Brickyards and Stone Quarries

Today’s post is from pg 29 of More Big Hill Country. This section of the book contains histories of early businesses.

The Big Hill Country had many sandstone quarries in the early years and many of the buildings in downtown Calgary are built with this sandstone.

The Shelley Quarry Company opened in 1908 and from 1911 to 1913, three quarries were operating up the valley of Big Hill Creek. Shelley Quarry sandstone was shipped to Calgary for finishing at the Headquarters of the Company. The sandstone was also sent to other parts of Alberta for use in buildings. 

The Glenbow Quarry was operating around the turn of the twentieth century and the Legislature Building and Government House in Edmonton are both constructed of sandstone from the Glenbow and Cochrane Quarries The quality of the sandstone was excellent and the quarries in the area provided much-needed work for many immigrants in the early days. 

In 1891, Tom Cochrane established a brickyard at Mitford which he ran a little over a year. In the late 1890s, Mr. Little established a brickyard and Pete Collins took it over, building the first kiln in 1902. The brickyard shut down during WW1 but reopened after the war in 1918 and operated into the 1920s. The French Brickyard was established by E. Perrenoud and J. Boudreau in 1904. Gabriel Bruel bought them out a short time later. In 1914, Mr. Bruel and most of his employees were called back to France to serve in the army. The brickyard was shut down and did not reopen. Then in 1910, Mr. Quigley started a brickyard however it went bankrupt before World War I in 1914.

In 1911, J. Murphy and Mr. Loder established the Cochrane Brick Company and Charlie Burnham bought them out. This brickyard was situated near the intersection of the present Highway 22 and 1A (in the southwest corner). After the war, new sources of Brick were found nearer to Calgary and the brick business in Cochrane ceased. 

Collins Brickyard Cairn

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