Lost Quarries of the South Side

Update: See houses that may have been quarry workers’ house here and here. I revisited the quarry site, and found more of what may have been buildings related to the quarry, in the summer of 2020.

Toby Weiss has done an excellent job of documenting quarries in the Cote Brilliante area of North St. Louis, but it turns out that such quarries were not limited to just the northern half of the city. And just as has happened up north, problems of subsidence of the fill dumped into these quarries seems to have claimed victims on the south side as well. At the intersection of Virigina and Delor, far south in Dutchtown, at least two former quarries sit abandoned and filled in with rubble.

Looking at old Sanborn maps, you can see that the Eyermann Quarry once operated in a large pit in what should have been Compton Avenue. The street still doesn’t go through. According to a website I found that talks about St. Louis quarries, the Eyermann Quarry was known for high quality stone. Nothing remains of the quarry except for flat, rolling terrain. Looking at a satellite image, you can see what appear to be streets or concrete paths through the site. I suspect that in-fill was built on the site, and has since been torn down due to subsidence. Interestingly, Anheuser Busch owns the quarry’s strange-shaped plot of land with the address of 5100 Virginia.

Up on the hill, along Minnesota, the old Haller Quarry shows why the upper portion of the site sits abandoned.

The apartment building below, I suspect, would give us a clue about what once sat on the site before demolition. The 1950’s saw many of the old quarries closed, and Modernist apartment buildings replaced many of the holes in the grid, along with single family houses elsewhere in the city.

A quick look on the map below confirms these were quarries; in fact, it looks like there were once at least five quarries in southern Dutchtown. Is your house sitting on top of one?

16 Comments Add yours

  1. The Eyermann Quarry has never been built on. A lot of fill was trucked to the site in the mid to late 2000's, and it looked like it was possibly going to be developed. It has sat in it's current state since.

  2. Chris says:

    Thanks for the info, Matt. I wonder what the paths visible from Google Earth are.

  3. A.A. says:

    I also believe there was a large quarry in Affton (Aff's Town) about 1.5 miles South of the STL City border off of Gravois….

  4. Anonymous says:

    Google Earth shows it looking like a big hole in the ground from 1988 (as far as back as these images go) to 2007, when it looks like the pond was filled in and it was a big dirt lot. As recent as August 2009 about half of the area didn't even have grass on it yet. The February 2005 image shows what looks like a big black quarry. In fact, after the quarry began to be filled in two ponds appeared and then were filled in. I'm not sure why the ponds were there.As far as why the paths are there, I have no idea. The paths don't show up until the quarry was filled in. Maybe the construction equipment used the paths or something.

  5. Chris says:

    Oh cool, how do you look at old Google Map images?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Also, it looks like, from your image, that the area between Hill and Walsh was part of the quarry. It does have buildings on it. It has since before 1988 (according to Google Earth). As far as the paths, you can see them on the Bing Mapshttp://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=qdv9b97gcq0s&lvl=19.128763689293486&dir=5.212708384016235&sty=b&where1=5100%20Virginia%20Ave%2C%20St%20Louis%2C%20MO%2063111-1741&q=5100%20Virginia%20St.%20LouisThe Bing Maps Birds Eye shows the area while it was under construction (changing from a quarry to a dirt lot). Those paths are not roads. Rather they are rock-filled channels that lead water away from the construction site (as far as I can tell). In fact, you can see one of those channels from Michigan Street on Google Street Viewhttp://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=5100+Virginia+St.+Louis&aq=&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=31.013085,56.513672&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=5100+Virginia+Ave,+St+Louis,+Missouri+63111&ll=38.568594,-90.24142&spn=0.003766,0.006899&t=h&z=17&layer=c&cbll=38.568586,-90.24143&panoid=ClQaLe2YeTfecHEVQPsa_Q&cbp=12,228.39,,1,3.08I hope that is helpful.

  7. Chris says:

    Oh my God, that is so cool. I can't believe this was filled in so recently. You're right about the channels; they're probably there to keep water away from the neighboring properties.

  8. samizdat says:

    "Ponds"=ground water, ie., springs flowing into the void left by the mining of the rock or clay.

  9. Red says:

    For those wondering about the historic aerial photos from google is in google earth. There’s a little clock in the top row of icons.

    Also to get aerials from even farther back go to historicaerials.com. Most of St. Louis goes back to 1958 on that site.

  10. Joe Light says:

    The Geologic Survey of Missouri, Bulletin One has extensive information on the quarries of the City of St. Louis

  11. Michael Draga says:

    And why cant this area on Virginia be utilized as a park?

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      It would require private donations.

  12. Ivan says:

    Can anyone tell me about caves that exisit in south city area or any maps that exisit. Thanks

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’ve heard that the site that interrupts Compton Avenue was used as an ash dump by Anheuser-Busch, which explains why the site is owned by A-B. Can anyone confirm that? If so, was coal ash dumped there?

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      I heard it was either ash or beechwood chips. The property was definitely owned by A-B until only a few years ago.

  14. Cindy Rice says:

    I have been researching my dad’s family. They grew up in a shanty on the river; area on early census records was Osceola Wharf. On a fire maps from 1908, 1938 and 1951, there is a huge stone quarry in this area. Looks like highway 55 goes right over it; I believe there is a shooting range for the police dept on the location of the old quarry.

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