Utah's Limestone Industry, and Utah's Railroads

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This page was last updated on May 15, 2020.

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In addition to the limestone quarries shown below, there were quarries at Topliff, on LA&SL's Boulter (later Fairfield) Branch, and west of Milford on LA&SL's Frisco Branch.

Tooele County

(Google map of rail spurs serving these Tooele County limestone plants)

Tooele County is second only to Salt Lake County in the manufacture of lime. The U. S. Lime Division of The Flintkote Co. has a plant near Grantsville that is a consistent and substantial producer from stone quarries nearby. This firm's operations at Dolomite and Flux, northwest of Grantsville, are the biggest in the state. They furnish the limestone for Kennecott Copper Corp.'s large lime plant in Salt Lake County. U. S. Lime Division has its own crushing, screening, sizing and pulverizing facilities. It furnishes crushed limestone for use in the smelting of nonferrous metals, in sugar refining, for "sweetening up" of cement by Portland cement manufacturers, as rip rap, etc. Pulverized stone is sold for an additive in asphalt black-top road mix, as rock dust for coal mining, as a water purifier in water treatment plants, and for fluorine gas control at the Geneva Works in Utah County. The Utah Marblehead Lime Co. has a $3 million dolomite plant near Delle which furnishes "deadburned" dolomite for the open hearth furnaces at the Geneva Works. (Utah Mining Association, "Operational and Economic Review, August 1967, page 83)

According to USGS data, the limestone quarries in Tooele County are located in the East Erickson District, in the Sheeprock Mountains.

Western Pacific completed the Ellerbeck/Dolomite branches in 1918 to serve limestone quarries at Dolomite and Flux. (LeMassena, page 269) The Ellerbeck Branch connected with the WP main line at Ellerbeck, and terminated at Flux, 3.7 miles from Ellerbeck. A spur leaves the Ellerbeck Branch at Dolomite Junction and terminates at Dolomite. This spur is shown as the 'K' Line, and was built in 1917-1918.

June 1958
An article in the WP Mileposts magazine stated that the dolomite (lime rock) traffic from the plant at Marblehead began in June 1958, replacing lime rock that had been shipped to U. S. Steel's Geneva plant from Illinois. The name Marblehead comes from the name of the company in Illinois, which located a deposit in Utah, and created a subsidiary company for its new operations. The reason may have been either to reduce the transportation distance and/or charges, or if there was a problem with the deposit in Illinois, such as depletion or degradation of the deposit there. The branch is apparently unused at this point in early 2006, since Geneva Steel has closed. The article in WP Mileposts mentioned a rather large deposit at the Marblehead location, and other uses, including railroad ballast. (Thom Anderson)

Along the former WP Ellerbeck Branch, there were three separate limestone quarries. From south to north their station names were Climax, Flux, and Dolomite. The quarry at Climax is now abandoned and reclaimed (mostly). The quarry at Flux is not in use, but the plant is being used to load an occasional rail car using a variety of former U. S. Steel and U. S. Army switching locomotives owned by Broken Arrow, who provides the switching service to Chemical Lime. The quarry at Dolomite is very active loading trucks and rail cars.

Flux Quarry

Utah Lime was sold to U. S. Lime Company in (?); U. S. Lime was sold to Flintkote in 1958; Flintkote was sold to Genstar in 1980, and Genstar was sold to Chemical Lime in 1986, creating Chemstar Lime to manage the former Genstar properties. Chemstar was absorbed into Chemical Lime at a unknown date.

Utah Lime & Stone Company was organized in April 1914 to operate quarries five miles northwest of Grantsville. The majority owners were T. R. Ellerbeck and W. L. Ellerbeck. The company was to operate lime and building stone quarries, along with clay and silica beds. They had already furnished 500,000 tons of crushed stone for use as track ballast for the Western Pacific Railroad along the south shore of Great Salt Lake. (Tooele Transcript, April 3, 1914)

Flintkote bought Utah Lime and Stone Company on June 24, 1958. (New York Times, June 25, 1958)

By 2008, this facility was operated by BCS (Better Chemical Solutions) and was the site where two Alco locomotives were stored, along with a former U. S. Army RS4-TC locomotive. The Alcos had been moved from the former U. S. Steel coal washing plant near Wellington.

Dolomite Quarry

U. S. Lime to Flintkote, to Genstar Lime, to Chemstar Lime, to Chemical Lime

At Flux and Dolomite, the plants were operated by U. S. Lime Co., a division of Flintkote Company. U. S. Lime Company, along with Utah Lime and Stone Company, were the focus of Flintkote's Utah operations. The Utah Lime and Stone Company quarry is located at the railroad station known as Flux.

