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BOOK REVIEW by James Gage & Mary Gage

 The History & Geology of the Leesville, Ohio Quarries

By Dana Martin Batory


There are very few books published on the subject of historic stone quarries. So, we were excited to review this 2014 book published by the Friends of the Crawford Park District, Leesville, OH. Quickly glancing through the book, one is immediately impressed by the extensive illustrations which include period photographs, color photos, and copies of historic documents related to the Leesville quarries. The illustrations accompany a detailed and well written text.

Dana Martin Batory has a B.A. in geology and has published numerous books and articles. He makes good use of his background in geology and his writing experience to present a history and geology of the quarries in an easy to understand manner. He avoids using a lot of technical geology terminology and what terms he does use like “joints” and “bedding planes” are carefully explained in layman’s terms and illustrated with examples.

            The book is organized broadly into 5 sections: geology, early history, Leesville Stone Quarry Co, (1885-1907), quarry operations & stone finishing, and products produced from the berea grit sandstone. The geology section is short but very informative. It offers an excellent synopsis of the geology of sandstone, it importance to the quarry industry, and is illustrated with numerous helpful photographs. The early history of quarrying in Leesville is typical of many locations across the U.S. The stone was initially utilized for local projects like foundations for farm buildings. In 1829 John Bippus began operating a quarry which lasted for 20 years that supplied stone commercially in the local area. By the 1870s the commercial value of the stone became recognized. In 1885, the Leesville stone Quarry Co. was incorporated. It purchased land and the existing quarries and began a large scale commercial quarry operation, shipping finished products via the railroad to various parts of Ohio and beyond.

Leesville Stone Company Inc. operated several quarries from 1885 to 1907. Many of the company’s ledgers or minutes of board have survived. Like most business records they are rather mundane and focused on finances. Anyone interested in financial operations of a commercial quarry operation will find the section on business and financial details of the company fascinating. These records reflect the trends that are in seen in the quarry industry in general. The company saw a numbers of years of booming business in the late 19th century when stone became an important building construction material followed by its decline as stone was supplanted by  form poured concrete in the early 20th century.

In the quarry operations and stone finishing sections, Mr. Batory skillfully uses the information from the ledgers to learn more about the types of equipment being used, maintenance and repairs the equipment needed during day to day operations. This is the most interesting part of the book. It covers the tools and techniques used to quarry the sandstone in the last quarter of the 1800s into the first decade of the 1900s. It discusses channeling machines, steam powered drills, the design and operations of various types of derricks for hoisting the stone, and how the stone was sawn into slabs. This section is generously illustrated with period images of the various types of equipment. The equipment and techniques used by the Leesville quarries were typical of those used by the sandstone, limestone, and marble quarries across the United States. It is a good resource for understanding equipment, techniques, and operations at similar late 19th century quarries found in other parts of the country.

This book has a wealth of information and we highly recommend it.


Ordering information

The book can be purchased in the lobby of the Lowe-Volk Nature Park located at 2401 SR 598 Leesville, OH, for $20 including tax, or by mail for $25 including tax and postage.Make checks payable to the "Friends of the Crawford Park District". For more information visit




Copyright (c) 2005-2008, James E. Gage & Mary E. Gage. All Rights Reserved.