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August 20, 2019

Why Warrensburg, Missouri was called "Quarry City"

Biographical Sketch of Jacob Pickel, Johnson County, Missouri, Warrensburg Township >From "History of Johnson County, Missouri," by Ewing Cockrell, Historical Publishing Company, Topeka, Cleveland, 1918. ***************************
Jacob Pickel, the man who opened the first sandstone quarry in Johnson county, Missouri, who is now deceased, was one of Johnson county's best known citizens and one of Missouri's most prominent stone contractors. He was born in 1831 in Cottonheim, Prussia and at the age of 20 years emigrated from his native land and came to America, where he located in St. Louis, Missouri in 1851. Jacob Pickel had learned the trade of stone cutting in the old country and he followed his trade in America in addition to the work of contracting. In 1870, Jacob Pickel, associated with his two brothers, Peter and Anton, opened the first sandstone quarry in Johnson county about two miles north of Warrensburg. This quarry was placed in operation at an expenditure of much hard labor, time and expense. A switch was put in, so that the stone could be loaded at the quarry. The three brothers installed a steam channeling machine at the quarry, the machine alone costing six thousand dollars. The lifting was also done by machinery, run by steam. The first large contract was for more than two hundred fifty thousand dollars worth of stone to be used in the construction of the Chamber of Commerce building in St. Louis, Missouri, a building which covers an entire block at Third and Chestnut streets in that city. In the office of Ben Pickel in Warrensburg can be seen the drawing made of this building while in the process of construction. All the stone was cut at the quarry and shipped to St. Louis in perfect condition to be placed. Jacob Pickel furnished the stone for the construction of the Kansas City Court House, the Southern Hotel, the Barr building, and many other buildings in Kansas City, Missouri, besides the stone used in many of the buildings in the city of Warrensburg. As many as fifteen hundred cars of stone would be shipped annually, a trainload being daily shipped. The quarry, at the present time, comprises 280 acres of land, but the original purchase was about 40 acres. Jacob Pickel died in Warrensburg in 1903. He was an industrious, intelligent, capable citizen, one who did much for the business interests of Johnson county and he was universally held in the highest esteem and respect. Jacob Pickel was united in marriage with Catherine Smith and to them were born five children: Frank, of Warrensburg, Missouri; George, residing at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, a priest in the Jesuit College at that place; Lizzie, who is a nun, being with the sisters at Hebron, Nebraska; Ben, the manager of his father's stone quarry near Warrensburg; and Clara, who lives at home with her widowed mother and brother, Ben, in their quarry home. The youngest son of Jacob Pickel, Ben Pickel, has taken an active interest in his father's trade and he is engaged in the business of stone contracting. Ben Pickel attended the public schools of St. Louis Missouri. About 1896, he began working for himself, engaged in the business of contracting. His first large contract was for stone to be used in the construction of the two buildings erected for the Warrensburg State Normal School. The Administration building, which is nearing completion, at the time of this writing in 1917, required fifty thousand cubic feet of stone. The Pickel quarry can be operated to a depth of fifty feet and then the water begins to come into it. Forty men are employed at one time by Ben Pickel in the quarry, but when the sawing was done by hand, his father used to employ as many as three hundred men at one time. Ben Pickel furnished the stone for the erection of a government post office in Arkansas last year, 1916. There is no better stone to be found in this country than that furnished by the Pickel quarry. Ben Pickel is one of Johnson county's most highly respected and progressive, young citizens. ================================= USGENWEB NOTICE: In keeping with our policy of providing free information on the Internet, data may be used by non-commercial entities, as long as this message remains on all copied material. These electronic pages may NOT be reproduced in any format for profit or for presentation by other persons or organizations. Persons or organizations desiring to use this material for purposes other than stated above must obtain the written consent of the file contributor. This file was contributed for use in the USGenWeb Archives by: <> Penny Harrell <>

Warrensburg, Johnson County, Missouri
“This quarry was opened in 1867 and since that time has been worked almost continuously. It is located in Sec. 11 and 14, T. 46, R. 26 W., about two and one-half miles north of Warrensburg. The quarry has recently been leased (1904) to the Forrester Brothers Stone Co. of Kansas City.

