History of the Rawlings, VA. Quarry by Dalelynn L. Sims
For over 50 years, the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel has captured worldwide attention as a modern engineering wonder and an important East Coast travel convenience. Crossing over and under open waters where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean, the Bridge-Tunnel provides a direct link between Southeastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware plus the Eastern Shore counties in Maryland and Virginia), and cuts 95 miles from the journey between Virginia Beach and points north of Wilmington, Delaware. 1
Now what does this have to do with a little piece of heaven
down a long uninspiring dirt road in Rawlings Va.? Well at
the end of this road at 1 Quarry Lane, you will find the
clearest water in the mid-Atlantic and welcoming signs
inviting you to Relax and Enjoy as you are at Home at Lake
Bryan Rock & Sand Co. 207 RALEIGH BLDG 5
W HARGETT, TEL TE3-1986 gee Yellow Page 33 2
According to the Mrs. Della Tucker starting ~ 1955 or earlier,
Bryan Rock & Sand “Producers of Sand – Washed Gravel –
Clay Gravel 3 “out of North Carolina under the management
of Supervisor Ramsey and Forman Glen Lewis (Bailey D.
Thomas, General Manager 4 ) “crushed stone rip rap stone
mortar sand stone chats stone screenings blasting sand
railroad ballast washed gravel filter bed sand Jetty stone
concrete sand clay gravel 5 ” paid them $0.05 a ton to use
their property to excavate the materials noted above. The
Tuckers having owned the property throughout a number of
changes have just currently decided to sell the property.
Mrs. Tucker indicated that the stone area on their property
was discovered when someone from Bryan Rock & Sand had
taken a trip down the then existing rail line that is adjacent to
their property. It was from this that an agreement between
them was struck.
“Brunswick.- Crushed and Broken Granite for use as road material was produced at the Rawlings quarry by Bryan Rock & Sand Co. 6“ “Brunswick.- Bryan Rock & Sand Co. of Raleigh N.C., at the Rawlings Quarry Near Rawlings produced crushed granite for concrete aggregate, road stone and screening.” 7 Della also recalled that there was an early asphalt plant in use shortly after opening and prior to Southern Materials Co. arriving under the name of Tarmac. Southern Materials Co. Inc Stones Rolling from Near Here For Bay Bridge-Tunnel Project Stones have started rolling on Southern, Materials Co.'s contract for, an estimated 1,700,000 tons for the;, 17.6-mile Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, Bargamiji, sales manager for Southern: Materials stone division, said; this week that the first, shipment; of riprap consisting of 24 Norfolk rand Western cars went from its plant at Jack, about, six miles west of Petersburg on Route 460. Later, Southern Materials also will supply stone from its plant at Rawlings, Brunswick County 'to be, shipped by" Seaboard Railroad cars: Riprap or blanket stone was defined by Bargamin as stoiie ranging from three quarters of an inch to eight "inches; He said this small stone will be used mainly to contain the hydraulic fill for the artificial islands in the bay project. The stone weighs 165 pounds to a "cubit foot. Five Sizes Involved 'Five different sizes of stone are involved in the total bridge tunnel project," Bargamin said, "from three-quarters of an inch to 15 tons.
Southern materials bought fleet of nine barges for use delivering the rock out into the bay. The bridge-tunnel system, to replace the ferries now in operation, is under contract to the Merrit-Chapman and Scott Corporation. It is the largest highway engineering feat of its kind ever undertaken. It will consist of a combination of two bridges, two underwater tunnels, and nearly 12 miles of concrete trestle scheduled" for completion late in 1963.
The company's plant at; Rawlings, in operation since 1953 or 1954, (who knew Lake Phoenix was born) will start furnishing, rock for the bridge- tunnel about the sixteenth week of the project or about May, when larger rock is used. "Terrell Hudgins is general manager of the two Southern Materials plant in Dinwiddie County and it is his responsibility to get the stone out," M. G. Lewis is superintendent at the Rawlings plant for 27 employees. The Rawlings quarry was estimated as about 90 feet deep and 900 feet across. "the cost of equipment in this type of business is very expensive," Bargamin pointed out, "and is almost constantly in need of repair or replacement." He mentioned steam shovels, dump trucks, crushers, conveyor belts, and screens as some of the more costly pieces. In view of the 1,700,000 tons of stone Southern Materials is supplying, Bargamin was asked, "Is there any chance of the supply being exhausted?" "We've drilled at each site 135 feet and there was stone at that depth -- an almost unlimited supply," Rargamin said. "This strata of rock seems unlimited. 8 To be honest the Rawlings quarry was one of about seven that was supplying granite in various sizes for this massive undertaking.
