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The purpose of this historic narrative is to put into chronological order, a chain of events. That will form a skeletal outline of the history of the development of Marengo Quarry-Warehouse. Commonly referred to by the locals for the past one- hundred thirteen (113) years, as "The Rock Quarry". Presently known as Marengo Warehouse & Distribution Center.
The dates and events discussed in this narrative history are derived from court records, local historians and eyewitness's accounts. This history of the development of Marengo Warehouse covers a time period of one hundred thirteen (113) years from 1886 to 1999.
This beneficiaries of this history are indebted to: court records, Crawford County Historian, H.H. Pleasant, Jim Bowen (pervious owner of the Rock Quarry), Marengo Warehouse, also past and present employee's of the Quarry. History of the Development of Marengo Warehouse
In a book titled "History of Crawford County", H.H. Pleasant, devoted the following three paragraphs to the beginning of the Stone Quarry at Marengo, Indiana. They are quoted as follows:
On June 10, 1886, men became interested in the rock at Marengo. The railroad was a means of getting the stone away. Joseph Garrow was the first man to undertake to open the quarry. He has a good chance to sell Wash DePauw of the New Albany Glass Works. The first load or two he let his men mix clinker with the rock. When DePauw saw this he would not buy any more crushed rock Garrow.
Garrow sawed out the rock, which he sold wherever he could get market. One day in November 1886 he was injured and died. Then his two sons, Joseph and Milton Garrow, took up the work. They did so much work that their business was soon running fairly well.
Other men took shares in the rock quarry and business went rapidly on with various degrees of success. Today one can get some idea of the great amount of rock shipped away by the hole in the hill.
The identity of the group of investors taking over the mining operation from The Garrow brothers, and The Company Name under which they first operated in 1887, cannot be immediately determined. The reason being is that Crawford County records of land title transfers does not date back past 1891, a few years after the untimely mine blast killed Milton Garrow, in late 1886 or early 1887.
The history of the fate Joseph Garrow Jr., Milton's brother. The surviving son of Joseph Garrow Sr., could not be verified at the time of this writing. However, court records reveal; that on April 15, 1915, by court decree, Title to the land of the Joseph Garrow heirs, passed to the only surviving Garrow, in Crawford County. A woman by the name of Isabel Garrow, believed to be the mother of Joseph Garrow Sr.,
It appears that the event of the death of Joseph Garrow Jr. (at some prior date), caused Isabel, to inherit all the property of the Joseph Garrow heirs in 1915.
About a year later in 1916, the court ordered Isabel, to surrender the title to all Garrow property to two (2) men, named Arthur B. Harris and David M. Seyton. These men appear to be two of the original investors that financed continued mining operations at the Garrow Rock Quarry, after the death of Milton Garrow.
Earliest records indicate that the Garrow's were operating the rock quarry on lot 199, in the town of Marengo, under the name of the Marengo stone company. Lot 199 is located across the tracks from all other town lots. Lying along the Southeast side of the railroad, Northeast of the junction of Depot road and the Norfolk Southern line. Earliest court records in 1891 reveal that the Garrow family owned lots 52, 53, 54, 55, 199 and 200 in the town of Marengo, once adjacent to Quarry property now separated by the railroad.
The authenticity of the report that early limestone mining occurred on this parcel of land is evidenced, by a long ago abandoned mine high wall and other deep rock mining scars left in the ancient face of a 350-foot long limestone out-crop still visible lying across lot 199.
Upon further examination, court records reveal that land deals made, (before and after the Garrow property passed to the shareholders from Isabel Garrow, in 1916), added bordering lands to lot 199 to the south and east. Eventually unifying adjacent land parcels into a 205-arce tract, which makes up the present day Marengo Warehouse property.
The first documentation, of a company name, under which The Rock Quarry probably operated from the beginning, is recorded, "Marengo Lime Stone Company". They bought 3 one half acres from "Marengo Manufacturing Company" on February 11, 1909.
On the 24th day of November 1917 the Marengo bank recorded a sheriffs deed to the Marengo Stone Quarry Property, on May 5, 1919. The property went back to Marengo Limestone Company.
On November 9,1922 Marengo Stone Company added land from the Jenner heirs.
