Sandstone Blocks and Devil Wagons
The bright red, yellow, orange and tan rocks of the Red Rock escarpment
and the Calico Hills are petrified sand dunes from the age of the
dinosaurs, between 65 million and 250 million years ago. They're known
locally as Aztec Sandstone, and get their vibrant colours from
oxidized iron and other minerals in the rock. Rock climbers come from
around the world to climb on this wonderful stone.
To the west, the Sandstone Quarry is the site where the Excelsior Mine
Quarry mined sandstone blocks for construction between 1905 and 1912.
Each chunk of sandstone was cut into a 10-ton block. Unless they had in
mind building pyramids, these huge blocks were to have been further cut
into smaller stone somewhere else. The operation employed as many as 15
men at a time. The 10-ton blocks were cut so that they could be
transported to Las Vegas using the 'Big Devil Wagon.' This steam-powered
locomotive-like behemoth could haul 20-tons of cut stone on a single
trip. The odd-looking contraption also burned about 400 GALLONS of crude
oil per day!!! Needless to say, the operating costs forced the mine to close down in 1912. If the mine had been successful, would these sandstone hills still be here???
March 16, 2008 at Calico Hills in southern Nevada