In November 1979, Genstar Corporation acquired all of Flintkote's outstanding stock. At the end of 1985, Flintkote operated five wallboard, nine roofing, one cement and four lime plants throughout the United States (including U. S. Lime, and Utah Lime, both in Utah), as well as 44 plants in the United States engaged in producing and distributing various mineral aggregate and concrete related products.

In May 1986, Imasco Limited (Imperial and Associates Co.) acquired Genstar as an indirect subsidiary in one of the biggest takeovers in Canadian history. Genstar was a diversified holding company, and shortly after its takeover of Genstar, Imasco began transferring all of Flintkote's operating businesses to various third parties. In the case of the stone, gypsum, roofing and lime businesses, Imasco transferred Flintkote non-asbestos assets and liabilities to a new subsidiaries created for the purpose; Newco Lime Co., for Flintkote's lime business. Imasco then sold these newly-formed Flintkote subsidiaries to third-party purchasers. Flintkote's lime business manufactured and distributed various lime products, including high calcium, dolomitic quicklime and hydrates. Genstar sold the Flintkote lime business to Chemical Lime Company in 1994.

In May 2004 Flintkote, as a subsidiary of Genstar, then of Imasco, declared bankruptcy as a result of class action asbestos litigation by 157,000 claimants, along with 2,800 employees of Flintkote's asbestos mine in Canada.

At the location known as Dolomite, there is today [2008] a plant operated by Chemical Lime, a member of the Lhoist Group of Belgium. In 1981, the Lhoist Group, Brussels, Belgium, and Europe's leading lime producer, made an initial investment in Chemical Lime Company. In 1989, Lhoist purchased the majority interest in Chemical Lime Co. and in 1998 acquired full ownership. The Lhoist Group expanded into the Southeast with the acquisition of Allied Lime in 1989, and into the West with the purchase of Genstar's lime division in 1996. Chemical Lime operated plants in 15 states and another plant in British Columbia.

Chemical Lime operated a quarry and processing plant near Grantsville, at the railroad station known as Dolomite. Material mined by Chemical Lime was processed through size segregation, from powder up to one-inch rock. About 75 percent of the mined product was ready to use as-is, while the remaining portion was processed in a kiln, located in a plant adjacent to the quarry. As of March 2008, Chemical Lime, a privately held company that had been operating in Utah for 75 years, had 37 employees in the state and produced between 7,000 and 8,000 tons of lime a month, most of which is shipped via Union Pacific.

November 15, 2008
Chemical Lime closed its Grantsville lime processing plant due to "a slowdown in residential and commercial construction across the U.S and the recent decline in the steel market, combined with unprecedented increases in energy costs." The closure put 20 employees out of work. (Tooele Transcript, November 18, 2008, "Friday")

Marblehead Quarry

"A five mile spur track was laid from the main line to the new dolomite plant of the Utah Marblehead Lime Company near Delle." (Western Pacific Railroad 1958 annual report)

The Marblehead limestone quarry is located about two miles north of the site of the processing plant. The railroad spur directly served the Marblehead processing plant.

(Read more about the WP Marblehead Branch)

The quarry, two miles north of the Marblehead plant, stopped production in 1986 when U. S. Steel Geneva shut down and did not reopen. They shipped a special product called dead-burned lime, used in the blast furnaces. After USPCI bought the plant in 1987, they purchased crushed limestone from Utah Marblehead Lime Co., which still owned the Betsy quarry, and shipped the limestone to its waste disposal site at Clive. The Marblehead spur was used by UP off and on for car storage after 1986, through 2018 when the switch was removed.

December 28, 1956
Plans were announced by the local Tooele County chamber of commerce, for Marblehead Lime Company to build a $3 million lime mill, at a point served by Western Pacific Railroad. Actual construction of the railroad spur, the crusher and mill were to begin "within a few weeks." The site was three miles northwest of Delle station on the Western Pacific, and would employ 90 men. The product of the mill would most likely be purchased by U. S. Steel for use at its Geneva steel mill. (Ogden Standard Examiner, December 28, 1956)

January 15, 1958
Work was proceeding of the new $3 million lime mill of Utah Marblehead Lime Co., affiliated with Marblehead Lime Co. of Chicago. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 15, 1958)

June 1958
According to an article in WP Mileposts magazine, published by Western Pacific Railroad, the quarry at Marblehead opened in June 1958 to ship dolomite ("Lime Rock") to U. S. Steel's plant at Geneva, Utah, replacing a source in Illinois. It was the same company in both Illinois and Utah, with the Illinois company, Marblehead Lime Company, creating a Utah subsidiary, Utah Marblehead Lime Company, to operate the Utah site.

