Growing up in Waynedale in the 1950’s the old pit was known to all as May Sand and Gravel. If you had gravel in your driveway, it probably came from the pit on Ardmore. Thursday, October 18, The Waynedale News visited what was once May Sand and Gravel. It is now Hanson Aggregates and it has come a long way since its humble beginnings.
The County Commissioners first sold the gravel pit to Charles Fairfield in 1862. The business lasted until the Great Depression and then went into receivership. The local bank that held the mortgage offered to let Bill May run it for a year. If he could show a profit during the year of 1932 then he would be allowed to buy it on a long-term contract. Bill found ways to save through efficiency and quality control and managed to take over the fledgling business.
By the early 1950s glacier-polished gravel in paving materials was being phased out and limestone was becoming popular as a basic building material. The increased demand for crushed limestone products gave the May Sand and Gravel Company a major advantage, because beneath the gravel was enough limestone to last many, many years. By 1951, the company had sold enough of the sand and gravel to expose part of the limestone and blue rock mining was begun in 1952. The limestone quarry was sold to France Stone of Toledo in 1968 and then to Hanson Aggregates
Today the quarry is 321 feet deep, with plans to go even deeper.
The quarry is spectacular. Each level represents a different formation of Dolomite (limestone). Waynedale sits 760 feet above sea level and as you look down into the pit, you gaze at the sediments that were deposited from an inland sea that existed millions of years ago. About sixty-foot of the grey, slatey, top layer is considered overburden. It is used for flagstone and the chirty material was once used by Native Americans to form stone points for hunting. The overburden is piled up in a large pile that can be seen from all over Fort Wayne.
Employees of Hanson Aggregates chauffeured local residents up to the top for a lunch of BBQ’d pork, chips, baked beans and a choice of drink. The day was warm and windy and the panoramic view of the entire operation was impressive.
This is the second year that the Hanson Company has treated the local neighbors and contractors to a free lunch and an afternoon of fall beauty.