Quarry is located along the Scenic Loop Drive area about two miles
past the BLM
Visitor Center. This part of
Red Rock Canyon is the trailhead for the Calico Tanks and for Turtlehead
Peak. It is very easy to get to as it is about 500 yards from the
This is an interesting place to visit because it was created at a time
after Las Vegas was first incorporated. The purpose of this place was to
quarry 10 ton blocks of sandstone. These large sandstone blocks were to become a building
Unless they had in mind building pyramids, these huge blocks were
probably going to cut into smaller stone bricks or blocks somewhere else.
The mine operated from
1905 to 1912 as the Excelsior Stone Quarry. The on-again, off-again
operation employed as many as 15 men at one time.
The 10 ton blocks were cut so that they could be transported to Las Vegas using the 'Big Devil
frightful locomotive-like behemoth could haul 20 tons of cut stone on a single
trip. The odd looking contraption also burned about 400 gallons of crude oil per day.
Unfortunately for the Excelsior company, the mine had to be abandoned due
to the cost of using this machine. There was probably a lack of demand
for the relatively weak sandstone as other building materials were cheaper
and more easily available.
Fortunately, or for some other reasons, it never occurred to the management at
Excelsior to cut the stones into finished product at the site, thus making
it possible to haul the stone using other, less expensive means.
The green line on this block measures 36 inches. These blocks are very large and
required a lot of labor move around.
It is apparent that not too much material was removed from this quarry.
Today it is just an interesting and odd kind of place that deserves
mention due to its place in the early history of Las
Vegas. One wonders if this quarry been successful, how much of Red Rock Canyon
would be left today?