Wednesday Dec 07 2011
Change in technology chips away at granite industry
By: Gary Day, Special to the Placer Herald
Rocks,Rails and Ranches
Editor?s note: This is the second in a three-part series on the industry that put Rocklin on the map. By 1910, Rocklin quarries had supplied granite for several major projects in Nevada and Northern California, including the courthouses in Auburn, Reno, and Sacramento. Some San Francisco streets are still lined with Rocklin granite curbing used to repair roads damaged in the 1906 earthquake. By 1915, however, cement-based concrete was gaining preference and a stonecutters strike that year closed more than half of Rocklin operations permanently. By 1922 Rocklin?s granite operations were insignificant in Northern California?s economy. According to the late Rocklin historian Uno He buck, 62 quarry pits were eventually opened and abandoned. Some quarries operated for just a few months, others for several decades. Rocklin?s largest 19th century quarry was Ira Delano?s Rocklin Granite Company quarry near the corner of today?s Granite Street and Rocklin Road. It was Rocklin?s garbage dump during the mid 20th century and now it underpins a building and parking lot there. Some quarries are filled with runoff rainwater and debris and lie hidden in weedy fields. At least one abandoned quarry lies under the westbound lanes of Interstate 80. Another decorates Rocklin?s library building across Rocklin Road from the Delano Quarry site. Another beautifies the nearby mobile home park?s landscape. Although one or two quarries continued to ship building stone, monuments and specialty products until near the end of the last century, the industry had ceased to be important to Rocklin?s economy by the early 1920s. The Capitol Quarry, now called Big Gun, near Pacific Street and Rocklin Road was Rocklin?s last active quarry. It produced small amounts of specialty granite products as recently as 2002. That Quarry closed permanently in 2005 and is now under the control of Rocklin?s Redevelopment Agency. For more information about joining the Rocklin Historical Society, call 624-2355.