Six Oakland quarries

Oakland, like most growing cities, started its climb to prosperity with the resources it had on hand. Those were land, soil, water, timber and stone. Today we produce no domestic stone. Here are the remains of six different quarries, five in Oakland and one in Piedmont.

sibley quarry

Sibley Regional Volcanic Reserve is a former quarry where the basalt of a Miocene volcano was exploited for traprock.

morcom quarry

The Morcom Rose Garden is said to be a former quarry; that would have been a gravel pit given that there is no bedrock mapped there.

hiller quarry

The Hiller Highlands neighborhood is built around an old quarry where the highly faulted rocks (the Hayward fault is just to the left of this photo) were handy for making crushed stone.

serpentine

Part of the Serpentine Prairie was exploited for rock at some point, probably for fill material.

dracena quarry

Piedmont’s Dracena Park is the former Blake quarry, yielding Franciscan sandstone for aggregate under Oakland’s streets.

franciscan quarry

And the Zion Lutheran church, off Park Avenue, was built in an old quarry where sandstone of the Franciscan Complex was dug for crushed rock.

There are more of these; I just need to sort through some more photos. I think it’s important to source raw materials like stone from nearby whenever possible.

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13 Responses to “Six Oakland quarries”

  1. Mary Says:

    Was the dug-out area below Campus Drive along 580, where the new condos are going in, a quarry? I assumed so.

  2. Christine Says:

    I’ve always been curious about the spot near 51st and Broadway—near the Rockridge shopping center. There’s a pond that looks like a water-filled quarry. Would love to know more about it!

  3. Jafafa Hots Says:

    Kinda off topic, but do you know where in the bay area a person could stroll around and pick up stone fit for flintknapping? (And if you know of a flintknapping class that would be even better!)

    I know there’s some chert or something on the peninsula that was sometimes used but is reportedly hard to work with. Coincidentally called Franciscan I think but clearly not sandstone.

  4. Bob Says:

    I’m sure you are also well aware of Davies Tennis Stadium in Piedmont being a former quarry.

  5. Andrew Says:

    Mary, I’ve featured that quarry a few times, most notably in this post, but I’ll try to post a portrait of it in the next batch. Christine, I featured that quarry in this post, and I have a new photo lined up. Bob, I don’t have a photo of that spot yet.

    Jafafa, there’s not a lot around Oakland, but along the Silverado Trail in Napa you can pick up some excellent obsidian (see this piece from my collection).

  6. Jafafa Hots Says:

    Thanks!
    I’ve recently moved back to the bay area from NY. Can’t drive due to disability, but can hike. Need to find some geology field trips to tag along on!

    Quarries here are much different than in NY. In NY they’re dangerous places. One in the middle of urban Buffalo is the source of famous and rare eurypterid fossils that are in museums throughout the world.

    Been meaning to thank you for this blog. I’ve always been fascinated by geology but it’s somewhat hard to self-educate without hands-on experience, especially with an 8th grade education like mine, and California geology is so different from the NY rocks I’m used to. Smells different!

    Hopefully sometime in the next few weeks I get to show Peter Roopnarine of Cal. Academy of Sciences a spot in Pinole where I found an interesting fossil that he’s interested in exploring the source of.

    (Though my interests are wide-ranging and varied, it always feels like everything comes down to geology at some level. Am I the only one that feels this way?)

  7. FloodedByCEDA Says:

    Red Rock Road off of Moraga Avenue was the source of many pink sidewalks and other concrete. A kiln to make cement was also at the site.

  8. Andrew Says:

    I have some shots of that place. Thanks for the bit of history.

  9. John Slawinski Says:

    Merritt College sits directly on quarry pits. As a kid we used to hike up there along the Leona trail. At the time we used to call the site “devils punchbowl”,of course to build the college the pits had to be backfilled.

  10. Andrew Says:

    John, there’s still a pit remaining, unless they’ve filled it in the last five years.

  11. Aaron Says:

    Andrew, do you have any older photos of the Leona Rock Quarry?

  12. Andrew Says:

    Sorry, 2003 was the first time I visited it.

  13. Peder Says:

    I was looking at some old Oakland maps today and noticed that Maple Avenue used to be called Quarry Avenue. Do you know what quarry this is referring to?

    It seems from the terrain maps on Google that at the head of Maple street could be a candidate for this quarry. It’s right next to Rettig canyon, actually.

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