R. D. Pike Quarry

RD Pikes Quarry Photo - Building and Ornamental Stones of Wisconsin - 1898

RD Pikes Quarry Photo – Building and Ornamental Stones of Wisconsin – 1898


South of Bayfield Area

The quarry owned by Captain Robinson Derling Pike is located on Van Tassell’s Point, about 3 ½ miles south of Bayfield. This quarry was opened by Captain Pike about 1888 and has operated more or less up to 1897.

Quarry Observations: Three openings have been made. One of these openings is immediately adjacent to the lake shore, where there is an almost vertical exposure to 30 feet. With the exception of a single bed about 8 ft. thick near the top, the stone at this place is soft and shaly.  Many tons of stone have been quarried from this opening and used for pier and breakwater construction. Some dimension stone might be quarried from the bed near the surface, but as a whole it is little suited for construction purposes.

The other two openings have been made through beds, which are stratigraphically above those of the lakeshore opening. The larger openings is immediately west of the station, and adjacent to the railroad. Its shape is irregular. The opening is about 80 ft. long by 80 ft. wide, and from 50-60 feet. The best stone is taken from the lower benches, with an aggregate thickness of about 18 feet. Above this there are 15 feet of No. 2 stone, which, in turn, is overlain with 5-6 feet of shale. Above the shale there is exposed from 10-25 feet of rubble and stripping. Of the 18 feet of No. 1 stone at the bottom of the quarry, only 10 upper feet were exposed. The stone from these benches is remarkably free from clay pockets, only two or three being observed throughout the entire length of the quarry. In the 15 feet of No. 2 stone, clay pockets are more abundant, giving the rock in certain parts a vesicular appearance, where the clay has fallen out. The upper courses, comprising for 10 to 30 feet of stone, are suitable only for pier or foundation work. 

The extent to which the stone in this opening is variegated, is uncertain, on account of the wash from above, which has given the quarry face a fairly uniform reddish brown color. An occasional black streak was observed. The stone which came under my observation was essentially free from pebbles.

The third opening is much smaller than the two just described and is situated further up the hill and north of the last. The stone is quarried from beds stratigraphically above those of the last opening. At a depth of from 4 – 6 feet, stone of excellent quality has been quarried. Below the first bench, the stone is even textured and practically free from clay pocket. A few agate pebbles are scattered promiscuously through the beds, but are so firmly cemented in the matrix, that they are not injurious. This sandstone is mottled with an occasional broad patch of white, which can only be avoided by proper cutting.

General Considerations: The position of the opening is such as to suggest that it could be extended in any direction for a very considerable distance without encountering heavy stripping. This is always a decided advantage in working of a quarry, and ought to command the attention of the operator.

The stone from Pike’s quarry has been used in many buildings throughout the northwest, and is suited, when properly graded, to all purposes for which brown sandstone is used. The quarry is equipped with all necessary machinery, including channelers, derricks and engines.

The stone was thoroughly tested in the Survey Inventory, in preparation of this report.

This history brief was written by Robert J. Nelson. Generously sharing our local history through his research and writing.