The opening farthest west has a vertical face of about 45 feet, which extends about 1,000 feet north and south. Just east of this, the second opening has been worked to about the same depth and about 300 feet north and south. An enormous amount of stone has been removed from these openings, neither of which is being worked at the present time (1904)….

The stone is…essentially a fine grained, micaceous sandstone…two-thirds of the stone is what is commonly know as blue, while the remainder is white….Short discontinuous joints, which occur in the stone, are locally known as dries and slips.
The quarry is equipped with all modern machinery, including a power plant, Wordwell channelers and steam derricks. Near Warrensburg located upon a side track of the Missouri Pacific railroad leading to the quarry, the company has a mill in which the stone is sawed and dressed. The quarry is usually worked from March to December and employs twenty men, on an average.
Besides being used for all constructional purposes, the sandstone makes an excellent grindstone. The gray variety is coarse-grained and quick cutting. The stone is known as the “bottom blue” is finer grained and makes a better edging grindstone.”

Source: Quarrying Industry of Missouri, Vol. 2, 1904.
The Building Stones and The Stone Industry (of Johnson County, Missouri). The Warrensburg sandstone.
“The building stones of Johnson county having a commercial value are sandstones. These are widely developed and are known as the Warrensburg and the Carbon Hill sandstones. The former is, by far, the best-known sandstone in the State, and it has enjoyed a wide sale for years, being used in many large public and private buildings. The demand for it has, however, fallen off lately. This sandstone formation is a hundred feet or thicker. It varies from gray to brown, but, as used, is generally of a gray color, which is of uniform, handsome appearance. It is often calcareous, highly micaceous, and quite friable. It contains, frequently, large nodular masses of siliceous iron ore, and pockets of bitumen, and of argillaceous matter.
The Carbon Hill sandstone.
“The Carbon Hills sandstone occurs in the Lower Coal Measures. It is from five to eight feet in thickness and is well marked throughout the county. Its color is buff and brown. It is soft and easily worked. It has been quarried only for local uses, such as foundations, bridge abutments and so forth.
The quarry dimensions.
“Bruce Quarry Company: - This company works two sandstone quarries in close proximity to each other, just north of Warrensburg. Both quarries are sunken. One is thirty-five feet deep, two hundred and fifty feet long, and one hundred and thirty-five feet wide; the other is fifty feet deep, five hundred and twenty-five feet long, and one hundred and thirty-five feet wide. The stripping varies from six to eighteen feet in thickness, and consists of soil and decomposing sandstone.
Bruce Quarries, Just North of Warrensburg, MO
The stone used.
“The stone has frequent flaws, and consequently a great deal of waste material is handled. Its color varies from a light to a brownish gray. It is micaceous and calcareous, and is very soft when quarried, but hardens somewhat on exposure to the air. It varies in the quality of durability, in different parts of the quarry, and some of it appears to be inferior in this respect. Its refractory qualities are excellent. The product consists wholly of dimension stone and blocks of any desirable size are obtainable.
The Plant.
“The plant consists of one sixteen horsepower engine, and a twenty-five horsepower boiler, one steam pump, four channeling machines, wagons, sheds, office, blacksmith shop, three steam derricks, and one horsepower derrick.
“Pickel, Jacob: - Mr. Pickel has a quarry in the vicinity of the Bruce quarries, which has been worked for twenty-two years. It is connected with the Missouri Pacific railway by a switch, two and one half miles long.
Plant and Product.
“The quarry is about sixty feet deep and exposes from fifteen hundred to two thousand feet of a rock face. The character of the stone is similar to that described in the Bruce quarry. The product consists of both sawed and rough dimension stone. The plant includes three channeling machines, four steam engines (having a total of one hundred and fifty horsepower), one steam traveler, seven steam derricks, one steam pump, wagons, platform cars, sheds, blacksmith shop, and office. Since the quarry was opened about one hundred thousand cubic feet of dimension stone has been produced. One-fourth of this was sawed, the rest sold in the rough.”
“The quarry is equipped with all modern machinery, including a power plant. Wordwell channelers and steam derricks. Near Warrensburg, located upon a sidetrack of the Missouri Pacific railroad leading to the quarry, the company has a mill in which the stone is sawed and dressed. The quarry is usually worked from March to December and employs twenty men, on an average.
“Besides being used for all constructional purposes, the sandstone makes an excellent grindstone. The gray variety is coarser-grained and quick cutting. The stone is known as the ‘bottom blue,’ is finer-grained and makes a better edging grindstone.”

