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Rocks, Rails & Ranches

Copp’s Quarry recalls glory days of granite

GPS coordinates: (N 38° 46.827’, W 121° 13.647’)
By: Gary Day, special to the Placer Herald
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Rocklin History Tour

This is the final installment of a 19-part series in which Gary Day takes readers on a tour of Rocklin’s historic sites. Learn more about Rocklin’s points of historical interest with a handy Rocklin History Tour booklet, available at the Rocklin History Museum, 3895 Rocklin Road. GPS coordinates were provided by Brian Ignaut. Short stories about Rocklin’s history are at www.rocklinhistory.org/history_series.asp.

 

To visit Copp’s Quarry, walk about an eighth of a mile north on the paved footpath near the east end of Greenbrae Road.

The quarry is dormant now on the east bank of Secret Ravine, but in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was one of Rocklin’s most productive granite quarries. In the mid-20th century it was a favored swimming hole, but the water is murky now and a fence prevents access.

Massachusetts native Ruben Copp opened the quarry in 1884 to provide granite for buildings in Stockton and San Francisco. After he ran successfully for a seat on the Placer County Board of Supervisors in 1898, he exited the granite business and sold his quarry to the Pacific Granite Company.

Pacific Granite probably closed Copp’s Quarry in 1915. A quarry workers’ strike that year permanently closed about half of Rocklin’s quarries.

Copp’s Quarry and the banks of Secret Ravine make up one of Rocklin’s most scenic areas. Notice the dense vegetation and extensive granite outcroppings. Salmon still spawn there.

The Secret Ravine area was the heart of Rocklin’s gold-mining operations in the 1850s. It was a major population center until many of the area’s Argonauts abandoned their sluice boxes and took jobs in Rocklin’s granite quarries, and with the Central Pacific Railroad as the transcontinental tracks reached Rocklin from Sacramento in 1864.