The construction of the Marblehead lime processing plant included 1800 feet of railroad spur owned by the mining company, with an additional 1400 feet of second track, all within the confines of the plant property. The railroad was not responsible for the maintenance of the 1800 feet of track, which included a track scale and an unloading hopper to receive shipments of coal as fuel, and iron ore used in the processing of the limerock. There was also a loading tower and four cylindrical loading bins to load limestone product into rail cars on either of two parallel tracks.

December 30, 1959
Directors and shareholders of both companies approved the merger of General Dynamics and Material Services Corp., which owns numerous building material companies including Marblehead Lime Co., and its subsidiary Utah Marblehead Lime Co. (Salt Lake Tribune, December 30, 1959)

"The Utah Marblehead Lime Co. has a $3 million dolomite plant near Delle which furnishes "deadburned" dolomite for the open hearth furnaces at the Geneva Works." ("Utah's Mining Industry", Utah Mining Association, 1967, page 83)

"Utah Marblehead Lime Co. produced dead-burned dolomite at the company plant northwest of Grantsville, Tooele County." (Mineral Industry In Utah, 1968, USGS, page 750)

June 7, 1972
In a move to separate its commercial business from its government and defense contracts, General Dynamics formed a new company, General Dynamics Commercial Products Company, manage its natural resources and commercial divisions, including Marblehead Lime Company, and its Utah Marblehead Lime subsidiary. (St. Louis Post Dispatch, June 8, 1972, "yesterday")

June 28, 1977
Marblehead Lime Co. applied for an additional mining permit at what it called its Betsy Quarry, located approximately two miles north of the Marblehead processing plant. The original quarry, located immediately east of the plant, had been abandoned in 1963. (Documents on file with Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Permit M0450003, letter dated June 28, 1977)

The site was known as the "Betsy" quarry, taken from the name of the original mining claim.

"During the year, Utah Marblehead Lime obtained dolomitic limestone from the Lakeside Mountains on the western shore of Great Salt Lake. The company expanded its plant at Marblehead, Utah (north of Delle), to 700 tons per day by adding a 10- by 300-foot kiln. The lime is used for refractory needs of steel mills in Utah, California, Washington, and British Columbia, Canada." (Minerals Yearbook, 1980, page 536)

"Utah Marblehead Lime Co., a division of General Dynamics Corp., was the leading producer of dead-burned dolomite made from dolomitic limestone mined in the Lakeside Mountains, Tooele County. The product was shipped by rail and truck to steel plants in British Columbia, Canada, California, Utah, and Washington." (Mineral Industry In Utah, 1981, Volume II, USGS, page 498)

"Utah Marblehead, 85 miles northwest of Grantsville, with a 280,000-ton-annual-capacity plant, produced a dead-burned dolomite chiefly for refractory use in the steel industry in California and Utah. About 60 percent of its production was shipped to the Kaiser Steel Corp. steel plant at Fontana, California, and with the shutdown of the Kaiser plant in October 1983, 14 of 27 employees at the Utah Marblehead lime plant were laid off." (Minerals Yearbook, 1983, page 552)

(U. S. Steel closed its Geneva steel plant in August 1986, which might indicate that the limestone processing plant at Marblehead was also shut down at the same time. USPCI had hoped that when Geneva Steel reopened the Geneva plant in August 1987, they would continue to use the lime product from Marblehead, but that was not what happened.)

The last rail shipment was apparently during 1986, when U. S. Steel Geneva shut down.

With the last rail shipment from the Marblehead processing plant in 1986, Union Pacific used the Marblehead spur for car storage. There were regular reports of out-of-service, empty cars sitting on the four miles of out-of-service branch, including piggyback flats, doublestack well cars, autorack cars, and grain hopper cars.

April 20, 1987
The following comes from the files of the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, File M0450003:

USPCI's subsidiary Materials Energy Research and Recovery, owner of the Marblehead quarry and plant, reported that no stone was mined or processed during 1987. MERR had also begun "cleaning up the site" by selling excess material and equipment, and dismantling two concrete-block buildings. At the same time USPCI reported that during the coming year 1988 it planned on mining 20,000 tons of dolomitic limestone for the exclusive use of USPCI.

