As Carmeuse Lime & Stone plans to mine additional reserves at its Calcite plant in Rogers City, Mich., it will first have to move a popular tourist attraction: its quarry lookout. The yet-to-be-determined location will be its third in the quarry’s more than 100 years of operation.
“The original location of the quarry view, and that’s the name that was used, it was Lookout Point… was closer to Petersville, and it had a building that housed restroom facilities and interpretative materials about the plant,” Mark Thompson, Presque Isle County Historical Museum executive director, told Presque Isle County Advance and Onaway Outlook.
The viewing area was originally developed in 1949 by Michigan Limestone Operations (MLO) in response to growing interest in the operation. The fenced area was located at the highest point of the quarry’s south bank, about 140 feet above the quarry floor. A year later, the attraction became so popular that MLO added a visitors center and turned it over to the Rogers City Chamber of Commerce. By the middle of September 1950, nearly 16,000 individuals had signed the register in the visitor’s center. Estimates put the actual number of visitors closer to 20,000.
In 1951, the chamber of commerce placed billboard ads along nearby highways advertising the site, dubbing the quarry “the Eighth Wonder of the World.” Attendance climbed to more than 37,000 visitors, and limestone samples were distributed to visitors.
While the new location has not yet been identified, tree clearing has begun and Turner Mining Group will then remove overburden. “That’s just the first step,” William de Changy, operations manager. “We will do the test holes to see the chemistry. Our goal is to extract the stone from this area in the future. When we get to quarry view, then it would be the time to relocate it to somewhere else. When it’s time to close this one, the other could already be opened.”
In 2012, a documentary on the operation, A Century in Stone, commemorated 100 years of quarry operations at the plant. It was nominated for two Emmy Awards from the Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences: Best Writer/Program and Best Historical Documentary in 2013 and won an Emmy in the Best Writer/Program category.