During the mid-1800s this serene place, known as the old ’Public Quarry’, was once a cacophony of sounds and a bustle of activity. Quarrying and stone cutting operations work done here was the source of the Cedar Valley Limestone foundation stone blocks that was used to construct many of the great University of Iowa buildings, including Schaeffer Hall, Seashore Hall, Old Brick Church, and Iowa’s first ‘permanent’ state capitol building, the Old Capitol. The Cedar Valley stones are quite variable in appearance ranging from an abundance of ‘birds eyes’ of fossil corals to barren laminates.
This laminated limestone, though having the elegance and beauty of marble when polished, proved to be an inferior building material compared to the stone found in the State Quarry. The State Quarry was located on the banks of the Iowa River ten miles to the north near North Liberty. Failures of walls, using ‘Public Quarry’ stone, during construction of the Old Capitol caused schedule delays and the need to seek an alternate source of dimensional stone for the new ‘Old Capitol’ building. State Quarry Limestone was used to replace the failed walls and for most of the rest of the project.
The shift in the sourcing of materials did not yet hail the end of work at the ‘Public Quarry’. Polished slabs of the beautiful ‘birds-eyed’ limestone, which became known as ‘Iowa Marble’, quickly became popular for use in decorative stone work such as fireplace mantels and shelf curios. Processing of this ‘Iowa Marble’ continued here until late in the 19th century.
Your Quarry in the Quarry is to find a micro-sized container without losing your ‘Iowa Marbles’.
The old ‘Public Quarry’ is easily accessible by bicycle or foot from the west side of the Iowa River via the Hancher Pedestrian Bridge, or the on the east side of the river, by the multi-use path that traverses the river via pedestrian bridge’s east end and crosses the southern end of the quarry area.
Be sure to replace the container properly for the benefit of the next cacher in the query.
As always, have fun!
Old Capitol Quarry image provided courtesy of the University of Iowa Digital Library’s “Calvin Photographic Collection". http://www.uiowa.edu/~calvin/calvin.htm
A view of the Old Capitol Quarry from the late 1890s or early 1900s