Considered one of the most valuable industries of Forest the John & Berg Herzog & Son Lime Kiln was located three miles south of Forest along the Big Four railroad. It furnished steady employment to a large force of men in the peak season where upwards of six thousand bushels of Clinton lime per week was produced. It also produced crushed lime stone and dealt in Portland cement for macadamizing streets and roads. Able to crush lime to any consistency, rock or flour, the company met manufacturers paint, sugar, sealing-wax, glass, and soda water needs. By 1929 it was known as the Herzog Lime & Stone Company. The men worked 12 hour days moving huge mountains of stone.
The Herzog Lime & Stone quarry was originally the McVitty & Doll quarry employing 20 people. There were three draw kilns in operation. In the
Natural gas was becoming a problem by 1891. A well had been dug in Hardin county to a depth of 1,300+ feet and a very porous Trenton was struck, the best kind of dry gas rock. Shortly after Forest directors decided to authorize drilling.
Accidents occurred at the Herzog Lime Kiln. Listed here are the individuals involved:
John Herzog & Son used casing, tubing and drive pipe purchased from Morris Meyer, trustee for the Patterson Gas & Oil Co. from a well on Woodard farm to drill on the Briggs farm. Beside lime stone John Herzog sold cement or used it in the drilling process because in September, 1907 he received a car load of Lehigh Valley Portland Cement at the McVitty siding.
John was an avid shooter and sportsman. In a triangular trap shooting match with Dr. Cook and Col. E.H. Cook in October Col. Cook took the match with 22 out of 25 targets. And in December he accompanied Dr. Cook and the Stockton party to southern Texas for a hunting trip.
Damage of $15 was caused at John Herzog & Son's office when the closing of a kiln caused the gas to come on so strong as to overhead the office stove and cause a fire. The next month John & Bert purchased an automobile capable of going 70 miles per hour and expanded their gas business by drilling another well on the Briggs farm. Near the end of the month the well came in with a pressure of 75 pounds and enough gas to supply 300 stoves. Forest became interested in the longevity of the well as it was located only 75 feet from the main which supplied the Village. The United States also expanded by Oklahoma adding the 46 star to the flag. In August the firm installed a new gas engine for handling the entire plant. Purchased from the Mille Gas Engine Co. the engine was double cylindered and rated a one hundred horse power, capable of operating the stone crushers and equipment of the plant.
Drilling was't always enjoyable. In June, 1910 a new Herzog well on the McElree farm proved difficult. Using nitroglycerine a charge was exploded at the bottom of the well. About 40 quarts of nitro was used with the view of creating a suction at the immediate bottom. The results, however, were sanguine at best leaving doubt as to the future of the well.
John Herzog, while walking along Lima street in June, 1918, was almost run over by Frank Wareheim, an employee of the Mapletoft garage. Wareheim was riding a cycle and had decided to ride into a doorway when, at the last moment, he saw the door was closed. He veered and struck Herzog causing several days re-cooperation.
Written on the back is, "Rode with Great Dane in back seat of Lincoln conver- table early 40's car. Gordon Fourtny ran the quarry and farms. Has daughter about 62 living. Jap McKee - foreman over men. Fred McKee - brother's Fred also worked for Bert. Might have been a foreman. Tressler ran the gas company. Herzog sold gas co. to Sheldon who is south of Dunkirk on US68."
Frank Spearman was killed at the Herzog Stone Quarry August 13, 1925. He was in a shanty in the quarry eating lunch whan a stone hurled by a blast went through the wall and struck him on the head and went out the other side of the shanty. Merrit Yauger moved his family to the stone quarry in October. He and his son, Ralph, worked for the Herzog Stone Quarry.
A large storage building for lime was built in 1926. It was 60 feet wide and over 200 feet long. Rex Miller was hurt at the Herzog & Son plant in February when his truck slid down a ten foot embankment. Jumping fron the truck he saved himself from death, but was badly lacerated on his face and head.
