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Thread: The Old Arizona Marble Mining Company Quarry--Then and Now

  1. #1
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    Default The Old Arizona Marble Mining Company Quarry--Then and Now

    Arizona is probably not known for its production of architectural grade, or statuary marble. But back in the state's territorial days, folks were at work removing gigantic blocks of the material from a quarry in the northwester corner of the Chiricahua Mountains. A 1913 issue of Mine and Quarry magazine reported that the operation was using all of the latest quarrying equipment provided by the Sullivan Machinery company. That equipment was all powered by a large air compressor. A pair of wood fired boilers provided the steam to run the compressor, the mill equipment and the derrick hoists. There were two derricks, one rated at 50 tons the other at 30 tons.

    Once split loose from the countryside, some of the blocks were sawn into slabs in the mill. Once processing was completed, the materials were shipped to a railroad station 14 miles to the north. Loads averaged 60 tons! The wagons were pulled by a 110 horsepower traction engine.

    I first hiked into the quarry in the early 1980's. The framework of the old mill building was still standing. There were racks of sawn marble to be seen. I returned to the area recently. Someone apparently has plans for the area. The access road has been rebuilt with steel bridges installed across side canyons. The racks of sawn marble are gone and the mill building has completely collapsed. Other than that, it doesn't appear that much else at the quarry has really changed.

    Photo 1 is courtesy of the Bowie Chamber of Commerce website. It shows the quarry in operation. The quarry seems to be nearly at full depth. The placement of the derricks can be seen. Stacks of marble in the yard appear to be very similar to what is seen there today.

    Photo2 is the quarry as seen in 2011

    Photos 3 and 4 focus on a small boiler in the quarry yard. I wonder if it could be part of the traction engine? In photo 3, the power plant boilers can be seen in the distance.

    Other photos and info at:

    www.azbackcountryadventures.com/marble.htm

    Ernie
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    Last edited by Toysx2; 07-21-2011 at 07:23 AM.

  2. #2
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    Awesome post.
    Now we're getting back on track.

    Thanks.

  3. #3
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    Cool!

    Gold and silver mines usually catch our attention the most, but marble quarries played their share in the West's economy, also. Thanks for sharing.

  4. #4
    campp's Avatar
    campp is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Very interesting! Never heard of this, you learn something every day!

    Nice info, thanks.

  5. #5
    bad bob's Avatar
    bad bob is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    I hafta agree with all the poster's above. Love the b4 and after shots especially. And bonus, now I know there's at least ONE site I can go to replace my marbles.
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    Very Interesting! The pictures were great!

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    I didn't know there any marble quarries in the states. Very interesting. Thanx for sharing.

  8. #8
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    Vulture is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    Very nice, thanks for the then & now shots. Something little known in Arizona history.

    <
    "The good things a person needs-stubbornness, thinking for himself-don't make him a useful member of society. What makes him useful is to be half dead." Sylvan Hart

  9. #9
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    Thanks folks for all of the comments! They are all appreciated.

    Here are a couple of other photos:

    Close up views of the power plant boilers. I don't believe that I have ever seen this "double-stack" arrangement before at any other location. According to the Mine and Quarry report, the steam output was rated at about 115 horsepower. Wood to fire the boilers came from the property.

    Ernie

    www.azbackcountryadventures.com/marble.htm
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  10. #10
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    That is a very interesting boiler arrangement. Do you mind if I post those two photos in another forum and ask some steam engine experts about it?

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