At the same time and through the 1960s . . .Granite for concrete aggregate and road stone was quarried and crushed by Southern Materials Co. Inc. , at its quarry near Rawlings. Clan and schist were mined for use by Brick & Tile Corp in Lawrenceville for the manufacture of Brick. 9 . . . . Likewise Bryan Rock & Sand Company around the same time. 10
We know Southern Materials Co. INC was in operation into the late 60s as it can be found as an aggregate supplier in the Directory of Mine Industry in Virginia for 1966. 11
After the completion of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel the quarry at Rawlings still had much to offer. In 1972 you can find the quarry at Rawlings listed as an aggregate source for highway construction. ...this manual was prepared is to provide descript information about the highway system, including data describing materials used in the surface and subsurface Information on subsurface mixes will be developed only lot new construction, and. not for maintenance resurfacing. . . . 12 We know the aggregate, rock, was used to complete many highway and roads in and around Brunswick County.
Somewhere in all that digging and moving of rock they went and sprung a leak. Located on the east wall about forty five feet under the water line, as it is today, is a small almost unnoticeable crack in the granite. Pumps kept the quarry workable but nature was eventually going to win over the battle as this Nottoway tributary had been opened. As it did it brought fish and other aquatic life that today makes Lake Phoenix the healthy and clear aquatic eco system it is today.
Originally open for scuba in the 1990s it fell into disrepair and mismanagement. In 2015 the property was offered for sale by the Tuckers and purchased. From the ashes that were left by the previous individual leasing the property Lake Phoenix was born!
Today the lake has become a premier SCUBA Park, Family Campgrounds with the clearest water in the mid Atlantic. They have doubled the number of RV Camping spaces and continue to inprove these. Divers are an active in the community, speaking at schools in the surrounding counties about our aquatic world and diving vocations. Dive Pros and others from the community attend science, career day and special activities to support summer reading events. The quarry gives them a great place to practice as well as introduce new divers to the sport.
The lake host divers and visitors from many surrounding states and even from other countries who have heard of us, looking for a great place to dive or just come and relax for a day.
The future looks great for the lake as they continue to expand the facility as their clientele increase. Along with the food concession they have added an arcade building for visitors and divers in between dives or after the diving day is over. They indicate they have near term plans that include more and larger annual camping sites; upgrade or construction of our emergency landing zone; expanding the dock system to allow diversity in entering the water; two paintball fields; and continuing education for staff.
Divers can bring your family, your church or youth group, come for a vacation or just for the day. A great place for family reunions or just a moral day for you and your co-workers. Come and enjoy the cooling waters and calming nature that the lake has to offer. We know you will enjoy your visit.
6 http://images.library.wisc.edu/EcoNatRes/EFacs2/MineralsYearBk/MinYB1957v3/reference/econatres.minyb1957v3.rmetcalf3.pdf The Mineral Industry Of Virginia, Minerals Yearbook 1957
7 http://images.library.wisc.edu/EcoNatRes/EFacs2/MineralsYearBk/MinYB1956v3/reference/econatres.minyb1956v3.rmetcalf4.pdf The Mineral Industry of Virginia
8 The Progress-Index Petersburg, Va. 27 Feb 1961
10 https://www.dmme.virginia.gov/commercedocs/VAMIN_VOL06_NO01.pdf The Mineral Industry of Virginia 1958 review, January 1960
11 https://www.dmme.virginia.gov/commercedocs/IC_11.pdf Directory of Mine Industry in Virginia for 1966 Information Circular 11
12 http://www.virginiadot.org/vtrc/main/online_reports/pdf/72-r37.pdf Responsibilities for maintaining the data system for pavement descriptive information.
Brunswick Scuba instructors enjoy using Lake Phoenix as one of our training sites. We know you also will enjoy your time there.