Howes Cave Quarry Re-Opening on Track for Summer Finish

Wed January 26, 2005 - Northeast Edition

The abandoned limestone quarry in Howes Cave, NY, is again a busy place. Work by Cobleskill Stone Products Inc. is changing the face of the quarry to establish a modern stone-crushing operation there.

The construction is part of a multi-faceted effort that includes restoration of the 1865 Cave House as a national museum, and re-opening historic Howes Cave on the site to visitors.

Although separate entities, both projects are intended to complement one another by combining industry and education in this venture.

Work to open the stone-crushing operation is well under way, according to Cobleskill Stone Products’ (CSP) Project Manager Paul Bascomb. Roads are being built, industrial buildings are being rehabilitated, and equipment is being ordered and installed.

The “Clinker Storage Building” is being rehabilitated by CSP — 40,000 sq. ft. (3,716 sq m) — and the adjacent Finish Mill building will house two secondary stone crushing units, said Bascomb.

Moving the operation indoors allows Cobleskill Stone Products to produce crushed stone year-round.

Cobleskill Stone Products’ earthmoving equipment has shaped and formed a half-mile of road to separate future museum traffic from the heavy trucks that will haul stone from the quarry. A two-lane highway is being constructed south of the Cave House, connecting what will be a loading station in the former Clinker Storage building to Sagendorf Corners Road.

The company’s primary crusher is set-up and is just outside the Clinker building.

The Clinker Crane Storage building was originally built to store limestone and other raw materials for processing by the Penn Dixie Cement company in the adjacent finish mill.

Some of the earth for the base of the road has been removed from the hillside immediately adjacent to the Cave House to the east, as planned, where the area will be leveled, paved, landscaped, and lit for visitors’ parking.

An office for the quarry has been opened in the old “Quonset Hut,” that last housed a local glove manufacturer, and prior to that served as a repair shop for cement company equipment and vehicles.

The tin sides of the building are being replaced, Bascomb said. The Quonset hut will be used again as a shop for machinery repairs and maintenance, he said.

Currently, there are approximately 11 Cobleskill Stone Products employees working to re-open the quarry, said Bascomb. The construction and rehabilitation effort will continue through the winter, and the company hopes to begin processing stone by late summer of 2005.

Restoration work at the Cave House also will continue through the winter months.

Founded in 1954, Cobleskill Stone Products produces NYSDOT-approved crushed stone and asphalt, and does commercial paving for the state and numerous municipalities.