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Sandstone Quarry - Building Blocks of History

Posted by
Steven (Chicagoland, United States) on 13 September 2011 in Landscape & Rural and Portfolio.

In 1905, the Excelsior Stone Quarry began operations here and became one of the first early industries in the Las Vegas area.

The giant blocks, some weighing as much as 10 tons, were quarried with channeling traction equipment. These massive blocks were loaded onto wagons and pulled with a 17-ton steam-traction engine known as the "Big Devil." The sandstone was then shipped by rail to markets in San Francisco and Los Angeles for use as decorative building facades.

The sandstone was of high quality, but production was expensive and unprofitable. With the discovery of similar sandstone deposits closer to the railroad, the Excelsior Stone Quarry was shut down in 1906.

Later that same year, other operators reopened the same quarry, but even with better equipment, the operation still proved to be uneconomical. In 1912, cutting at the quarry stopped forever.

Photo captured June 19, 2011.

NIKON D7000 1/402 second F/10.0 ISO 100 18 mm

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Roman from Thiersee, Austria

great shot and interesting background-information.
I like contrasts of the deep colors.

13 Sep 2011 6:32am

Mirjam from Kyiv, Ukraine

beautiful compo

13 Sep 2011 6:39am

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

You are probably fortunate that they stopped quarrying, can you imagine the huge scar that would have resulted?
Great shot.

13 Sep 2011 7:58am

Sarito from Basingstoke, United Kingdom

Beautiful framing.. lovely shot.

13 Sep 2011 8:03am

Mhelene from Paris, France

A superb framing !!

13 Sep 2011 9:44am

Phil David Morris 2011 from Saskatoon, Toronto, New York, Canada

Sad to hear of this quarry's history, the sandstone is magnificent in this view, but
who uses such wonderful material to build anymore? Beautiful capture !

13 Sep 2011 9:53am

Stephen from Canberra, Australia

Incredible story - great shot with wonderful textures we see in the sandstone.

13 Sep 2011 10:39am

Jason Politte from Conway, AR, United States

Can't believe that even during that time some people would see these rocks and only see them as a way to make a profit. Wonderful shot and story Steven!

13 Sep 2011 10:51am

RBL from Oxford, United States

Wonderful textures and colors, the people put the stone into perspective. Interesting history.

13 Sep 2011 12:08pm

Mariana M. from Waterloo, Canada

Great frame with super colors and texture .

13 Sep 2011 12:09pm

DULCIE from Danville, CA, United States

A handsome shot and interesting story. I love the feeling of dry hot heat !!

13 Sep 2011 5:18pm

klausZ from Kufstein, Austria

wonderful this sand stone, and it changes the color by different light! great!

13 Sep 2011 6:02pm

Viewfinder from Bradenton, FL, United States

Wow, this looks like the remains of some ancient temple step formation. I've never been inside a quarry like this. Great photo!

13 Sep 2011 6:05pm

B. Thomas from Arlington, Texas, United States

The people really give us an idea of the size of this place. Interesting shot.

13 Sep 2011 6:56pm

Denny Jump Photo from Easton, PA, United States

And here it is in this state in this State! I love sandstone and I love to see it on the facades but am happy for this zone here, even though it is cut into, nevertheless, we get to see the "inside"" of this beautiful stone so there is SOME good here. A magnificent job as always, Steven, and your text is SO very much appreciated...great piece here!

13 Sep 2011 7:10pm

Visualaccent from somewhere in the, United States

Thanks for sharing Steven. Red Rock Canyon is amazing and you expressed that in your pictures. If anyone is visiting Las Vegas I would strongly recommend to visit Red Rock Canyon as well. It is only forty minutes away by car, west from "sin city".

13 Sep 2011 7:27pm

Philou04 from Manosque, France

Great colours and textures. Thanks for your detailed technical and historical explanations.

13 Sep 2011 7:57pm

Rick from Toronto, Canada

Another great informative post, Steven. I'm loving this series.

13 Sep 2011 8:12pm

Steve Rice from Olympia, United States

They did some pretty smooth cutting way back then. A lovely shot with people for scale.

13 Sep 2011 8:42pm

john4jack from Corvallis, Oregon, United States

superb. the people are integral

13 Sep 2011 10:00pm

Dokmateo from Madrid, Spain

Fabulous and magnificent capture and process!

13 Sep 2011 10:10pm

Elaine Hancock from Rockville, United States

I just love the colors! Really interesting history. Really amazing.

14 Sep 2011 12:32am

franz from Baden, Austria

very attractive, warm color of the stone! reminds me of the limestone quarries on the island of malta. almost all the buildings on the island are built with this stone, which turns a rich, dark yellow when hit by the rays of the setting sun!

14 Sep 2011 5:42pm

Andrea from Regina, Canada

I like the inclusion of the people here.

15 Sep 2011 8:45pm