Door Counties First Export
In Wisconsin, United States
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Quarrying for Stone:
Until the 1850s nearly all building stone came from cleared farmland or from easily accessible surface deposits. By the 1870s and 1880s with the ease of transportation by water, quarrying became a major industry in Door County. Stone quarried in Door County was used in the manufacture of lime or cement, and for use as riprap. Relatively minor amounts were used for building construction because of the stones poor quality.
Originally, removal of the limestone rock relied on manpower with workmen using pry bars to remove slabs of rock weighing in excess of 300 pounds. Horse-drawn carts were then used to haul the rock to the waterside for shipboard delivery around the Great Lakes. In the 1880s, the use of black powder made rock removal easier and more profitable. Eventually dynamite and steam-powered machinery made it possible to extract slabs weighing between 2 and 5 tons. These slabs were then used in the construction of harbors, breakwaters, and piers, making them immune to fire and more resistant to erosion and decay (as compared to wood). Almost every harbor on Lake Michigan today was built in part with Door County stone.
The Economics of Stone:
Earthcache Placement Permit #09-16-08 has been submitted to
As the demand for stone grew around the shores of the Great Lakes, many small quarry operations opened in Door County. Quarries in Baileys Harbor, Door Bluff, Garrett Bay, Eagle Bluff, Marshall’s Point, Mud Bay, and on Washington Island achieved some short-lived success. The opening of the Sturgeon Bay ship canal in 1882 made transportation by water cheaper and helped large-scale commercial quarries thrive and expand. This would eventually drive some of the smaller quarries to go out of business. In 1903 only the Green Quarry, the Laurie Quarry, the Leathem and Smith Quarry, and the Sturgeon Bay Stone Company remained. As World War I broke out and building projects around the Great Lakes halted, so did the futures of many of these quarries. In 1944, the last of the big quarries closed its doors permanently, ending Door Counties legacy of stone. Although there are a number of smaller active quarries around the county today, their impact on the economy is not like that of earlier times.
Four hundred million years ago central North America was located near the equator. A shallow saltwater sea covered much of Wisconsin at that time. Corals, brachiopods, crinoids and other types of early marine life lived, thrived, and died here. Over the ages, their skeletal remains (calcium carbonate) built up, layer upon layer. With time, temperature and pressure, these layers were compressed and changed into limestone. With climate stabilization and global warming, the waters receded, exposing the rock layers that we see today.
There are three levels to this quarry with the uppermost being the largest. The upper levels can be viewed from a distance near the waterfront. Visitors to this site are only allowed on the first level. Please do not climb on the cliffs and stay within park boundaries as posted.
Email your answers to the questions, to me, using the link in my profile only. If your answers are not recieved by me, your log will be deleted. Photos are accepted and appreciated as long as the answers are not pictured. You do not have to wait for confirmation from me before logging this cache as completed. Most of all……learn……and enjoy the view.
1. What were two (2) reasons for the demand of crushed limestone in the early 1900's?
2. What were the names of the two (2) stone barges that sank just off shore?
3. What is the overall distance between the 'private property - end of park' signs located in front of each end of the cliff face? Use your gpsr for a reasonable measurement (educational task).
Photos are accepted and appreciated as long as they do not show the information plaque.
Door County Parks Director George Pinney.
Last Updated: on 8/29/2015 6:38:14 PM Pacific Daylight Time (1:38 AM GMT)
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum