During a recent visit with an old  friend from Iowa, a conversation about stone (no surprise) peeked my interest about the types of stone and active quarries located there.  It’s important to know local resources for anyone pursuing LEED points.  One of the rules for achieving the coveted certification is using natural stone materials located within 500 miles of your building site.

Another interesting reason for pursuing what stone lies beneath the soil in Iowa, or any of our great 50 States, is just pure curiosity! Iowa – our country’s heartland,  it’s a perfect place to begin!


I discovered that Iowa is abundantly blessed with limestone and in fact had many quarries operating back in the 1800’s.  There were so many stone quarries, they founded a town – actually an unincorporated community and named it, “Stone City” .  Located in Jones County, it was built for the many folks working in the quarries back in the day.  Although the increase in popularity using cement almost caused the town and the industry to crumble, new investors came forward in the 1950’s to form a group called “Stone City Quarries”.  This image on the right,  is the “Old Stone Mill” in Decorah. decorah-limestone-iowa

Today there are quarries operating and producing a beautiful dimension limestone also known as Anamosa Stone.  The colors range in light hues of cream, gold, yellow.  People associated with the building or landscape industry in Iowa must look upon their natural stone resource with pride. And another bit of trivia – limestone from Iowa made its way out here to California, used in the building of Walt Disney’s Concert Hall in Los Angeles.

I look forward to visiting friends and quarries including,  “Stone City” in Iowa!  Check back for future discoveries about native stones from our 50 states!

For more detailed geological  information, refer to our earlier post on Stone Buildings.  See also: Iowa Dept of Natural Resources