North-Central Section - 42nd Annual Meeting (24–25 April 2008)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 8:40 AM


SAJA, David B. and HANNIBAL, Joseph T., Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive, Cleveland, OH 44106-1767,

The Buena Vista Member of the Mississippian Cuyahoga Formation was one of the earliest clastic rocks quarried in Ohio. Early quarries (the first dating at least back to 1814) were located in the hills above the Ohio River and along the route of the Ohio & Erie Canal. The stone was also quarried in northern Kentucky. Early quarries were noted in the geological literature, and travelers on the Ohio & Erie Canal noted stone mills along the canal in southern Ohio in the 1830s and 1840s. The Buena Vista was exported to Cincinnati, Louisville, Evansville, and other Ohio River cities and towns, as well as New Orleans on the Mississippi, and cities such as Dayton and Columbus along the Ohio canal system. Later, rail transport allowed for stone use in Illinois, Michigan, Alberta, and elsewhere. The Buena Vista continues to be quarried in Ohio by the Waller Brothers Stone Company in McDermott, Ohio. Historically it has been used for a variety of items, including entire buildings, building-trim, canal structures, bridges, fence posts, laundry tubs, laboratory tables, and cemetery vaults. A number of nineteenth-century structures built with this stone remain in southern Ohio and elsewhere, but relatively little remains of the stone in some cities in which it was once commonly used, especially in larger cities where many historic structures have been demolished. The Basilica of St. Josaphat (completed in 1928) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a remarkable example of the reuse of Buena Vista sandstone that had originally been used for the 1879 Post Office and Customs House of Chicago.

Samples from the present McDermott and classic Buena Vista quarries show that the Buena Vista is a clast-supported siltstone composed primarily of angular, subprismoidal to spherical, monocrystaline quartz. It also contains lithic fragments, muscovite, chlorite, plagioclase, zircons, pyrite, and iron oxide. The stone is poorly compacted, and has a pervasive intergranular porosity, but low permeability. It is well sorted, with grains from 32 to 75 µm (averaging 50 µm, n = 40). Phyllosilicates and elongate quartz grains are aligned parallel to bedding: In hand samples, abundant muscovite grains are seen lying on bedding planes. The quarry facies of the Buena Vista contains some body fossils, including productid brachiopods, but is most notable for its ichnofossil content, especially abundant Zoophycos.