Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Roadside Rock Hunting

Anyone who lives in St. Tammany Parish and loves to collect odd-looking rocks is constantly amazed by the great stones to be found along the roadside. Many of the rocks in our driveways came from gravel pits adjacent to the Bogue Chitto River and Pearl River.

A 1975 aerial photograph of a St. Tammany Parish gravel pit

No one knew the impact of finding interesting chunks of gravel better than News Banner writer Polly Morris, who gave us this take in an article in 1974. Click on the image below to read the article. 

In fact, St. Tammany Parish has quite an industry in dredging up gravel along the Bogue Chitto River and the Pearl River, putting it into trucks, and bringing it down to New Orleans for various construction projects. 

The history of gravel pits in St. Tammany goes way back. There are some people who say that the name of Talisheek, a community on the eastern edge of the parish, is an old Native American word for "gravel pit."

Here is an article in the 1911 Rock Products Magazine chapter on "Sand and Gravel" about St. Tammany and its relation to New Orleans construction. Click on the image to make it larger. 

 In 1954, St. Tammany had five sand and gravel operations shipping $536,000 worth of product that year, with 523 persons employed in the business, according to the U.S. Census of Mineral Industries.