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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Bandera stone work

Saturday, January 26, 2013

One of the neat things about living in Bourbon County is the Bandera stone that was used in so many ways by the early settlers. My first experience was when I decided to build a parking area at the Horton Street residence. Despite researching the process carefully, the so-called parking area soon began to settle from the weight of the car there each night. Before long, when it rained the parking spot began to resemble a wading pool.

My second attempt was to put a border around the house by using 12-inch by three-foot slabs of stone to form an attractive border. I invited the oldest grandson, who was in high school, to visit and we managed to finish by working half days in 100-degree heat.

The latest venture was two elevated garden beds to be bordered by Bandera stone as a walkway.

My source at the Redfield Quarry suggested that the walkway needed to be wider than 12 inches. I had a load of rocks 18 inches wide and three feet long. With each project, the stones seemed heavier and harder for me to handle. The word had got around so no volunteers came around to help with the project. By brute strength and awkwardness, a path around the garden site was completed.

With a few stones left over it was suggested to me that I needed to lay some walkways around the deck. In the process of laying these stones, I had one stone that was 12 inches longer than the rest of the pattern. Thinking that this looked a little awkward, I decided to even them up.

All of you have seen the post rock that comes from Western Kansas. The pioneers drilled holes and broke the rock into post to string the barbed wire. Thinking that might work in my case, I managed to ruin three drill bits. I drilled 23 holes in a somewhat straight line to recreate the process that had worked so well for the pioneers.

Taking a heavy piece of iron and striking the end of the Bandera stone, I was rewarded with a straight-line break that went through about five of the holes and then it started off like the stock market on a bad day.

I reported my mishap to the owner of the quarry and he suggested that I bring the one remaining piece of rock that I hadn't screwed up and they would saw it to the proper length. Needless to say, I have a great respect for anyone who can successfully work with stone.

Editor's Note: Dick Hedges is the former mayor of Fort Scott and former president of Fort Scott Community College.