April 20, 1987 was given as the sale date that USPCI purchased all of Section 2, T1N, R9W (640 acres), of which 110 acres was the active processing plant. Utah Marblehead Lime Co. retained its existing patented and unpatented mining claims, including the active quarry covering 49 acres, two miles north of the processing plant in Section 22, T2N, R9W, and the 2.3 mile haulage road connecting the two sites.

(Documents on file with Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Permit M0450003, annual report dated December 22, 1987; letter dated December 28, 1987; letter dated April 6, 1988)

U.S. Pollution Control, Inc. (USPCI) created a subsidiary known as Materials Energy Research and Recovery Corporation to manage and operate its proposed incinerator facility at Marblehead, which it called the Marblehead Mountain Facility.

USPCI bought the Utah Marblehead Lime processing plant with the intention of using the on-site kiln driers (furnaces) to burn hazardous waste that qualified as fuel (solvents, etc.), under an exemption that certain hazardous wastes could be burned as fuel in existing industrial furnaces and boilers without environmental approval and certification. Wastes were burned in July and September 1987, at which time Utah Department of Health issued a cease and desist order against USPCI. The federal EPA published (issued) an amendment in June 1988 that closed this loop hole in its regulations. (Tooele Transcript, October 1, 1987; U.S. EPA Region VII, Denver, letter to BLM district manager, dated April 26, 1988, "Letter 19," and "Response to Letter 19")

(Read more about USPCI, owned by Union Pacific from 1988 to 1995)

No limestone was mined from the Betsy quarry during 1987. Annual reports filed with the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining show that mining took place in 1988 through 1991. The stone was purchased by USPCI from Utah Marblehead Lime Co., mined by a contractor, and used exclusively by USPCI at its waste disposal site at Clive. The stone was trucked between Marblehead and Clive. The quantities were: 91,474 tons in 1988; 102,618 tons in 1989; 64,287 tons in 1990; 63,133 tons in 1991. No mining from the Betsy quarry took place in 1992, or thereafter.

During 1991, its last year of operation, the Marblehead plant processed 68,734 tons of limestone products. The mined limestone was apparently hauled by truck from other locations (either Lakeside or Wendover) and processed at Marblehead, with the finished lime product being also hauled by truck. (Documents on file with Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Permit M0450024, 1991 annual report)

October 18, 1991
The following comes from the October 24, 1991 issue of the Tooele Transcript Bulletin:

Lime plant will close down -- Ten employees at Materials Energy Research and Recovery Lime Plant were laid off Oct. 18 because the facility's operations are being suspended due to reduced product demand.

A subsidiary of USPCI, the lime plant's eventual closure is hoped by industry officials to be only temporary. Charlie Roberts, USPCI community spokesman, said the decrease in product demand is the result of Geneva Steel -- MERR's primary customer converting to a new steel production process. That new oxygen steel manufacturing process no longer requires dead-burn dolomite lime which MERR provided. Company officials say the loss of this one customer was significant enough to force the layoff.

MERR's other major customer was USPCI. Lime products from the plant have been used at USPCI's Grassy Mountain Landfill and Treatment Facility. To get the plant back into operation, MERR officials are seeking permits to develop a calcium lime quarry for producing high calcium lime. Officials say this should help the plant recover from some of the lost demand.

Mr. Roberts said there is no time frame as to when those permits may be received. Eight employees will remain on the site until plant closure plans are completed. The plant consists of two rotary kilns which USPCI bought in 1986. The company had intended to convert the kilns for large scale, commercial hazardous waste incineration.

September 25, 1992
Materials Energy Research and Recovery Corp., as a subsidiary of USPCI, sold the Marblehead processing plant to Chemstar Lime Company, a subsidiary of Chemical Lime Co. The sale did not include the limestone quarry located to the north and east of the processing plant, which remained with Utah Marblehead Lime. In February 1992, Utah Marblehead Lime had begun exploration on a new quarry that was located to the west of the processing plant, and this potential quarry was included in the sale in 1992.

The bill of sale shows the seller as Materials Energy Research and Recovery, selling to Chemstar Lime of Phoenix, Arizona, but a later quit claim deed filed in 1995 for the proposed quarry, known as the Black Lode, showed the seller as JTM Industries, selling to Chemical Lime of Fort Worth, Texas.

The Chemstar name came from the sale of Genstar Lime Co., to Chemical Lime Co., in 1986. Genstar had purchased parts of the Flintkote lime properties in 1980.

