The A.R. Wilson Era Continues - As Told By Robert Cozzens

Posted by Rose Ann Woolpert on Mar 18, 2015

The third in a series on the history of Logan Quarry by Robert Cozzens, who worked with Graniterock for over 62 years, this excerpt is taken from a history he created in 1974. 

Cozzens described A.R. Wilson as a very, very energetic man, and the growth and expansion he led at the Quarry (not to mention his other Company projects) over the next twenty years give credit to this description. Wilson was also often described as a well liked and professional leader, and this must have helped him to recruit the able and loyal Quarry team who worked for him and made its development possible.

In 1911, two Porter saddleback dinkey locomotives began to pull four yard dump cars on a newly installed 36 inch gauge railroad. Yet when necessary, teams of horses were still used to pull cars to the crusher chute. A stiff legged derrick was also installed in 1911, and the next year an additional steam shovel and Marion 50 on wheels were purchased along with two more dinkey engines and twenty-four 4 yard dump dump cars.  In 1913 the Quarry was short of fines and a set of 54” by 24” Powermining Machinery Company rolls was brought in.

By 1914, Coast Counties had put in a power line and there were electric car drags with 600-800 feet of cable each. This cable had to be pulled back by hand or by mule team, and on some days 80 railcars of rock were loaded that way. A #3 steam locomotive was added the same year, and the #4 arrived in 1916. Also in 1914, 151 acres of property owned by H.F. and Clarinda Blohm were leased with an option to buy. This is included all of the property where the crushing plants, offices, shop, etc. are now located, which  was eventually purchased for “$21,000 in gold coin of the United States.”

In 1920, Cozzens supervised the move of the #7 ½ plant and added a cone crusher next to the #8 plant.  The #7 ½ plant included waste feeders, a #4 Telsmith cone crusher, scalping screen, conveyors and elevators. Cozzens described how it operated:

“The 7 ½ crusher was something to see when it started, because in those days, there didn’t seem to be any money to buy anything, so they insisted that we drive that plant with one motor. We had a long line shaft that drove everything except the 7 ½ crusher and used an angle drive to drive the screens and conveyor. It was a maze. You held your breath when you turned it on, and you wondered just how many belts were going to stay on. If you fellows have never operated leather or rubber belts, you don’t know what happens when everything gets loaded! When the belt would start to squeal, boy, every old fellow that worked around the crusher would grab a stick of belt dressing and run like hell and hold it on there to keep the belt from slipping.”

Also in 1920 a #5 dinkey locomotive and twelve more cars were added and another stiff legged derrick was installed. In 1922 a 30 ton Ohio locomotive steam crane and boom were purchased for the Quarry at a cost of $13,920. The short head #5 crushers in the #8 plant were replaced with one 4 foot Symons cone, and the rolls that had been installed in 1913 were taken out and replaced with two #3 Symons crushers.

“In this same year, 1922, an additional bunker was built on top of the hill so we could load out trains for the dump while we were dumping trains at the chute. Stockpile operations were started in 1922.  “We laid down tracks in the flat and purchased the Ohio locomotive crane that year. Thank God they bought it that year. That is the year we picked up the rolls and dropped them when the old stiff leg let go. The new crane saved the day.”

In 1923, A.R.’s son Jeff Wilson was hired as Engineer and Assistant Manager. He, like his father, studied engineering at MIT, and although his father’s shoes were hard to fill, Jeff’s quiet contribution to the Company continued on for the next twenty six years. Also that year, Stoney Ford Ranch was purchased from Charles Smith, adding more than 33 acres to the Quarry property. Wilson decided to go into the sand business, and a new sand plant was installed at Logan.  The first cyclone dust collector was put in at a cost of $4,000, but the big investment of the year was the building of a regrind plant, which cost the company more than $40,000.

In 1924 a well was drilled at Logan to produce water for the steam boiler and for drinking. Then, in 1925, a $25,000 Marion 37 two yard “merry-go-round” electric shovel was purchased to replace the Model 50 shovel, which had been completely destroyed in a rock slide. The next year, the first broad gauge switcher was purchased to correct the loading problem and in 1928 the #6 engine, our first standard gauge locomotive, was brought in. It was a 30 ton, saddle-back Porter engine, and so successful that a second 64 ton engine, the #7, was also purchased that year.
Coming next: The End of an Era

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