The photograph in the postcard shows a lime quarry in Springfield,
presumably the one at the intersection of National Avenue and East
Trafficway. The quarry has an interesting history beginning in 1884
when James H. Smith built a kiln at the junction of the St. Louis
and San Francisco and the Kansas City, Fort Scott and Memphis railroads.
Smith sold one-half interest in the kiln to J.G. Schermerhorn. Later
J.S. Atkinson purchased an interest and another kiln was added.
This group formed the White Line Association. More kilns were added
in 1885 and 1886. In 1894 the Marblehead Lime Company of Chicago
bought the company. Marblehead acquired land in all directions from
what is now National Avenue and East Trafficway.
In 1941 the Ash Grove Lime Company purchased the quarry. Both the
Ash Grove Lime and Portland Cement Company operated in this location
until 1963, when the quarry was abandoned. It is estimated that
over six billion pounds of rock came from the quarry.
After the quarry was abandoned in 1963 it lay idle for a year and
then was opened as a landfill for trade wastes. It operated as a
landfill until 1970 when health officials began to fear the landfill
was a hazard because it contained combustible waste. It was closed
completely for six weeks in 1971 while the Missouri Geological Survey
investigated. It was allowed to continue functioning until September
1972 when it was ordered to stop taking waste.
Jim Hedges of Hedges Construction Company took over the fill on
New Years Day 1973. That same day a fire broke out. Because of the
large amount of combustible materials, the fire burned for several
weeks in 1973 and then flared up again in 1976. Smoke containing
harmful gasses spread throughout the area of the quarry, affecting
the businesses nearby. Big cranes were used to fight the fire as
well as United States Navy equipment. Water mains had to be relocated
to provide enough water to battle the blaze.
The huge pit remained full of greenish water until April 2001 when
the quarry was drained so it could become a part of Jordan Valley
Park. Work toward that end continues at the old quarry site.