After living on the Herzog plant property for two years, Yauger had a strang incident with a slightly demented woman. She had been picked up by a truck driver just out of Toledo and dropped at the Herzog palnt. She claimed she was enroute to Columbus. Mrs. Yauger and her daughter took the woman in, feed her, and raised enough money to send her back home. The woman refused, began to rave, and proceeded to bless her benefactors for interfering with her business. Sheriff Crooks, of Forest, was called and the woman taken to Kenton for safe keeping until a relative could be summoned. When W.F. Kurtz asked relief of the courts from the sale of a gas well from Kurtz to Herzog and the lease of additional land near the well the decision was in favor of John Herzog & Son.
Business at the Herzog Lime & Stone Co. was great in May, 1928. The company had hired structural iron workers, electricians, carpenters, and painters. Around Forest work was generally good; construction work on the Pennsylvania railroad employed 100 men, the American Telegraph & Telephone Co. hired a crew of linemen to reconstruct the line along the Lincoln highway, the local telephone company employed several extra linemen, and the Dickelman Mfg. Co. hired several expert accountants. All of the businesses having done the hiring above their regular work force.
There was a strike at the plant in 1934. The second week things got serious and the strike ended up in court. A dozen or so men, some former employees, attempted to go to work and attempted to cross the picket line. The scabs failed to cross and retired to the barn yard of Fred Hinebaugh where the Sheriff from Kenton was called The sheriff told the men to go home and insured the strikers that the men would not attempt to got to work again. The same day Sheriff Mitchell served warrents on 36 members of the Quarry Workers Union for violation of a temporary injunction issued by Judge hamilton E. Hoge the previous week, restraining the strikers from molesting, attacking, or intimidating any persons entering or leaving the premises of the Herzog Co. The defendents were to appear in court which the did and were found guilty. Union men could increase the number of pickets from three to six. No one went to jail.
Then, through the efforts of the Regional Labor Board at Cleveland and after two months of being idle, work was resumed in August. Not much was accomplished with the strike. Wages were 44¢ and 60¢ per hour at the time of the strike and the same after. Seniority remained the same too. Robert Baertsche worked at the quarry. He injured his leg badly in July and had to be on crutches.
Frank Herzog was found dead at 6 a.m. at the plant in December, 1934. Frank had been the nightwatchman for several years, coming from Tiffin to McVitty. An examination by the coroner substantiated that he had died about an hour before being discovered.
The M.E. church hed a Festival at the Herzog Stone Co. plant in August, 1935. The workers shown in the
Blasting at the quarry was commonplace, but in February, 1937 newspapers in the area carried earth-quake stories equaling those of California and Japan. 200 pounds of dynamite were shot causing vibrations as far away as Kenton, Ada, and Arlington yet few people in Forest heard anything. John Rabberman worked in the office of the plant in 1937. In July, Captain Tom Keating, in charge of the cruiser "Bergla H.," brought the boat from Miami, Florida to the Matthews Co. in Sandusky. Then a five week trik via the Erie canal to the local port. The boat was owned by Bert Herzog and would be kept at the Port Clinton Yacht Club.
Ralph H. Yauger worked for the Herzog Lime & Stone company in 1940. He married Louise M. Clark in August. On May 10, 1944 he drowned in the pond at the quarry. His body was found floating in the pond on June 12th. Roy Groat had been hired to patrol the quarry and found the body. The Coroner ruled the death a drowning. At the same time (1944) two drownings occurred in Dunkirk at their stone quarry.
A second strike occurred in June, 1941 when the employees went out at shift change. Groups of 12 to 20 men went on picket duty at the quarry in three 8 hour shifts. Wage, vacaton time, and a closed shop were rumored to be part of the negotiations.
July 13, 1944 the Boy Scouts of Forest hiked to the Herzog plant. a round trip of 8 miles, and were conducted on a tour of the plant. They were taken to the lowest point in the quarry and to the highest point of the large structures. The scouts were under the supervision of Gordon Fortney and Nerman Liles.
