June 15, 2017
This is “Our Past Is Present” from the Geary County Historical Society.
Today’s story is about a new machine at a local quarry. In June of 1866, Captain O.J. Hopkins’ new stone cutting machine was used for the first time in the Junction City Quarries. It was set to work on a Tuesday morning and was said to have worked “positively delightfully." It was a simple machine formerly used for sawing logs using horse power. For sawing stone, it was a perfect success. A stone 22 inches by 17 inches was sawed through in exactly two minutes. This success wrapped up Captain Hopkins’ big goal in the stone business as he prepared to add steam power and improved saws. He predicted this would revolutionize building interest in the whole country by facilitating stone work and greatly reducing the cost. The next month another visit was made to the quarries by the newspaper and the editor noted that the Captain had rigged his quarry with a derrick and track making it resemble a coal mine. The saw machine ran perfectly for 7 or 8 hours a day without failing and without sand or water, which demonstrated the suitability of the local stone for sawing.