November 1992
"U. S. Pollution Control, Inc., subject plant did not operate from December 1991 through December 1992. The plant was sold to Chemstar Lime of Phoenix, Arizona in November of 1992, and is no longer owned by USPCI." (Documents on file with Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Permit M0450024, letter dated January 15, 1993, on letterhead of JTM Industries "a Union Pacific Company")

March 1994
General Dynamics sold its Marblehead Lime Company to Chemical Lime Co. The limestone and lime products were part of what General Dynamics called its non-core businesses, and included most of its Material Services Division, which included the Marblehead quarry of the Utah Marblehead Lime Co. (Documents on file with Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Permit M0450024, 1994 annual report by Chemical Lime Co. of Fort Worth, Texas)

"In December 1993, the Company announced the sale of the lime and brick operations of its Material Service business for $46 [million] in cash. The Company expects to complete the sale in the first quarter of 1994." (General Dynamics SEC Form 10-K, March 1994)

"During the first quarter of 1994, the company closed the sales of the lime, brick and a portion of the concrete pipe operations of its Material Service business for a total of $50 [million] in cash. No gains or losses were recognized on the sales. The company intends to sell the remaining product lines of the Material Service business." (General Dynamics SEC Form 10-K, March 1995)

In June 1992 General Dynamics and Marblehead Lime Co. had formed a joint venture called Mid-America Lime Co. to market lime products. At about the same time Carmeuse Lime purchased control of Marblehead Lime.

February 1995
Chemical Lime Company was ordered by the federal Bureau of Land Management to reclaim all of the disturbed areas at and surrounding the Marblehead quarry site, located about two miles north of the Marblehead processing plant. (Documents on file with Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Permit M0450024, BLM letter to Chemical Lime Co. dated February 23, 1995)

At some time in 2001, ownership of the Marblehead quarry, two miles north of the Marblehead processing plant, passed from Utah Marblehead Lime Co., to Utah Marblehead LLC, with offices remaining in Chicago. The letter of transmittal for the annual report was on letterhead for Dravo Lime, Inc., a member of the Carmeuse North America Group.

Research suggests that Carmeuse had purchased control of Marblehead Lime Company, and its Utah Marblehead Lime Company subsidiary, in 1994, prior to a report dated August 15, 1994.

Utah Marblehead LLC had been incorporated in Delaware in August 1999. The company was a subsidiary of Carmeuse Lime, Inc., of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which itself was a subsidiary of the North American subsidiary of Belgium-based Carmeuse SA. Carmeuse first came into the North American limestone market in early 1998 when it bought the Canadian producer Global Stone Corp., and in September 1998 when the company bought Pittsburgh-based Dravo, Corp., the largest U.S. lime producer. At that time Carmeuse was producing 3 million tons per year of limestone products from its North American operations, and Dravo was producing 3.4 million tons annually.

In March 2007, Utah Marblehead LLC had its 96 federal mining claims declared null and void due to a mix-up of paying its annual maintenance fees, in time to meet a deadline of September 1, 2002. (United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Civil Action 05-00844)

During early 2008, as part of the reclamation of the Marblehead processing plant site, the last remaining stockpiles of crushed limestone at the quarry, in the form of 8,200 tons of one-inch crushed stone, were removed and shipped by belly-dump trucks. (Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Inspection Report, March 2008; Carmeuse site annual report, January 2009)

The former Marblehead processing plant was demolished during early through mid 2009. A fatal accident took place during the demolition, in which one of the large steel holding tanks collapsed on a contract worker as he was preparing the structure to be toppled over. (Deseret News, May 29, 2009)

The reclamation of the Marblehead processing plant was completed in late 2009, including removal of the railroad spur within the lime company's property.


Topliff began in 1875 as a joint venture between the local smelters to find a source of limestone. After the rock was found, a rail line was run down to haul out the crushed limestone, a trainload a day. When the quarries shut down in 1937, all the homes and rail lines were torn up and hauled north to Fairfield. In 2001 the quarries were reactivated and the limestone was trucked to Park City for construction. There were plans for a cement plant and continued mining operations. (GhostTowns.com)

November 8, 1904
A post office was opened at the town of Topliff. (Salt Lake Herald, November 8, 1904)

August 28, 1905
The following comes from the August 28, 1905 issue of the Salt Lake Herald newspaper:

Lime Flux For Smelter -- Great Quarries Being Opened Near Topliff, in Rush Valley. -- Lehi, Aug. 27. -- Men from Rush Valley, about seven miles south of Mercur, say that a new town is springing up at a place called Topliff and that the prospects are that the camp will in a few weeks be shipping over 1,000 tons of lime rock per day to the Salt Lake valley smelters, the Lehi sugar factory and the sugar mill at Garland.

