”*
(Please Note: The section of this book that lists and describes the individual granite quarries located at or near Graniteville will not be included in this section. Please see the Missouri Quarry Section of this web site for the information on each specific quarry, which is listed according to location.)
“The granite in this area has the deepest red color of any in the State. Both in texture and color, it is very uniform in all the quarries and throughout the area. Granite blocks for any purpose and of any desired dimensions can be obtained. The size of the blocks is limited only by the carrying capacity of the derricks. For monuments this granite is very popular and is shipped to practically every State in the Union, including those in New England where an abundance of excellent granite is quarried. Monuments, in which the die is Missouri red granite, and the cap and base a light gray eastern granite, are frequently constructed. This makes a very attractive combination.
“The granite takes an excellent rock faced finish and when alternated with polished courses in the walls of buildings it has a striking appearance. It takes an excellent and lasting polish.
“Up to 1889, these quarries did a very large business in cut stone work, but in that year the employees went out on a strike, since which time a comparatively small amount of the stone has been cut or polished.
“The first granite paving blocks used in St. Louis were furnised (sic) by Phillip Schneider, about 1877, and were laid at the end of the Third street bridge. Since that time, these quarries have produced millions of paving blocks, which have been used chiefly in St. Louis. The partially decomposed boulders, lying upon the surface, were the first to be used. These were comparatively soft and proved very unsatisfactory. At present (circa 1904), none but the fresh, unaltered granite is used. Comparatively few blocks are now being made. Flagging and curbing have been produced to a considerable extent and used in St. Louis. For these purposes it is very durable, being practically indestructible.
“Although only three quarries are operated in this area, there are, in the immediate vicinity of Graniteville, excellent locations for new quarries. Just south of the Schneider quarry, there is a large outcrop of excellent granite, in which the stone apparently occurs in large rectangular blocks. At the so-called ‘Buzzard’s roost,’ between the Syenite and Schneider quarries (See Plate VIII.), there is a knob containing an almost unlimited quantity of excellent granite. West of Graniteville, in the vicinity of ‘Elephant Rock,’ there are excellent opportunities for quarrying.
“The area covered by the large surface boulders has been wisely protected from the quarrymen, and these most excellent illustrations of the sub-aereal decomposition of granite have not been molested.
“The following list contains the names and locations of some of the important buildings, which have been, wholly or in part, built out of granite from this area. The dimensions of some of the large pieces of granite quarried are also given, affording one an idea of the size of the blocks that may be quarried.
“Traction Building, Cincinnati, Ohio, Fifth and Walnut.
Lindell Building, St. Louis, Fourteenth and Washington.
Granite Building, St. Louis, Fourth and Market.
Equitable Building, St. Louis, Sixth and Locust.
Eads Bridge, St. Louis, piers.
Merchant’s Bridge, St. Louis, piers.
Benton Monument, St. Louis.
Star King Monument, San Francisco.
Twelve Polished Columns 16 ft. long, 2 ft. 2 in. diameter, Flood Building, San Francisco.
New Washington University Buildings, St. Louis.
St. Charles Hotel, New Orleans.
John F. Davis, residence, St. Louis, Westmoreland Place.
Custom House, Memphis, Tenn.
State House, Springfield, Ill.
Commercial Building, St. Louis, Mo.
Rosenhelm Building, St. Louis, Mo.
Liggett & Meyer’s Building, St. Louis, Mo.
Fagin Building, St. Louis, Mo.
Merchants’ Bridge and Terminal Railway, St. Louis, Mo.
Security Building, St. Louis, Mo.
Inlet Tower, St. Louis Water Works, St. Louis, Mo.
Anheuser-Busch Brewery Buildings, St. Louis, Mo.
Odd Fellows Hall, St. Louis, Mo.
Mercantile Library Building, St. Louis, Mo.
Vandergriff Building, Pittsburg, Pa.
F. E. Knowles & Co., San Francisco, Cal.
Paxton Building, Omaha, Neb.
Indianapolis Union Depot, Indianapolis, Ind.
Society of Savings Building, Cleveland, Ohio.
Blatz & Krebs, Louisville, Ky.
U. S. Custom House and Post Office, St. Louis, Mo.
New City Hall, St. Louis, Mo.
U. S. Custom House and Post Office, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Marshall-Field Building, Chicago, Ill.
The Rookery, Chicago, Ill.
The Rialto, Chicago, Ill.
Studebaker Building, Chicago, Ill.
Monadnock Building, Chicago, Ill.
