Because  You Asked . . . .

Stone Quarry along Big Walnut Creek. Wash Williams (Township Trustee from Galena), Bill Mann, Reid Dunham, John Bunyon, Orrie Clark, and Hugh Ford

Many Stone Quarries in Our Area

Piecing history together is a fascinating but difficult task.  Although many were involved in the quarries of our community, few seemed to have taken time to write about their endeavors.  20th Century History of Delaware County tells us Berkshire, Trenton, Harlem and Genoa townships all had quarries of fine building stone but those in Trenton and Berkshire were of superior quality.  

The first one in Trenton was opened by Mr. Allison but I am not sure where it was located.  John Knox quarry was about one half mile from the junction of the Big Walnut Creek and Rattlesnake Creek.  Alfred Williams had a quarry was about a quarter of a mile above the Knox quarry on Rattlesnake Creek. In the 1870s one was opened on the John Landon farm east of the Big Walnut Creek. Many quarries were opened only for personal use of the proprietors due to poor means shipping the stone. 

Louise Sedgwick remembered there were two good stone quarries.  The Sunbury Stone Company was north of the railroad track about where the ball park in on Croton Road.  The Westwater Quarry was south of the tracks on the John Landon farm.  Kimball Sedgwick was manager of the Westwater Quarry.

In August 1857, Johan Jacob Burrer purchased a plot of land along the Big Walnut Creek from John Knox as a 'Stone Purchase' on the west side of the Big Walnut Creek and south of the railroad.   Judge F. B. Sprague bought in as a partner with Johan and his eldest son, Jakie Burrer.  When Sprague became interested in politics instead of the business, the Burrers bought him out.  Later they became partners with Henry Fleckner in the operation of the quarry. Johan Jacob's oldest daughter, Louise Catherine, married Fleckner and they lived in the house now standing at 10 Walnut Street at the east end of Cherry Street, owned by Dan Schwartz.   

In 1867 Burrer bought the empty lot at 35 So. Columbus Street just north of the Myers Inn and built a combination tavern, small store and bakery over a stone sub-basement which was used for natural refrigeration.  Stone from his stone purchase was used for this building.  Over the years it changed hands and eventually became a filling station which was torn down to build Lawson's now DairyMart.  When the building was torn down in 1985, the stone was given to the Big Walnut Area Historical Society.  The fireplace in the Lawrence Myers home has been rebuilt with this stone.

When Baskins wrote 1880 History of Delaware County, Homer Merritt's quarry was located one and a quarter miles north of Harlem on South Branch of Spruce Run.  Carey Paul owned a quarry, worked by Daniel Bennett, at Harlem on a tributary of Duncan's Creek. A. S. Scott had two open quarries on his land adjoining Paul's.  Still further south, Sherman Fairchild had good stone and favorable drainage for a quarry.

Opening the railroad in 1873 was an asset to the quarries.  Now stone could be shipped across the United States.

When the Burrers' primary interest became the mill, Henry Fleckner bought out their interest in the quarry.  In an 1896 booklet, Picturesque Sunbury, is an ad for FLECKNER'S STONE QUARRIES.  It says, "Henry Fleckner is owner and operator of several stone quarries along the banks of the Big Walnut River.  Mr. Fleckner is a man of many years experience in this business and has conducted it in a practical manner.  He has given employment to many men since opening the business here.  Mr. Fleckner has not only supplied the most of the stone that has been used for building purposes in Sunbury in the past two decades, but aside from this has shipped hundreds of carloads to points over the state." Did he purchased some of the other early quarries?

20th Century History of Delaware County says the Sunbury Stone Company was incorporated in 1907 by Columbus capitalists although some Sunbury citizens had stock in the enterprise.  This quarry known as the Bunyan quarry was was adjoined the Landon quarries. The photo above may be from one of these quarries.

Today, man-made products from cement have replaced stone as building materials.  Recently during a tour of Oberfield's, I head Dean Miller, age 90, ask if the cement block would last as long as the old stone bridge abutments visible along the Big Walnut Creek. Only future generations will know.

If you have any knowledge of the quarries, please let me know.  

Thanks to Baskin's 1880 History of Delaware County, Lytle's 20th Century History of Delaware County,  Louise Sedgwick's Memories of Early Sunbury, and  the booklet, Picturesque Sunbury, and Dorothy Burrer's book, Flashback.


Maps Locating Quarries:    

Harlem Township


Trenton Township

MapHarlem1866.JPG (996969 bytes) MapHarlem1875West.JPG (896200 bytes) Locations of quarries are underlined in red MapTrenton1866.JPG (936987 bytes) MapTrenton1875west.JPG (174822 bytes)
1866 1875 MyersInnFireplace-600.jpg (66336 bytes) 1866 1875
    Myers Inn Fireplace    

. . . .And Now You Know
by Polly Horn


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(04/01/2006 )

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