July 25, 1901
The Pickel Quarry, Just North of Warrensburg, MO
This quarry is located two miles directly north of Warrensburg, in the W. 1/2 of the S. W. 1/4 of sec. 12, T. 46, R. 26 W. It is owned by Jacob Pickel and operated by his two sons, under the firm name of Pickel Bros. It has been in continuous operation since it was opened in 1873. It is worked from April to November and employs about fifteen men. Mr. Pickel owns two 8o-acre tracts of land on each of which a quarry is located. The opening, which lies just west of the Bruce quarry, is not being operated. The stone is essentially the same as that obtained from the other opening to the east.
The active portion of the quarry consists of a rectangular opening 400 feet long by 200 feet wide by 55 feet deep. Stone is now being quarried from the east 200 feet of the south side of the quarry. The stone is a fine-grained, calcareous sandstone in which the quartz grains are cemented mainly with calcium carbonate. The stone has a light bluish-gray color in the upper part of the quarry, gradually taking on a deeper blue tint, as the depth increases, to within eight feet of the bottom, where the color changes to white. The transition from blue to white is sharp and distinct. The twenty feet directly above the white is the best blue stone.

Small nodules of iron sulfide occur in the quarry, chiefly in the blue stone. They are distributed promiscuously, although they are more abundant at some horizons than at others. In some parts of the quarry, they do not occur. A chalybeate spring occurs about fifteen or twenty feet from the base of the quarry, giving evidence of the quantity of iron in this formation, especially at that horizon.
Carbonaceous matter occurs in some parts of the quarry along the bedding planes. When the stone is split parallel to the bed, this appears as leaf-like impressions or sheets. When broken normal to the bedding, it is either not noticeable or has the appearance of black pencil marks. Stone, which contains an abundance of carbonaceous matter takes on a "reedy" structure, which renders it unsuitable for building purposes. In some places the stone is apparently cross-bedded. Occasional pieces of coal occur in the stone. As in the case of the Bruce quarry, one finds here large irregular masses of the sandstone which has been indurated so that it is now almost quartzite. These masses usually have a lighter color than the surrounding stone and are known by the quarrymen as "nigxxx heads." They are very detrimental and are usually removed by blasting. When lifted in the quarry the stone has a tendency to break along the stratification planes, which dip slightly to the southwest. The stone is channeled from east to west and lifted to the south, in order to minimize the waste which results from this tendency to split along the stratification planes. Near the surface, the stone is soft and only used for foundation purposes. Deeper in the quarry it becomes gradually harder. The difference in hardness is nicely shown by the rapidity with which the stone is cut by the gang-saws. That from the surface is cut at a rate of from eight to ten inches per hour, while that from the lower portion is cut at a rate of from five to six inches per hour. The white stone is thought to be the best in the quarry and is particularly well fitted for buildings, in which it is used for caps, sills, steps, cornices, coursing and foundations. The stone is also used for sidewalks, monument bases, curbing, chimneys, hitching posts, stepping blocks, retaining walls and columns. The quarry is equipped with modern machinery for the quarrying, cutting and dressing the stone. Wordwell channelers, gang-saws, steam hoists, and steam derricks are among the equipment. The company is in position to supply either rough or sawed stone of any dimensions. 
