Brownstone Quarrying

Quarrying native sandstone around the Bayfield area had a relatively short life. Early efforts began on Basswood Island, one of the Apostle Islands in 1868. The use of brownstone reached its peak during the 1880-1890s when six quarries in the area were supplying eastern markets with the stone. Regional quarries had a much easier time transporting their product with the arrival of the railroad in Bayfield. One of the quarries was located about four miles south of Bayfield, owned by R.D. Pike. The popularity of brownstone peaked in the 1890s and by 1900 changes in architectural styles and building materials spelled the demise of the industry. The quarries had little long-term impact on Bayfield’s economy but the native stone left a lasting heritage to its architecture.