A skeleton crew was working at the Herzog plant in December when a fire broke out in the 80 foot high coarse stone building after sparks from a welding device ignited gasoline in the tank of a "dinky" engine being repaired. The crew fought the spreading flames with hand extinguishers. The fire had started when sparks from a welding device ignited gasoline in the tank of one of the four "
Quite often we hear of people losing their dinner after they have eaten same, but seldom do they lose their dinner before they eat it. Well, such was the case with Art Boyd one day last wee. Art is drilling a gas well for the Forest Gas and Oil Co. He carried his lunch in a tin dinner pail. One morning while crossing the railroad near the Herzog plant in a big truck, said dinner pail was jolted from off the seat beside him. The rear wheels of the truck ran over it. The dinner pail was mashed and the sandwiches were flattened out like pancakes. But believe it, or not, Mr. Ripley, the thermos bottle full of coffee, was not hurt in the least. What ever saved the thermos bottle, we know not, unles the coffee was strong enough to bear it up.
Homer Simpson was working for the quarry when he fell and fractured his leg August 3, 1950. He had been on a box car at the time. He was in the hospital until October with a fractured hip. And in late August a fire destroyed the drier screen building containing valuable machinery. The fire started at 1:45 p.m. and required units from both Forest and Kenton before the fire was put out. An overheated conveyor belt was determined to be the cause of the fire. Elmer Ropp and his son Charles ran two water tank trucks supplying 20,000 gallons of water to the fight.
During the time that the Herzog plant was supplying blacktop to the paving of Route 68 between Dunkirk and Kenton the crews were working a seven day week, day and night. Also, the N.Y.C. railroad was using many carloads of stone for ballast and there was a stream of trucks hauling agricultural lime from the plant.
Have you ever seen the "sand dunes" along Lake Michigan, near Chicago? Well, if you can't make the trip there to see the dunes, just drive out Route 53 to the plant of the Herzog Lime and Stone Co. Here you will see huge piles of sand and stone that cover many acres of land. The plant that will make the blacktop for the improvement of Route 68 between Dunkirk and Kenton is also located out at Herzog's.
There was a resurgence in 1953 of building requiring material from the Herzog plant and the Patterson station was closed. So, the New York Central Railroad built a freight and telegraph office opposite the plant on the west side of Route 53. The material for the resurgnece made the area around the plant look like the sand dunes in Indiana near Chicago.
Fred Cramer was the office manager of the Herzog Lime & Stone Co. for 40 years retiring in 1942. He died in June, 1954 after having served as the township clerk and clerk of the Patterson school board. Laurel S. Price was also an employee of the plant. He had served at one time on the Forest village council and was the sexton of the Patterson cemetery.
James L. Kalb was employed at the Herzog Lime & Stone Co. in 1955. He married Ioma E. Dean, of Wharton. A fire occurred to a truck at the repair shop around Thanksgiving. Inflammable liquids had been spilled onto the truck chassis and ignited by accident. No damage of consequence was determined.
Martin Rall was the victim of an unusual accident when he was crushed in the cab of his truck as he was loading it with agriculture limestone at the Herzog Lime & Stone Co. overhead hopper bin in March, 1957. Part of the hopper broke loose under the weight of tons of crushed limestone. The hopper section fell on the truck crushing it. Rall lived in the first house south of the quarry in SR53.
The New York Central Railroad closed the freight station at McVitty and the agent, D.L. Franer, transwered to Carey. This forced all carload shipments to the Herzog plant to be billed through the Forest station run by Clayton M. Ewing. R. Pearl DeVore had been a fireman at the Herzog Lime & Stone Co. He died at age 70 in March, 1958 of a heart attack.
In April, 1959, while plowing the Herzog Lime & Stone Co. farm, Lee Kellogg discovered a U.S. weather baloon dating from December, 1952. It consisted of a bulb, small battery, and part of a baloon made by the Ray-Vac Co.