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Friday, September 29, 2023

Rabbit Hole, Westbrook ME. From Present Quarry to The History of the Turnpike.... Construction Site Visit Find Leads Down A Long Path .......

 The company I work for is responsible for some of the construction at the new mega million dollar development going in at Rock Row in Westbrook ME.  The center piece, is an old quarry that was used to supply the gravel for the Maine Turnpike.  Yesterday morning I was standing on the edge of the quarry and tried to image all the work that went on there. We then proceeded to the area where the site work has been started.

That's when I saw this and the reason for the rabbit hole. 

A modified dolly with an air driven Ingersol Rand grinder. Must have been used to maintain the drills in the quarry. Most likely, it had been buried in the undergrowth and was dragged out when they cleared the land.

Most people would probably look at it as a piece of junk, not you Phil, but what I imagined was the stories it could tell.

How many men operated it? How many drills were run through it? What injuries did it cause?

Searching the name from the plaque hasn't lead to anything on the unit. It also appears to be a hodgepodge of items that were used to make up this little trailer.



Searches for information on the quarry and the history of it has lead to some really cool 

information. This link is an AMAZING look into the history of what made America great. 

Do read through it............






 There were a bunch of different articles I skimmed over but this one summed up a lot of the history on 

the Quarry in Westbrook.  I believe it was published in 2006.


 This article via the wayback machine<<

A New Hampshire company has purchased the Westbrook Quarry from long-time owners Blue Rock Industries.

The sale marked the end of an era for the quarry and for the Westbrook family that has owned it for the last half-century.

As of last month, the Westbrook Quarry, across from Kohl’s and Shaw’s plaza, is no longer owned by the Hinman family and Blue Rock Industries. Seeking to focus their company in a different direction, the Hinman family, sold the quarry, which includes sites on Spring Street as well as Main Street totaling 63 acres.

The family also sold its other remaining assets, which included three asphalt plants (Westbrook, Leeds, and Gray) and a fleet of more than 40 shipping trucks to Pike Industries of Belmont, N.H. The family’s only remaining asset is the Stone Center on Spring Street, which specializes in granite products for the landscaping and kitchen counter-top markets.

The purchase of the Westbrook Quarry provides new owner Pike Industries with a quarry close to its asphalt plant located in Portland, which has up to this point gotten its stone from Pike’s quarries in Poland and Wells. It also provides Pike with a fleet of trucks and enables the company, which has up to this point focused more on state and municipal contracts, to break into the commercial market with Blue Rock’s already well-established history there.

A spokesman for Pike Industries said it does not foresee any changes in the operation of the quarry or even in its personnel. The two companies have always been in a similar line of business, and the purchase of the quarry represents an extension of the business Pike has always done.

“We are very excited about the transaction,” said Randy Pike. “Blue Rock has been in business for a long time, has good people, and we hope they stay on and enjoy it.”

Pike Industries is one of the oldest purveyors of aggregates for the New England construction industry. The company was established in 1870 as Pike’s Improved Concrete Company by Luther M. Pike of New Hampton, N.H. Since then, it has grown to over 1,300 employees in five states producing more than five million tons of asphalt and over eight million tons of aggregate each year.

“Pike Industries is a company that intends to stay in the community for a long time, and the former Blue Rock employees are very happy to have the opportunity to continue to do our jobs and serve the same customers,” said Bill Blais, former CFO of Blue Rock and now controller for Pike’s Maine operations.

For its part, the Westbrook Quarry remains the longest-running and most successful quarry in the greater Portland area, if not in Maine. Purchased by Blue Rock industries in 1942, the quarry began life as an open gravel pit. In the early 1940s, workers screened sands and smaller rocks from the pit for use in concrete and roofing materials, while crushing the remaining larger pieces into various smaller sizes for other uses.

Soon after, however, diggers encountered ledge rock, the blue-gray stone refined by a crushing process for use in pavement and asphalt. Since then, the quarry has been one of the best sources of aggregate (stone crushed to various sizes for use in asphalt or pavement) in Maine and a major asset for Blue Rock Industries, one of the state’s largest providers of stone and construction products up to now.

A Maine-owned and operated business, Blue Rock was established in 1920 by W.H. Hinman, who named the business, aptly enough, the W.H. Hinman Company. The company began with two horses and some carts, wheelbarrows, hand picks, and shovels.

In 1930, after a name change to Blue Rock Industries, the company secured the first of several lucrative contracts – a seven-mile stretch of the Maine State highway and the largest road-construction contract at that time ever sold by the state.

From the 1940s through the 1960s, Blue Rock won a number of wartime contracts with the Army and Navy and also many contracts for airports, railways and shipyards, becoming one of the largest suppliers of aggregate in the state.

All during that time, and in the years since, stone for these ventures originated at the Westbrook Quarry. In fact, the stone used in some of the state’s largest construction efforts has come from the quarry.

Over the years, the Westbrook Quarry has supplied stone for much of the Maine Turnpike and all of the aggregate for I-295 through Portland; the nuclear power plant in Seabrook, N.H.; the Tukey’s Bridge across the Casco Bay in Portland; the Portland Jetport main runway; and a host of other projects.

As of yet, the sale of the quarry has not been formally announced by Pike Industries, which is a public entity and must follow certain procedures before going public. Particulars of the sale will most likely be available in the near future.


  1. spokesman for Pike Industries said it does not foresee any changes in the operation of the quarry or even in its personnel.
    Major win for everyone.
    That plaque even said

    Wipe the grease fittings before using the gun.
    I Told the jerk at Wal-Mart (Yeah, I went there. Years ago, when the car still had grease zerks) And, no, he didn't do it. I was Frikken livid. I told his boss I wasn't going to try to get him fired, but IF I came back and that happened again, I was going after Her job. Train them,,

  2. My wife and I took a bus trip from Michigan to the New England states in 2022, for our 30th anniversary. We got a tour of a granite quarry in New Hampshire. She was kind of bored, but I was fascinated. Just the enormous size of the operation was impressive enough, then to think of what they did, and how it fed the needs of huge portions of not just the U.S., but likely the world, was something that they should have rightfully been proud of.
    America still is the greatest nation around.


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