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Local History

Horton's Quarry

Springs Feed Deserted Quarry, Forming Lake in Heart of City.

Springfield News-Leade,r 21 Feb 1932, page A9.

"The Hortons have something new in 'watered stock.'  Their famous old stone quarry that covers the entire block between College and Walnut streets and Fort and Newton Avenues has been temporarily abandoned and a series of hidden springs is filling it at an approximate rate of 400,000 gallons a day.

"In brief, the situation is that a large lake is springing up in a thickly settled residential section.  Early Saturday night the water had climbed about four feet up the 60-foot wall, leaving only a small strip along the College street side out of the water.  The quarry covers four acres.

"The springs with their thousands of tiny mouths appeared in the quarry early in 1918, George Horton, who with his father, H. G. Horton, operates the quarry, recalled Saturday.  After that, a giant pump ran day and night, until a few days ago.  It will be only a short while now until the entire cavern is filled

"The quarry has not been deserted for all time, the younger Mr. Horton explained yesterday.  Operation will be resumed as soon as the demand for crushed stone will justify it.  When the place was closed, a small amount of stone was being delivered daily, but cost of running the pump was greater than the selling price of the rock.  Mr. Horton attributes the slump to the fact that almost no paving of streets is being done now.

"Meanwhile, current orders are being filled from a smaller quarry the Hortons opened across the road from the federal hospital site last August.  When George Horton took over management of the quarry a few years ago, it passed into the hands of the third generation of the family.

"The father of H. G. Horton bought the quarry in 1888. At that time it was two blocks outside the city limit.  H. G. Horton became manager of the quarry more than 40 years ago.  Since that time the city corporation line has extended more than a mile west of the quarry, and a number of new residential districts have grown up around it.

"Before the water gets to the top of the wall, the pump will be put back into action; but the quarry will not be drained until the operators are ready to resume full production."

While there are few historical references to this quarry, there are many quarries in this area referred to in the digitized periodicals and Greene County histories. At some point the quarry was filled and is currently occupied by Airgas, Inc.  The Google street veiw below shows the east and south side of the former quarry as viewed from College Street.

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