The United States Smelting company about one year ago opened up a quarry here and is now supplying its plant at Bingham Junction with about 400 tons per day. The rock contains less than 2 per cent silica and Superintendent Lorenzo Price says that he is loading it on the cars at a cost ranging between 25 and 30 cents per ton, and hopes in the future to materially reduce this figure.

Recently the American Smelting and Refining company has purchased 640 acres adjoining the U. S. property on the south and has a corps of surveyors running a line for the railroad into their property. The surveyors are also making a survey for a crushing plant and have run a survey for the power line to connect the quarry with the Telluride power line, three miles distant, and which will be made to supply the power to run the crusher, machine drills. etc. Manager Whitley thinks lie has the biggest ledge of good commercial limestone in Utah. It is 300 feet thick, runs from the base to the top of the mountain and is over a mile in length. There is practically no waste in it, and the assayers give results showing an average of less than 2 per per cent insoluble matter with a small per cent of iron, which latter practically overcomes the per cent of silica, making an ideal fluxing material. The company has a force of men opening the quarry and it will be ready to supply the 500 tons per day demanded of it as soon as the railroad is completed to the property.

The Utah Sugar company has just completed the extension of the Topliff spur into the Lime King quarry, which lies south of the United States property and west of the recently acquired property of the American company. It will commence at once to ship rock to the Lehi factory and the Garland plant, consuming about 10,000 tons this season. This rock shows just fifteen one-hundredths of one per cent silica and Superintendent Gardner says that it is the best lime rock used by any Sugar company in America, and attributes much of the success attained by the Lehi sugar factory in making its high grade product to the purity of the lime rock used in refining it.

September 20, 1906
The following comes from the September 20, 1906 issue of the Salt Lake Herald newspaper:

Buys Limestone Quarries -- American Smelting Company Gets Great Supply of Fluxing Rock. -- Lehi. Sept. 19. -- The American Smelting & Refining company has consummated a deal whereby it comes into possession of a limestone quarry a mile and a half long, 700 or 800 feet thick and a quarter of a mile wide. The vendors are Lehi parties who have been shipping rock from a near-by quarry to the Lehi sugar factory for the past two years. The big lime deposits are located at Topliff, Rush valley, and are about a mile southeast of the United States company's limestone quarries.

Work will be commenced at once on a four-mile railroad to connect the quarry with the Topliff spur and work will also commence at an early date on the quarry to get it in condition to supply from 600 to 800 tons per day as soon as the railroad is completed. Connections will be made with the Telluride Power company's line and the crushers and power drills will be operated by electricity.

This district will soon be producing from 1,000 to 1,200 tons of lime rock per day for the valley and the Garfield smelters.

July 11, 1908
The early limestone shipments were by wagon from the quarries to rail car loading ramps at Topliff. In July 1908 the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake railroad started construction of a spur to directly serve the limestone quarries. (Salt Lake Tribune, July 11, 1908)

May 7, 1910
The United States Lime company at Topliff, as a subsidiary of the United States Smelting Refining and Mining company, shipped 65,731 tons of lime rock during the past year. (Salt Lake Telegram, May 7, 1910; citing the USSR&M's annual report)

September 26, 1916
The following comes from the September 26, 1916 issue of the Eureka Reporter newspaper:

Within the next few weeks work will no doubt be started on a new spur line which the Salt Lake Route will construct between the Topliff lime quarries and the Faust station on the main line of the road. The distance is about eight miles and the cost of the new spur would consequently not be very heavy.

At the present time the lime rock from the Topliff quarries is switched over onto the main line of the Salt Lake Route at Boulder Summit a short distance to the north of Tintic Junction. The Boulder Summit hill makes it impossible to handle more than ten carloads of rock at a trip but as soon as the new line is constructed almost any size train up to fifty cars can be brought down from the Topliff quarries.

The engineers have already reported favorably on the new line and it is thought that construction work will be taken up without delay.

October 30, 1919
The limestone crushing plant of United States Smelting Refining and Mining at the company's Topliff quarry burned, at a loss of about $5000 to $7000. The cause was reported as an overheated stove. (Salt Lake Telegram, October 31, 1919, "yesterday")

Utah County

The crushed limestone industry is Utah County's greatest nonmetallic mineral producer. There are good commercial-grade deposits of limestone in various districts, particularly near Payson, at Pelican Point [west shore of Utah Lake] and in the Tintic district, where Chief Consolidated Mining Co. owns properties. Largest operation is the U. S. Steel Corp.'s Keigley Quarry near Payson [Santaquin], which supplies crushed limestone for the Geneva Works, to be used as a fluxing material in the making of steel. This project averages about 300,000 tons per year. The Lakeside Lime & Stone Co. has quarries and a crushing plant at Pelican Point which not only make slack and lump lime, but furnish some fluxing material to Geneva and supply the coal industry with quantities of rock dust. The crushed rock is also used for whiting, road stone and lime production. (Utah Mining Association, "Operational and Economic Review, August 1967, page 90)

