O'Keefe Gravel Pit
Modern Gravel Pit
Big Plan of the O'Keefe Lumber Company Co. South of Town, Handles Product in Rapid Manner
Editor BOys of the Plymouth Republican visited Culver one day last week and discovered, among the other
good things that he founf in the town and its environs,
|the gravel pit on the former Green farm,
and tells about it in his paper as follows:
The O'Keefe Lumber Co. of Plymout has just completed, about a miles south of here an, immense plant which
int the course of time, will suck up and load into cars over three million cubic yards of the best gravel and sand
to be obtained.
Just south of the Arlington station this company owns a hill of pure gravel sand covering 70 acres.
Ever since April 3 Arthur O'Keefe has been here building one of the most notable plants in this part of the state
It is composed of two great cement bins for holding the gravel and sand, and a superstructure on these bins
holding frames and screens for separating the gravel form the sand..
There is apower house in which has been installed a 60 h.p. engine. This engine sucks up the sand and gravel
through an 9 inch pipe as heavy and similar to iron water mains, and sends it through the scrreens into the bins.
The erection of this plant has taken much time and the expenditure of a large amount of money, but will be
used to suck up and load into cars all the sans and gravel in the 70 acres of land.
One of the remarkable things about the plant is that water from Lake Maxinkuckee seeps through the ground
and into the bottom of the gravel and threws onto the top of the big frame work an 8 inch stream of water,
sand and gravel.
This stream runs upon the screens which separate the gravel from the sand, letting the sand fall into one of the
big pits and the gravel into another.
The water is conducted ovder the pits in a sluiceway and falls outside to run back into the put again. The water
washes all the dirt out and leaves pure gravel and sand.
Between the pits is a narrow passageway where carrier buckets similar to these used in eleavators, will operate to
carry the sand from the bins into the cars on the track beside the pit.
A few days ago Mr. O'Keefe loaded a flat car with gravel in just 30 minutes.
It takes two men a full day hard at work to load one car with shovels. The big power plant at the O'Keefe pit can
load 40 cars in a day providing it runs steadily.
However, it cannot run all the time, for, so powerful is the suction in the bigh pipe that stones as large as a man
can lift are drawn up against its mouth with cush force that the machinery has to be stopped before they can be
taken away. These stone which occur with some frequency through the gravel, cause considerable trouble and
must be dealt with as best they can whenever met.
Already 40 cars of sand and gravel have been sent out from the new works though it was not ready to do its work
until last Friday afternoon.
Mr. O'Keefe has met and conquered many difficulties in the erection of his plant, but her was determined to build it,
because he knew the amount and quality of gravel in the land and the demand for it.
He will be able not to produce the only washed sand and gravel to be obtained in this section of the state.
Indeed, we do not know of any other such plant in the state.
1916 - Jun 29 - Arlington Gravel Pit
Down at Arthur O'Keefe's Arlington pit the gravel is washed and Arthur surley has some washing machin, says the
After much experimenting and many disappointments he has worked out a scheme where efficiency puts it best foot
forward and machinery does the work.
A 50 h.p. engine runs an 8 inch pump which sucks the gravel and water though 60 feet of 8 inch pipe, then raises it
35 feet into the air and squirts it against a screen.
The gravel slides down over the screen and lands in a stell gondola car while the sand and water pass into a flume and
down the hillside to a hole in the ground, thence pumped up over a 55 foot hill by a 75 h.p. electric motor down
into Lost Lake.
At first Mr. O'Keefe thought he would pump the sand across the Vandalia into Lake Maxinkuckee, but it only took a
few days to build up a town lot in the lake, and had he kept this up he would soon have built a farm. So he turned
the nozzle in the other direction and now is making Lost Lake deserve its name by filling it with sand.
It is interesting to watch the way in which the cars are placed under the screen. The siding slopes from the main
track and runs down under the screen and on down into the pit. When a engine sets the cars into the siding the
brakes are locked and cars left standing above the screen. When a car is needed, the brakes are released and it
runs by gravity down the screen.
Talk about efficiency!
Four men and two horses wash and load 35 yards of gravel in 45 minutes.
1923 - Jan 10 - Notice. - Having bough the O'Keefe farm and gravel pit, parties desiting gravel will please notify
Walter or Mildred Busart
1927 Aug 17 - A new bucket loader with a capacity of a yard a minute has been put into operation by George
Gusart and son at their gravel pit