From Mt. Hardscrabble to Stonehaven Cottages- Rose Stone and its history.
If you’ve ever been to Stonehaven Cottages you might have noticed the stones we’ve chosen and placed throughout. Dozens of people have asked us about the stone and where we found it. Well, it has a history to it. Lori and I, along with many of the locals can remember going to Hardscrabble to go skiing as kids or young adults. The Hardscrabble ski area was on the West side of the Blue Hills. Buses upon buses and cars filled with people came from all over the Twin Cities area as well as the locals. Hardscrabble was a pretty popular place back in the day.
After the prime days of Hardscrabble skiing, several other ski hills opened up and made it tough for Hardscrabble to stay afloat. Eventually, it closed and was sold to Steve and Laura Cutsforth. They started a restaurant, but eventually sold Hardscrabble to American Materials out of Eau Claire/Todd’s Redi-Mix in Rice Lake. The new owners knew there was valuable stone beneath the surface behind the hill. If you go to the backside of Hardscrabble, you can see the quarry where they mine the Hardscrabble Rose Stone. Rose Stone is very abrasive, it has a sandpaper texture to the outside which is very beneficial in preventing erosion.
When it’s laid down as road base, the rocks have enough friction that they lock in together and create a bridge, so to speak, over soft spots in the soil. It has worked excellent as a road base here at Stonehaven, and other places around the area. The stone is naturally erosion resistant, and wonderful to have on any sloped surfaces. When it’s blasted out of the ground, it comes out with irregular jagged shapes and makes it lock-in even better for erosion control.
Using it for landscaping is a bit more challenging, but with plenty of selection it turns out looking rather sharp. The big stones at the entrance of our driveway are what they call “heavies.” The landscape stone comes in light, medium, and heavies. There’s also one class called the Volkswagens. Some of those stones are for sure heavier than a Volkswagen but maybe not quite as big, but close! The stones that I used around the cottage for landscaping are all 150 pounds or less.
If you’d like to learn how to do it for yourself, stop by and I can give you tips and tricks. Good luck!- Ted
This photo is the back side of Hardscrabble where the Rose Stone quarry stands out easily, as seen here from 23rd street, about 3-4 miles Southwest of the quarry. On the other side of this is what was known as “The Drop” to those of us that had the opportunity to ski Hardscrabble.
Closer image from 18-1/2 avenue about 1-1/2 miles Southwest of the quarry.
In this photo you can see the variation in color of the Rose Stone which varies from a pinkish tint on the left to more of a gold or orange tint on the right. The two “steps” or “shelves” are about 75 feet high each. What they do is the bore a hole about 75 -80 feet down and then put dynamite down the hole and blast it out. The total height is about 150 feet that they have taken out so far.
Ted standing in front of the wall of rock gives you an idea of the height of this quarry wall.
Lori is leaning on a “Volkswagen” rock that weighs easily in excess of 2000 pounds. You can see the hole that was drilled through this one (for the purpose of getting the dynamite down) that had stayed in tack after the blast.
Here is a picture of “Tempo” one of the biggest hills at Hardscrabble. Unfortunately, vandals have damaged most of the buildings that were once part of this awesome little ski hill. The ski hills that encompass Hardscrabble are still intact, the mining that has taken place is on the back side of this hill.