John Green, Granite Rock Company 1953-1985, Logan Quarry Superintendent 1972-1985

Posted by Rose Ann Woolpert on Mar 18, 2015

In a recent interview, John Green spoke at length about his time with Granite Rock Company, where he worked first as a “sample boy” at Logan Quarry and eventually worked his way up to Quarry Superintendent. He told stories which include many of the people he worked with over the years, such as Paul Mahler, Elmer Neyens, Carl Preston, Oscar Davies, Roy Goodwin, Ray Johnson, Jay Woods, Claude Mason and Skeeter Hanson, and talked about many of the changes that transformed the Quarry and the Company during his thirty-two year career.

John Green, born in Los Angeles in 1930, went to fabled Beverly Hills High and grew up in a neighborhood of famous stars such as Elizabeth Taylor.  John went to college at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, which at the time had about 3,000 students, all of them men. It was between World War II and the Korean War, and aviators were being trained at the school’s airstrip. John recalled that most of the other students were older, married and just back from WWII, which made the college environment more serious than it would be today. He finished up in just three years, and having joined a construction battalion reserve unit, after graduation he reported for duty in San Diego.

Once out of the service, jobs were hard to come by, but John’s father, a sales manager for J.H. Baxter and Co., knew Herb Hershman, who was Vice President of Sales for Granite Rock Company. John and his parents drove up to meet Herb for dinner at Deer Park Tavern (now Bittersweet Bistro), and the next thing he knew, an interview was scheduled with Bruce G. and Betsy Woolpert. Betsy was Company President, only twenty-seven years old at the time, and she and Bruce had just taken over from her mother, Anna Wilson. John was offered a job, and he began work at Logan Quarry on December 1, 1953 as a “sample boy”, testing aggregate gradation. This early version of Research and Technical Services was done in a little shack down between the railroad tracks, right behind the old loading station. When sampling was done for the day, John worked as a weighmaster and helped with purchasing, payroll, or shipping. 

Loadout at the Logan Quarry Lee Purtill was Logan Quarry Superintendent, and before long he promoted John to Loadout Foreman.

“Things happened fast in those days. Lee got a call one day that something had happened in the loading area. Lee looked at me and said, ‘You’re the Foreman – go on down there.’ I went down and told the guys “I’m your new boss!”

John recalled that the loading process was very complicated. There were no loaders, and rock was hauled by truck and rail car to a storage area next to the 7 1/2 and 8 plants. Laborers would fill the trucks from a bunker under the old secondary plant, and men, trucks and rail cars ran back and forth over the railroad tracks to the stockpile area.  The remains of A.R. Wilson’s original crushing plant, destroyed in the 1906 earthquake, could be found down the hill from the office.  A #5 McCulley crusher was still there, along with the concrete slab where the steam engine was placed to power the plant.

“I had the powder guys blow up the concrete slab because we needed to put a road in there. But I left the wall, which as far as I know is still there.”
Coming Next : Memories from the 1960s

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