Building Materials - Table of Contents...........................
TEXT Beneath Illustrations
photos for larger size
Onondaga limestone. The
dark stone is chert, also known as flint
Onondaga limestone wall
in Scajaquada Expressway near Parkside
Onondaga limestone wall
along Niagara River. Originally constructed when Erie Canal was being
The base rock of the Buffalo Lighthouse is
32 Summit Ave: Two
1st story: Onondaga limestone which was probably quarried from the back
yard, accounting for the slope.
2nd story: clapboard
361 Porter Ave foundation
Hayes Hall on UB's
Main Street campus is built of two types of limestone
Delaware Park, near
Parkside Lodge. Former site of Onondaga limestone
quarry (next Illustration)
Delaware Park, near Parkside Lodge. Onondaga
Location: Onondaga limestone is found throughout the
- Onondaga: eastern Finger Lakes region of
west-central New York
- limestone: a
common sedimentary rock consisting mostly of calcium carbonate, used as
a building stone and in the manufacture of lime, carbon dioxide, and
- chert: (chert)
a siliceous rock of chalcedonic or opaline silica occurring in
- flint: the
colloquial name for chert
- escarpment: a
steep slope or long cliff that results from erosion or faulting and
separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations
- course: a row of
- ashlar: cut,
rectangular stone used in walls
irregular, uncut stone used in walls
- There are chunks of
black flint (chert) embedded in the gray-colored limestone. Because the
chert is much harder than the limestone, limestone is hard to "dress"
(trim). The village of Black Rock was named after a large black rock
near the Niagara River shoreline. The rock was Onondaga limestone with a large
percentage of chert.
- Quarriers have to
use explosives to separate the rock
- Was used primarily
- There are a few houses
in the Kensington district in Buffalo that are constructed of
- Today, Onondaga limestone is used primarily for crushed
stone in cement aggregate and in riprap (a loose assemblage of
broken stones erected in water or on soft ground as a foundation).
- In Western New York,
parallels Route 5 and continues east and it crosses under the Peace
Bridge into Ontario and can be seen along the northern shore of lake
Erie. The Onondaga Limestone underlies the rest of Western New York in
the subsurface across NY to the Hudson River Valley and down into
Pennsylvania. It is a very extensive rock unit.
- Extends east to Albany. South of
Albany, the escarpment is part of the Heiderbergs Mt.
- In South Central New
York State, the height of the escarpment varies from 10' to 245'. There
are large deposits of gas and oil in this section.
- Onondaga escarpment waterfalls in Western
NY along Route 5: Scajaquada Creek in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Glen Falls
in Williamsville, Akron Falls
escarpment in Buffalo:
- Height varies
considerably. One high area in Buffalo is at Masten and Best Streets
where City Honors School is located. The school building, when it
housed Fosdick-Masten H. S., was known as the "The School on the Hill."
Another high area is at Kensington and Bailey.
- In the Kensington
area, as well as in the Delaware Park and in Central Park areas,
basements often had to be blasted because the bedrock was so close to
the surface, i.e., next to no soil on top of the limestone.
- At Robie and Main
Sts., the rock is only about one inch below the surface.
quarries in Buffalo:
- UB (behind
Baird Hall). Filled in in the 1960s. UB Main St. campus has many Onondaga limestone buildings, e.g.
- Bennett Quarry
(behind Bennett High School)
- On Kensington
Expressway at Scajaquada exit, at Delavan entrance, etc.
- Next to McCarthy
Park in the University Heights area in Buffalo
- Vogelsang Quarry
at Main and Kensington (at Thruway entrance)
- Buffalo Crushed
Stone Quarry in Cheektowaga - STILL ACTIVE
quarries near Buffalo:
- Stafford Quarry near
- Sherkston Quarry in
Fogelsonger Quarry workers, c. 1890
... On display at the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village
Museum in November 2017
Fogelsonger had one of the most well-known quarries in
the region. His property included a geologically significant
portion of the Onondaga escarpment, one of several large
bertween Buffalo and Rochester. The Onondaga escarpment was the
remains of a large coral reef. Many fossils are
great numbers here. You can still see the strata
of limestone rock on the walls of the underpass of the
Main Street. It was discovered that a
special layer of the stone could be burned down to produce "hydraulic
cement," a waterproof mortar that would harden under water and
waterproof. The value of the local limestone deposits were so important
in the building of the Erie Canal in the early 1820s that many
grist mills, such as that belonging to John Fogelsonger, were converted
to cement mills. This quarry was run by the
Fogelsonger family for over 50 years until it was sold in 1887; in
1855, four Fogelsonger families lived on the property, all in stone
houses, of course [219 Park Club Lane].
The quarry on
James Youngs' property, known as "Lime
Ledge," covered 220 acres and according to a report from one of Young's
sons, the "quarry produced the strongest and whitest of
lime." There were four lime kilns on the property,
and some of the remains can still be seen.
and lime kilns were also located near Glen
Park, where the Duck Pond is now. It is quite possible that
stone for many of the houses we know today came from a small quarry
- TEXT: Cohen,
Lerner, & Simon, The
thanks to Jerry Bastedo and John Opera supplying
much of the information of this page.
and their arrangement © 2002 Chuck
History Index...| .. E-Mail ...|
web site consulting by ingenious, inc.