Pelican Point

In June 2001, Larson Limestone Co., the operator of the Pelican Point limestone quarry, was sold to The Murdock Group for $7 million. The following comes from The Enterprise, Volume 30, Number 49, June 18, 2001:

Pelican Point owns and operates a 90-acre limestone quarry in Lehi with an estimated 20-plus years of limestone reserves. Pelican Point extracts the limestone, crushes it into a variety of sizes ranging from giant decorative rock to fine powder, and then distributes it to construction and manufacturing companies in the Intermountain West.

Pelican Point had revenues of approximately million and cash flow of approximately $600.000 in 2000, according to The Murdock Group Holding. Pelican's customers include the U.S. Forest Service, Staker Paving and Kennecott Copper, as well as local contractors. Pelican Point has been in business for 18 years.

Current management will remain in place and continue operating the quarry. The acquisition includes the quarry property, equipment and machinery, and the operating business.

Keigley Limestone Quarry (Santaquin)

The Keigley quarry was opened in about 1942 as part of the U. S. government's Geneva steel project, to furnish limestone for the new Geneva steel plant. Production of pig iron began at the new steel plant on January 3, 1944. (Murray Eagle, January 6, 1944)

During 1988, Geneva Steel's limestone quarry at Keigley, west of Santaquin in Utah County, mined 340,000 tons of limestone. Geneva used limestone as a flux in its steel making process. (Flux helps materials mix together easier.) (Deseret News, January 29, 1989)

During 1996, Geneva Steel produced about 200,000 tons of dolomite from the Keigley quarry, located near the southeast end of Utah Lake in Utah County. The majority of the dolomite was used in the blast furnace operation at the Geneva plant while the remainder was crushed to a fine powder and marketed as "rock dust" for use to suppress coal-dust in underground coal mines.

Millard County

Cricket Mountain Quarry (Delta)

The Cricket Mountain limestone quarry is located approximately 33 miles southwest of Delta, Utah.

The Cricket Mountain plant is one of the largest lime plants in the western United States. Limestone delivered from the quarry is processed in coal-fired kilns, manufacturing a full range of high calcium and dolomitic quicklime, along with crushed and pulverized limestone products. Blending facilities produce combinations of products for specific needs of different customers. The Cricket Mountain operation includes storage and shipping facilities for trucks and rail, including a balloon loading track and multiple rail car storage tracks.

Limestone rock is crushed and sized at the quarry before being delivered by truck to the Cricket Mountain plant located on Union Pacific's mainline at Bloom station, approximately seven miles due east of the quarry and 32 miles south of Delta. During 1958, after drilling a series of test bores in the mid 1950s, U. S. Steel shipped 70,000 tons of limestone to its Geneva steel plant in Utah County, as a test of an alternate source to its larger source at Keigley. (Salt Lake Tribune, January 14, 1959)

Continental Lime, Inc. purchased the quarry and opened its plant at Cricket Mountain in July 1980, initially operating with a single kiln and producing 500 tons per day. A second kiln was added in 1987, and a third kiln was added in 1992. A fourth kiln was added February 1998. ("High-Calcium Limestone Resources of Utah" by Bryce Tripp, Utah Geological Survey, Special Study 116, 2005, pages 5 and 6)

The Cricket Mountain quarry was operated by Continental Lime, Inc. In 1996 it was rated as one of the 10 largest lime plants in the United States.

Graymont Western U.S., Inc., purchased the Cricket Mountain quarry during 2000. From Graymont's web site:

Graymont is the third largest producer of lime in North America. In Canada, Graymont subsidiaries have operations from New Brunswick to British Columbia. In the United States, subsidiary companies operate in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Utah and Nevada while serving markets in a much wider geographic area. In addition to Graymont's lime interests, Graymont Materials, located in upstate New York and the province of Quebec, provides construction stone, sand and gravel, asphalt products and ready mix concrete for the infrastructure and general construction needs of the area.

In 2003, Graymont became a part owner of Grupo Calidra. Calidra is the largest lime producer in Mexico, with seventeen production sites in Mexico and one in Honduras. The company, like Graymont, is privately held and has more than ninety years of continuous experience in the Lime and Limestone industries. Calidra mines some of the highest quality limestone deposits in Mexico.

