Pacolet Quarries

The stone industry has been important to the Pacolet area since prehistoric times. The American Indians used the local soapstone quarries long before the coming of the white Europeans. The Indians also used naturally occurring field stone to make fish traps like those in the Broad River just outside the town of Carlisle below Union. The European pioneers continued this practice. They used field stone for building their chimneys, foundations for their houses and barns, to line their wells and in small dams. It was eventually discovered that under much of the Pacolet area, there was a plentiful supply of granite. The granite was produced deep in the earth’s crust as molten rock and minerals cooled millions of years ago.

The quarrying of the granite became a commercial venture in Pacolet in 1894. Today, we do not think of many people in the Pacolet vicinity making their living as stone masons and stone cutters. However, in the very interesting recollection of life in Pacolet in 1909, the author describes many Pacolet men employed in these trades. One very visible sight of this stonework profession is in the stone walls that can be found throughout the mill village beside the sidewalks  and along the roads. We take these stone structures for granted today. However, if these had to be built at today’s wages and prices, the replacement cost would be tremendous.



Examples of stone walls found through out Pacolet Mills.


Some of the granite from the quarry was used to build the South Carolina State House in Columbia. The original quarry operated until 1929 when it was closed. It did not operate again until 1950 when it was bought by The Campbell Limestone Company of Gaffney. Click on this link for a satellite photo of the present quarry and the location of the old one.  When the quarry operations stopped, the original quarry pit filled with water. This was used for a "swimming hole" by local folks but it was dangerous. Several people were drowned in the old quarry. The following photo shows the pit .



In 1968, Campbell Limestone merged with Vulcan Materials of Birmingham, Alabama. Vulcan still operates the quarry to this day. Vulcan is a huge company. The Pacolet operation is engaged in surface mining and the crushing of granite stone. Their products are used in construction projects of all kinds.

A second company that has a facility at the quarry is the Sloan Construction Company. They buy and use crushed stone for the construction industry.

Another company was started at the quarry in 1957 as Paco Products. Over time and reorganizations it became Spartan Minerals Corporation that is still in operation. They process, sell and ship feldspaphic  sand to ceramic and glass companies. They also grind and sell mica to other specialty markets.

The operations in the quarry are very impressive and done on a large scale. The following photograph was taken in the Vulcan Quarry during a tour in 2007. Click on this link to see more photos taken in the quarry that will give you a sense of how large the quarry is.  



 
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This web site has been started as a public service to share the story of Pacolet. The web master and person to contact about putting information on the web site is me, Gerald Teaster.  Contact me at:
gteaster@pacoletmemories.com or by telephone at (843) 873-8117.  My regular mail adress is:
1311 Jahnz Ave.
Summerville, SC 29485

See more information about my Pacolet connection at Gerald Teaster.