January 1, 2014
Scouts and family members enjoyed hiking the Rock Quarry Trail at Rockwoods Reservation, a 1,843 acres state forest and wildlife conservation area.
Rockwoods Reservation was established in 1938, one year after the Missouri Department of Conservation was created, making it one of Missouri's oldest conservation properties. Rockwoods has a history of extensive rock quarrying and most of the forest was previously clear cut to provide firewood for the quarry's eleven kilns.
The Rock Quarry Trail passes old rock quarries as well as Cobb’s Cavern. ‘Cobb’s Cavern’ is a former underground limestone mine, larger than a football field, that is viewable from the trail.
The rock was cut into 10’ cubes by steam-powered rock saws. The cubes were then cut into slabs, loaded on railroad cars, and transported on a spur to the Missouri Pacific Railroad at Glencoe. However, most of the limestone was deemed too soft to be useful as dimension stone. The quarries were then developed for lime production.
From the quarries the limestone was loaded on cars and hauled by mules to the end of the quarry. From there, the cars were lowered by cable down a steep inclined tramway. From the bottom of the incline, the cars moved by gravity (i.e., on gentler incline). At the plant the cars were hauled up an incline to the top of the kilns by cable. The empty cars were returned to the base of the hill by mules, to be hauled back up the incline.
(Click on "View More" below to see more photos of the hike.)