In 2005, the Cricket Mountain quarry and plant were reported as having a capacity of 900,000 tons per year, or about 2,500 tons per day, which translates to about 25 rail car per day.

Cache County

Providence Canyon

Opened in 1903, the limestone quarry in Providence Canyon provided limestone for use by Amalgamated Sugar Company and Utah Idaho Sugar Company in the purification of beet sugar. The quarry operated between March and October of each season due to severe winter weather conditions.

The quarry was open from 1903 to 1908, but closed when a more economical source of limestone was found near Franklin, Idaho. The quarry remained closed until 1914 when it was reopened under direct management of Amalgamated Sugar. Also in 1914, the Utah Idaho Central railroad, also under Amalgamated Sugar ownership, had been completed to Providence, which shortened the wagon haul to a railroad spur by four miles. The quarry remained under direct Amalgamated management until about 1920. About 20 to 25 men worked at the quarry, and 30 to 40 wagons were used to ship the limestone to the railroad spur. In those early years prior to Amalgamated ownership, about 1,000 tons of limestone were shipped each year. After Amalgamated took control, about 2,500 tons were shipped each year, to sugar factories in Lewiston, Ogden, Burley, Rupert, and Twin Falls.

Amalgamated Sugar continued its ownership of the Providence canyon limestone quarry after the quarry was closed in about 1920. In 1926, Amalgamated leased operation of the quarry to local businessmen in Providence. That first year, 70 to 80 men worked at the quarry, and 16,000 tons were shipped. Horse-drawn wagons were used until 1935, when the teamsters (all local men) threatened to quit due to low wages. The quarry operators replaced the wagons and teamsters with five red Ford trucks, which began making the trip from the quarry to the Utah Idaho Central rail spur in an hour and fifteen minutes. Using horse-drawn wagons, a trip had taken a full day.

The use of trucks starting in 1935 was part of an overall modernization of quarry operations, which also included the use of air-operated drills to drill the holes for the blasts that loosened the limestone. The changes in 1935 included Amalgamated Sugar contracting the operation of the quarry to Frank H. Norberg, an engineering contractor company based in Denver. The Norberg company also introduced the use of mechanized shovels to load the trucks. Limestone production during this time in the 1930s was reported as 30,000 tons per year.

LeGrand Johnson Construction Company began operating the quarry in 1945, and continued until the quarry closed in 1986. The limestone was blasted free from the canyon walls and hauled by truck to a spur on Union Pacific's Cache Valley Branch. In these later years, there were eight to nine trucks on the road and 15 to 20 people working in the quarry. The Johnson company used trucks that were surplus from World War II. After the Utah Idaho Central railroad was shut down in February 1947, the trucks hauled the limestone to the site of the closed Logan sugar factory, south of Logan and located on Union Pacific's Cache Valley Branch.

In later years, during the 1960s and after, operations included larger mining-style dump trucks, larger shovels, large ripping Caterpillar tractors, and large front-end loaders. Production was reported as about 150,000 tons per year, with 11 men working at the quarry. The mined limestone was stockpiled next to the Union Pacific rail spur at the closed Logan sugar factory. Quarried limestone was loaded into open-top rail hopper cars and shipped to sugar factories in Utah, Idaho, and Oregon, and was also hauled by truck directly to the Utah Idaho Sugar Company's beet sugar factory at Garland.

The Providence Canyon quarry closed in 1986.

Limestone Glossary

Dolomite -- A carbonate of calcium and magnesium. Also called Magnesia limestone. Normally colorless, but often tinted pink or brown. Uses: generally the same as limestone. There is no substitute for dolomite, however, in the making of dead-burned dolomite refractories and in preparation of basic magnesium carbonate used in heat-insulating material. Also used in manufacture of epsom salts, known as "Epsomite."

Limestone -- Sedimentary rock occurring in practically inexhaustible quantity in nearly all parts of the world, composed essentially of calcium carbonate. Uses: as a flux in smelting iron, steel, ferro alloys and some nonferrous metals; in making lime and agricultural limestone; as crushed stone for road and railroad construction, rip rap and rubble; as building stone; in pulverized form as substitute for chalk whiting in putty, paint, rubber, etc.; as terrazzo, stucco dash, concrete block facings; for sugar refining, insecticides, rock dust for use in coal mines, etc. Limestone itself is available in several different forms:

More Information

"High-Calcium Limestone Resources of Utah" by Bryce Tripp, Utah Geological Survey, Special Study 116, 2005