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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Sturgeon Bay in Door County, Wisconsin — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Leathem and Smith Quarry

 
 
Leathem and Smith Quarry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 17, 2008
1. Leathem and Smith Quarry Marker
Inscription. John Leathem and Thomas Smith established this dolomite quarry at the mouth of Sturgeon Bay in 1893. Though they produced dimension stone for building harbors around Lake Michigan, Leathem and Smith's quarry became a major operation by capitalizing on the growing demand for crushed stone for roads, railroad beds and concrete. In 1914, a huge stone crushing plant was constructed on the lower quarry floor. On the upper level, a steam shovel loaded stone into carts, which were hauled to the crushing plant by a miniature locomotive. Conveyors carried the crushed stone to screens where it was washed and sorted. From stockpiles, the stone was loaded onto ships converted to barges. The steel frontage and wooden pilings along the shore are remnants of the quarry dock. Just offshore lie the remains of two of the stone barges, the Joseph L. Hurd, built in 1869 as a passenger steamer, and the Mueller, built in 1887 as a steam-screw.
 
Erected 1998 by the Wisconsin Historical Society. (Marker Number 417.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Wisconsin Historical Society marker series.
 
Location. 44° 54.28′ N, 87° 24.298′ W. Marker is near Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, in Door County
Leathem and Smith Quarry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 17, 2008
2. Leathem and Smith Quarry Marker
. Marker can be reached from Bay Shore Drive (County Highway B) 0.4 miles north of Bay Shore Heights Drive, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at Olde Stone Quarry County Park, Harbor of Refuge and Boat Launch. Marker is in this post office area: Sturgeon Bay WI 54235, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Propeller and Shaft (here, next to this marker); Door County's Stone Fleet (approx. 2.1 miles away); Eastern Terminus Ice Age National Scenic Trail (approx. 2.5 miles away); The Orchards of Door County (approx. 3.8 miles away); Steam Barge Joys (approx. 4.1 miles away); Bradley Crandall Sawmill Site (approx. 4.2 miles away); Historic Sturgeon Bay (approx. 4.9 miles away); ‘Old Bell’ Tower (approx. 4.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sturgeon Bay.
 
Regarding Leathem and Smith Quarry.
Until the 1850s nearly all building stone came from cleared farmland or from easily accessible surface deposits. By the 1870s and 1880s with the ease of transportation by water, quarrying became a major industry in Door County. Stone quarried in Door County was used in the manufacture of lime or cement, and for use as riprap. Relatively minor amounts were used for building construction because of the stones poor quality.

Originally, removal of the limestone
Leathem and Smith Quarry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 17, 2008
3. Leathem and Smith Quarry Marker
rock relied on manpower with workmen using pry bars to remove slabs of rock weighing in excess of 300 pounds. Horse-drawn carts were then used to haul the rock to the waterside for shipboard delivery around the Great Lakes. In the 1880s, the use of black powder made rock removal easier and more profitable. Eventually dynamite and steam-powered machinery made it possible to extract slabs weighing between 2 and 5 tons. These slabs were then used in the construction of harbors, breakwaters, and piers, making them immune to fire and more resistant to erosion and decay (as compared to wood). Almost every harbor on Lake Michigan today was built in part with Door County stone.

As the demand for stone grew around the shores of the Great Lakes, many small quarry operations opened in Door County. Quarries in Baileys Harbor, Door Bluff, Garrett Bay, Eagle Bluff, Marshall’s Point, Mud Bay, and on Washington Island achieved some short-lived success. The opening of the Sturgeon Bay ship canal in 1882 made transportation by water cheaper and helped large-scale commercial quarries thrive and expand. This would eventually drive some of the smaller quarries to go out of business. In 1903 only the Green Quarry, the Laurie Quarry, the Leathem and Smith Quarry, and the Sturgeon Bay Stone Company remained. As World War I broke out and building projects around the Great Lakes halted, so did the
View of Quarry image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 17, 2008
4. View of Quarry
futures of many of these quarries. In 1944, the last of the big quarries closed its doors permanently, ending Door Counties legacy of stone. Although there are a number of smaller active quarries around the county today, their impact on the economy is not like that of earlier times.
 
Also see . . .  Leathem Smith Lodge History. The stone that now lies beneath Chicago's Lake Shore Drive and the large stone seawall along Chicago's waterfront was quarried at Leathem's quarry and delivered by Leathem Smith Dock Co. vessels. (Submitted on October 5, 2008.) 
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceWaterways & Vessels
 
Olde Stone Quarry County Park image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 17, 2008
5. Olde Stone Quarry County Park
Olde Stone Quarry Park image. Click for full size.
By Robert L Weber
6. Olde Stone Quarry Park
Olde Stone Quarry Park image. Click for full size.
By Robert L Weber
7. Olde Stone Quarry Park
Olde Stone Quarry Park image. Click for full size.
By Robert L Weber
8. Olde Stone Quarry Park
Quarry Workers image. Click for full size.
9. Quarry Workers
View of Green Bay from Sturgeon Bay image. Click for full size.
By Keith L, September 17, 2008
10. View of Green Bay from Sturgeon Bay
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 5, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 2,039 times since then and 59 times this year. Last updated on December 29, 2010, by Bob (peach) Weber of Prescott Valley, Arizona. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 5, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.   6, 7, 8. submitted on December 13, 2010, by Bob (peach) Weber of Prescott Valley, Arizona.   9. submitted on December 16, 2010, by Bob (peach) Weber of Prescott Valley, Arizona.   10. submitted on October 5, 2008, by Keith L of Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. • Kevin W. was the editor who published this page.
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