Getting Started at Logan Quarry, as Told by Robert Cozzens

Posted by Rose Ann Woolpert on Mar 18, 2015

Robert Cozzens started work at Granite Rock Company’s Logan Quarry in 1916. Over his long career with Graniterock, Bob worked for Company founder A.R. Wilson, his son Jeff and widow Anna, and for Bruce and Betsy Woolpert. Bob spent his first four years with the Company living in the Quarry Bunkhouse, and filled many roles in a work relationship that lasted for more than 62 years. He eventually served on the Graniterock Board of Directors, and while on the Board was asked to put together a story of the Company’s history. This is the first of a series of stories taken from several papers and presentations Bob gave to Board Members in 1974.

In 1900, the conveniences we take for granted today did not exist. Travel between Company headquarters in Watsonville and the Logan Quarry was either by train, horse and buggy or by mule team. Arthur Wilson made that trip practically every day, by mule team, for a number of years. A cookhouse provided meals for the men and a bunkhouse gave them a place to sleep. Conditions were crude and there was little sanitation. There were washbasins and outhouses, and showers were taken at the end of a hose, but if you wanted hot water you heated it yourself in a can or old kettle.

In the beginning, about fifteen men each worked ten hour days. They loaded out five 35 ton railcars per day, averaging about 12 tons per day per man, totaling 180 tons. 18 and 20 pound rock hammers were the crushers, and rock forks were the only screens. Drilling was done by double jack drills - one man held the drill, and two men pounded on it with 20 pound sledge hammers. Since there were no cutting torches, 20 pound sledge hammers were used when necessary to cold cut steel.

“In 1900 the cars were all loaded by hand with wheelbarrows; they were wheeled right out onto the rail cars. Carts were run up a ramp and the rock was dumped right into the cars. These were all flat cars; they held 35 tons and were fitted with 4 by 4 stakes and side boards furnished by the Company. All of the boards were branded “G.R. Co.” and another brand which said “Return to Logan California”. Switching was done by hand and with mules, and the cars were all moved by pinch bars while being loaded. Men with pinch bars would start the cars and then mules would keep them going."

Men used picks and shovels to take rock from the face, which was ten feet above the main railroad line, to a steam plant which operated two small crushers and screens. When operations began, they made a six-inch rock and a minus and that was it. They could furnish a 6 inch rock and a 6 inch to 2 ½ inch rock which had been separated by rock forks. What they had left over was filler. Many of the roads that we travel today were built with that material.

Coming next: The First Decade of Operations at Logan Quarry

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