Kearsarge Building, Chicago, Ill.
Whitney National Bank, New Orleans, La.
Art Museum, Cincinnati, Ohio.
First National Bank, Cincinnati, Ohio.
New City Hall Extension, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Oriental Hotel, Dallas, Texas.
Central Savings Bank, Baltimore, Md.
Keith & Perry Building, Kansas City, Mo.
Savery Hotel, Des Moines, Iowa.
Sloan Monument, Woodlawn Cemetery, St. Louis.
Polished Monument, 42’ x 4’2”. Weight, 42 tons.
Twenty-six Lintels in Marshall-Field Building, 8 tons each.
Two Polished Columns in Studebaker Building, 3’8” x 12’6”. 14 tons each.
One carved Lintel in Odd Fellows Building, 20 tons.
Two Base Stones in arch at Pittsfield, Mass., 17 tons each.
One Base Stone in Liggett and Meyer’s Building, St. Louis, of 30 tons.
“The most extensive quarrying operations in the eastern part of the granite district are centered about Knob Lick. There is a greater area of granite here than at Graniteville, and also a greater number of quarries, although none are so large.
“The first quarry in this district was opened at Syenite, in 1874, by Milne and Gordon, and has been operated continuously since that time. In 1881, the Syenite Granite Co. opened a quarry on the south bank of the St. Francois river north of Syenite, which was operated extensively until the company opened a quarry at Graniteville, when it was abandoned. After the Milne and Gordon quarry was opened, many smaller ones were opened on the neighboring hillsides. There are great numbers of these west and northwest of Knob Lick, but from none of them has any considerable amount of stone been quarried.
“The greatest activity was twelve to eighteen years ago, when the manufacture of paving blocks was at its height. It was during this period that the small quarries, referred to above, were opened. Wherever there was a favorable opportunity, openings were made and paving blocks manufactured. Hundreds of block makers were at work and millions of blocks were produced. These small quarries, known as ‘motions,’ were often started by working a large boulder lying on the surface. They seldom extend deeper than the first ledge, which is from two to ten feet in thickness. As a rule, no attempt was made to open any of them on a large scale. When the stripping became excessive or the stone difficult to quarry, operations were transferred to another locality. Both granite and rhyolite were used for making paving blocks, the former more extensively, Practically all of these small quarries were worked on a royalty basis. A person opened a quarry wherever he chose, paying the owner of the land a royalty on every hundred blocks manufactured.
“At Skrainka postoffice, five and one-half miles south of Knob Lick, several quarries were opened in the rhyolite. Considerable quarrying has also been done west of Holladay and Buck Mountains, five miles southwest of Knob Lick. The output from these quarries was hauled by team to the railroad, a distance of from three to five miles.
“The chief product of the quarries in this area has been paving blocks. The lessened demand for this product in St. Louis has resulted in the abandonment of hundreds of small paving block quarries or ‘motions.’ The only ones now being worked are at Bee Knob about four miles west of Knob Lick.
“Considerable monumental and dimensional stock has been produced, chiefly by Milne and Gordon who are the only persons making a specialty of this product.
“As a result of the increasing demand for crushed granite, a number of well equipped crushing plants have been built. At present the output of crushed granite exceeds that of any other product.
“The spalls from the abandoned quarries and small partly decomposed boulders gathered from the surface are shipped to St. Louis to be crushed and used in macadam and concrete work.
“The color and texture of the granite vary considerably, being less uniform than in the Graniteville area. This does not apply to individual quarries, from most of which stone of uniform color can be obtained. The essential constituents of the granite are feldspar, quartz, biotite and an occasional crystal of hornblende. In general, the granite is somewhat finer grained than that at Graniteville.
“The granite varies in color from a gray, through a grayish red, to red. Nowhere is the color of the fresh stone as deep a red as that at Graniteville. It contains more biotite than the Graniteville granite and small black spots are more abundant. In the gray varieties, the biotite gives the stone a bluish color when viewed from a short distance. For this reason, it has come to be known locally as ‘blue granite.’ In the red varieties, the feldspar is not as deeply colored as it is in the granite from Graniteville. This accounts for the more subdued color of the Knob Lick granite.
“Dark spots, known locally as ‘knots,’ occur in many of the quarries, being especially abundant in the gray granite, making it unfit for either monumental or constructional work. These knots vary from a fraction of an inch to a foot or more in cross section and are usually finer grained than the granite. The chief constituent is biotite which makes the spots much darker than the matrix.
