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Perkins Location
US Route 250
Sandusky, Ohio

The Sandusky area has relied on limestone since it was founded in the early 1800's, as a large deposit of high-grade limestone lies just beneath the surface in Perkins Township. Quarrying here has been a basic industry since the first settlers moved out from New England and used the stone just under their feet to build their new community.

"The City of Sandusky is founded upon a rock," wrote a Sandusky Register writer in 1896. "It is underlain with the finest quality of white limestone ... and the lime industry of Sandusky and its immediate vicinity is one of the most important in Ohio."

Although officially established in 1912, work at the Wagner Quarry Perkins Township 600 acre site began before then. Many local churches, schools and businesses, as well as homes and apartment buildings in later years would be built with and on top of Wagner Quarry stone.

Today this region remains the leading source of limestone products in the state. It is a basic ingredient in virtually all construction. Houses and highways, skyscrapers and sidewalks, factories, bridges, sewer lines and septic tanks all require limestone. In Erie County alone, more than 9 million tons of limestone products are produced per year.

Quarrying is a highly specialized and competitive business. It consists of removing limestone from underground, which we do by blasting, and crushing it several times to achieve the desired sizes. The material passes over a series of screens, and under scrubbers whose high powered jets remove dust and impurities from the finished products. We produce approximately 15 different gradations, each of which is required for a specific purpose and is screened and washed to meet specifications of the Ohio Department of Highways, which sets the standards for limestone quality. Finished products run from very fine material for agricultural use, to pieces a foot square for jetties, erosion control, or bank protection. In between are gradations for concrete aggregate, highway blacktop, sewage leach beds, and dozens of other purposes.

While limestone is a valuable resource for the community, area residents alive today may see the end of quarrying at the Wagner Quarry Perkins Township location in their lifetime. 

 

THE CASTALIA QUARRY RESERVE
State Route 101
Castalia, Ohio

According to locally available historical documents, Quarry #5 (as the Reserve area was known during its days of commercial use) began operations in the early 1870's. During the 1870 to 1929 period, stone was mainly removed for use as shoreline erosion protection. It was also employed for general building purposes.

Two railroad companies serviced the quarry carrying the stone to the lake ports of Sandusky and Huron for transport. A long time local resident, Leslie Alspaugh, worked as a switchman for the railroad cars crossing route 101. He recalls that it was not uncommon in the late 1920's for Route 101 to be blocked for several hours a day as stone loaded cars left the quarry.

When the Great Depression struck in 1929, quarrying activity at this location ended. Twenty five years would pass before the quarry would re-open commercially. In 1954, the Wagner Quarry re-started operations at Quarry #5. The machinery was upgraded so that the quarry would be up to the task of supplying stone for the new Ohio Turnpike. Production sped up, and the work force was scaled down thanks to new, more efficient machinery. Up to 400 tons of stone were mined per hour - a 20-fold increase from the 1920's operation.

Quarry #5 stone was used during this period as foundation for both the Edison and Bay Bridges, which cross the Sandusky Bay. Many state-owned roadways in the area were furnished with stone from this site during this period. However, when these major construction projects were completed in the early and mid-1960's, competition from other quarries to the east was too great. Quarry #5 closed in 1965 and moved most of the machinery to other sites. For the next 22 years the land was left to fend for itself.

In 1987, the Reserve area was deeded to Erie MetroParks through a combination gift-purchase arrangement. Wagner Quarry of Sandusky donated the 110-acre parcel located south of State Route 101. As part of the transfer arrangement, the park district then purchased the remaining 42 acres of Wagner Quarry property north of State Route 101. The combined total of 152 acres makes the area one of the largest parks currently managed by Erie MetroParks.

Keeping passive use recreation and preservation in mind, a master plan was developed in order to guide long range development of the property as a reserve and recreational area. One of the features envisioned in this plan was an observation platform. Now that platform is a reality. From 195 feet above mean Sandusky Bay and Lake Erie level, visitors can view the old quarry floor as well as a panoramic view north across Sandusky Bay and western Lake Erie.

In May 1997, the observation platform at the Castalia Quarry Reserve opened and was dedicated to Wagner Quarry , who donated most of the acreage for the reserve in 1987, and $9,000 for the master plan on 1989 .

© copyright 2004 Wagner Quarry and Hanson, PLC All Rights Reserved
Wagner Quarry | 4203 Milan Road (US Route 250) Sandusky, Ohio 44870 | Phone:  (419) 625-8141

 

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