COBWEB CORNERS: The Greenlee Quarry

By Mel McFarland

       The new Red Rock Canyon park is a neat place, but I would like to have seen it a hundred years ago. It was the Greenlee Quarry and more than 50 men worked on cutting, trimming and dressing stones that went out all over Colorado and as far east as Chicago and west to San Francisco. The quarry stones helped rebuild that city after the big earthquake a century ago.
       Robert C. Greenlee and two sons operated the quarry. It started in the 1880s and the available cars of the Colorado Midland could move stones everywhere. Years ago there were eight buildings up at the quarry workings. One was a rooming house where young single men used to stay. Most of the married men lived in Colorado City, a few in Arensdale and Manitou.
       One of the largest buildings was a power or engine house. It held thousands of dollars of valuable machines and tools. Some 60 years ago, all of that had been stripped and the building was a shell. There is a minimal sign of it today. The office building was a small frame building, hardly anything to represent the importance of its users. The Greenlees abandoned their works in the 1920s with the decline of the use of the softer rock. The Bocks bought the remains about 20 years later.
       What had been the railroad spur to the engine house can still be seen here and there. In the late teens and 20s, the railroad used the track to store freight cars waiting for repairs. The quarry no longer shipped large stones. Boys in search of excitement often hiked up the canyon and released brakes on the cars. The cars coasted down until they hit other cars with a crash, often wrecking them. When the Bocks took over the place, the tracks were long gone, but there were still parts of cars here and there. I have been told that there is still some curious scrap iron buried here and there.
       Some of the vandalism stopped when the Bocks took over the quarry, but there was actually little left of the works that had turned out quality stone for many fine homes, hotels and office buildings.