“Vertical or inclined veins of fine grained red granite, known as porphyry seams occur in a number of the quarries. They are either vertical or inclined.
“Vertical and inclined joints occur in all the quarries, usually in such a manner as to permit the quarrying of blocks of dimensions suitable for buildings. The granite contains dries, which injure considerable stone, which might otherwise be suitable for dimensional or monumental stock. These seams frequently occur from one to three inches apart and often run in definite zones, either vertically or slightly inclined.
“The chief products of the quarries in this area are monumental and dimensional stock, paving blocks, curbing, crushed granite and spalls. The following quarries were examined: The Asplof quarry, the Hill-O’Mera Construction Co.’s quarry, the Milne and Gordon quarry, the Heman Construction Co.’s quarry, the Missouri Granite Construction Co.’s quarry, the Western Granite Co.’s quarry, the Zeran Gregory Granite Co.’s quarry, and the Alexander and Burks’ quarry. The small quarries known as ‘motions,’ at Bee Knob, should probably be included in this area, although described on another page under a separate heading.”*
(Please Note: The section of this book that lists and describes the individual granite quarries located at or near Knob Lick will not be included in this section. Please see the Missouri Quarry Section of this web site for the information on each specific quarry, which is listed according to location.)
“When the paving block industry was at its height in this district, two quarries were opened in the rhyolite north of Piedmont. Neither of these quarries has been worked during the last ten years. They were formerly operated by Eyerman and Schmaltz of St. Louis, and Sheahan Bros. They illustrate very well the character of the rhyolite (porphyry) of this district.
“The rhyolite at these two quarries is very similar, both in texture and color. It consists of a fine grained, black ground-mass through which are disseminated numerous gray and white crystals of feldspar, giving the stone a mottled appearance. These porphyritic crystals vary in size from minute white dots to those which are a half an inch in diameter. The blending of the black ground-mass with the white feldspar crystals gives the stone a grayish black color.
“The joints are very abundant in both quarries and strike in many different directions. The following is the strike of a number of the more prominent: N. 70° E., N. 33° E., N. 30° E., N. 40° W., N. and S. and N. 80° E. Many of these joints are vertical, while others are inclined at different angles. Horizontal joints having a slight dip to the south occur from three to ten feet apart.
“The frequency with which these joints occur, together with the diversity in their strike and dip, break the stone into comparatively small blocks. It is practically impossible to obtain blocks sufficiently large for either dimensional or monumental stock. The jointing greatly facilitates the quarrying of small blocks and is therefore of assistance in the manufacture of paving blocks or crushed stone. The stone for about a half an inch on either side of many of the joints is weathered to a light gray or pink.
“This stone has been used chiefly for the manufacture of paving blocks. It wears smoother and is claimed to be more slippery than the granite, and for these reasons is said to be less desirable. The rhyolite is thought to be well adapted to the manufacture of crushed stone used in macadam pavements with granitoid walks.”
(Please Note: The section of this book that lists and describes the individual granite and rhyolite quarries located in the Piedmont area will not be included in this section. Please see the Missouri Quarry Section of this web site for the information on each specific quarry, which is listed according to location.)
The Current River Granite Co.’s Quarry.
“This company, consisting of Alex. Carter and James McGee, opened a quarry in 1894 in the S.W. ¼ of the S.E. ¼ and the S.E. ¼ of the S.W. ¼ of sec. 29, T. 27, R. 1 E., on the east side of Current river. The quarry has not been operated for a number of years.
“It is situated on the west side of a roundish granite knob which rises about 120 feet above the level of the river. The granite is flanked on all sides by limestone which rises on the east about 150 feet above the granite. The face occupies almost the entire length of the hill and has a maximum height of thirty feet.
“The granite is fine grained and consists chiefly of feldspar, quartz and biotite. The color is several shades of red, the darkest being near the base.
“The joints are numerous and strike in many directions. The more important strike N. 40° W., N. 65° W. and N. 50° E.
“Crushed granite and paving blocks were the principal products of this quarry, and were shipped chiefly to Kansas City and St. Joseph, Missouri, and Memphis, Tennessee. The quarry is equipped with a crushing plant, consisting of a No. 4 Gates crusher, rotary screens and other accessories. It was formerly connected by spur with the Kansas City, Ft. Scott and Memphis branch of the St. Louis and San Francisco railroad.”
(Please Note: The section of this book that lists and describes the individual limestone quarries located in the Van Buren area will not be included in this section. Please see the Missouri Quarry Section of this web site for the information on each specific quarry, which is listed according to location.)