On the 14th of December 1922, land was added to the quarry property from Lavonia Balthi's heirs. On the same day, Marengo Limestone Company, transferred its property to Marengo Crushed Stone Company.
On the same day in 1929, Marengo Crushed Stone Company transferred the property to Westside Bank of Evansville.
On December 2nd, 1936 the Quarry property transferred from Westside Bank, to Albert Wedeking.
From its beginning on 1886, The Rock Quarry at Marengo, operated as an open pit mine until 1936.
In 1936 Rudy Messinger, bought the Rock Quarry at Marengo, and changed its name to High-Rock Mining Company, and began to mine underground using the room and pillar mining method.
High-Rock Mining operated the Quarry until it sold to the Bowen Family in 1947.
But eye witness, say no significant mining in-roads in the interior were made, they simply refer to as a "Hole" left under the hill, at the Rock Quarry and the Messinger operation. None of this compares to the existing 36 miles of tunnel and roads of today and accessing nearly 100 acres of cavernous open spaces called "rooms" left inside the quarry by the Bowen and Marengo LLC operations. However the Bowen operation created the lion share of the underground rooms, in what presently is known as the Marengo Warehouse & Distribution Center.
From 1947 until they sold the High-Rock Quarry, to Marengo LLC in the fall of 1984, the Bowen Family aggressively pursued the room and pillar mining method to remove and sell rock at the Quarry. After buying the Quarry, from the Bowens in 1984, Marengo LLC, completely renovated the mining operation, inside and out by updating and modernizing mining methods and equipment, to meet higher production demand by his customers for crushed rock.
Marengo LLC also aggressively mined, squaring up the roof support pillars and huge rooms, that had been left standing vacant in the underground area. Always looking with an entrepreneurial eye toward a second benefit, Marengo envisioned what could be reaped from their investment in Marengo Quarry. Others saw as just "a hole under the hill", Marengo envisioned what could be, valuable storage space in the "raw" waiting for someone to "modernize" and market it.
In 1986, Marengo took advantage of an over abundance of grain and the unavailability of enough grain storage facilities to meet the demand. To prevent loss from damage to grain from outside storage in huge piles by the Federal Commodities Corporation, Marengo convinced the government, to license the underground storage space in Marengo Quarry as a Federal Grain Storage Facility.
However, by1990, the government, changed their policy of renting grain storage facilities from third parties, Uncle Sam, made a deal with the farmer who produced the crop to store the grain on the farm. In1990 an end user bought the grain stored in the underground confines of the quarry. At that time, Marengo ceased to operate as a storage facility and loaded out the grain stored in the quarry.
The storage space in the quarry was vacant until 1992. Late in 1993, Marengo began to prepare a portion of the interior for further development. A modern 100,000 square foot warehouse was constructed, with all confidence, that when finished, it would be rented for custom storage space. Then during the clean up operation a customer wanted to rent the storage space as it was in the raw, except for some preliminary cleaning and lighting.
But by mid year1995, problems with fugitive dust and floors too rough for forklift traffic compelled the warehouse tenant to negotiate with Marengo to provide them with modern storage space inside the Quarry.
In late 1995, Marengo finished the first 100,000 square feet of modern storage space in the Quarry's interior. A customer was waiting to occupy it all before it was completed.
During the years of 1996 and 1997 we finished five more, 100,000 square foot, storage areas inside the Quarry, and began to call them "Warehouses". All the warehouses were rented to international manufacturing companies, and filled with their products upon completion.
In late 1998, Marengo began construction of five additional individual Warehouses inside the Quarry, all of which are now complete.
Marengo Warehouse & Distribution Center now houses twelve (12) individual warehouses, totaling in an excess of 1,300,000 square feet. When fully developed the Quarry's interior will house twenty-eight (28) Warehouses, totaling over 3,000,000 square feet of modern storage space.
Today, Marengo Warehouse & Distribution Center is starting the second phase of three construction phases and is planning a one million square feet expansion to meet the demands of storage space for their present and future clients. With the constant 56 to 60 degree temperature, and with the high cost of natural gas and other forms of energy, Marengo is able to offer the most economical solution for warehousing in the Midwest.