 LABORATORY EXAMINATION. Microscopic Examination. — A thin section of this stone, examined under the microscope, shows that it consists chiefly of small roundish to subangular grains of quartz with subordinate amounts of calcite, mica, chlorite, iron oxide, bitumen, feldspar, and clay. The chief cementing constituents are calcite and iron oxide. Physical Examination, — The following are the results of tests made on this stone to determine its strength and durability : Crushing strength 5910.6 lbs. per sq. in. Transverse strength 777.97 lbs. per sq. In. Specific Gravity 2.6485 Porosity 16.766 per cent. Ratio of absorption 7.644 per cent. Weight per cubic foot 137.7 lbs. Crushing strength of sample subjected to freezing test. 5097.5 lbs. per sq. liu 277 The result of the average of three determinations of the crushing strength on edge gave 4,860 pounds per square inch. The crushing strength of this stone is not high, although sufficient for most buildings of ordinary dimensions. It is evident from these tests that the strength of the stone is affected very little by alternate freezing and thawing, although the impression seems to have prevailed that the stone does not withstand effectually conditions of alternate freezing and thawing. The following is a partial list of the buildings in which the stone from this quarry has been used : Chamber of Commerce, Southern Hotel, Lindell Hotel, Beers Hotel, St Joseph Church,Second Baptist Church,Union Methodist Church, Lucas Av. Presbyterian Church, Third Pres. Church, Jesuit College, Gerhard B. Allen Residence, Major Pope Residence, Col." Hunter Residence, Y. M. C. A. Building, J. H. Green Building, Hayden Block Building, St. John's Church, Post office, Oglesby Building, ST. LOUIS, MO. Leighton Building, Thompson Building, Oliver Hart Building, Kennett Building, Wilgas Building, Murphy Building, Gay Building, Granite Building, Bradford & Martins, Drummond Tobacco Works, Peter L. Foy Residence, Ex. Governor Standard Residence, Capt. White Residence, OMAHA, NEB. Johnson Residence, Water Works, Martin Building, KANSAS CITY, MO. Warder Grand Opera House. LINCOLN, NEB. Lincoln Normal University. Union College. Grant Memorial Laboratory of Nebraska. Linden Hotel. Lyman Terrace. Insane Asylum, Clarinda. Iowa, Greenfield Court House. Iowa. Red Oak Court House, Iowa, Cherokee Court House. Iowa. Osceola Court House Iowa. David City Court House, Nebraska Blair Court House, Nebraska PUBLIC BUILDINGS. Grand Hotel. Council Bluffs, Iowa. Maryville Court House, Kansas. Olathe Court House, Kansas. Ottawa Court House. Kansas. Lincoln Court House, Kansas. Clinton Court House. Missouri Sedalia Court House. Missouri Natural Science Building. University of Illinois, Urbana. Ill And numerous others.

APA: Buckley, E. R. (2013). pp. 379-80. The Quarrying Industry of Missouri. London: Forgotten Books. (Original work published 1904)
MLA: Buckley, E. R. The Quarrying Industry of Missouri. 1904. Reprint. London: Forgotten Books, 2013. 379-80. Print.

Link " The Quarrying Industry of Missouri"

Garden of Eden Swimming Pool, Quarry, Warrensburg, MO

Garden of Eden Swimming Pool, Quarry, Warrensburg, MO

Garden of Eden Gas Station, Just Across of the 

Garden of Eden Old Quarries and Swimming Hole

St. Louis Post Dispatch
Description: Death of P. NEVILLE.
Date: February 24 1888
Newspaper published in: St. Louis, MO
Warrensburg, February 24.
P. NEVILLE, foreman of the Pickel stone quarry, was killed this afternoon by the fall of a derrick.
From its founding, Warrensburg evolved into a central service and trade center sustained by a broad economic base. One of the earliest sources of revenue was the business generated by wagon trains that passed through the community and camped at several locations. One campground was on West Pine Street west of Warren’s smithy and one was near John Evans’ store. Among the early businesses was the general store opened in 1836 by John Evans in the valley east of the future site of the public square. W. H. Davis and Company erected a mercantile store in the 1830s facing the public square. E. W. Berry erected a hotel on the north side of the courthouse square in 1837. The first hotel established in 1837 and a subsequent one in 1841 were log buildings, as were the town’s other early buildings. The city’s first brick building, built in 1842 on the southeast corner of North Main and West Gay Streets, housed a general store. Link

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