Marble Institute of America (MIA) staff member James Hieb has authored a book about the sandstone quarries of Lorain County, OH. This region, known as the “Sandstone Center of the World,” has quarry beginnings in the early 1800s. During the height of its hey-day, several dozen quarries were active with over 2,000 individuals employed. At one point, Bob Hope’s father worked at the quarries as a stonemason and master carver. The book, entitled Sandstone Center of the World: Images & Stories of Quarry Life in Amherst, South Amherst, & Lorain County, debuted in June. It chronicles 160 years of a quarry industry that was the largest of its kind in the world. Sandstone from the Amherst area has, and continues to be used in building projects around the U.S. and Canada. This book celebrates the deep sandstone heritage of the region, features dozens of photos about quarry life and highlights the continuing quarry operations of the Cleveland Quarries Co. “Many families in northeast Ohio have a quarry story to tell, and the stories I have heard the past 15 years played a large role in the creation of this book,” stated author James Hieb. Stories told by Foyster Matlock, grandfather of Hieb’s wife Christa, are featured in the book’s introduction. Matlock spent 30 years at the Cleveland Quarries, and at 93 years of age, he is one of the oldest living retired quarry workers. Amherst quarry enthusiast Sally Cornwell wrote the book forward. She wrote, “Today, one cannot look into the depths of these (Amherst) quarries without a feeling of awe and wonder. If the wind is just right and you listen intently, you may hear the sounds of past generations extracting something beautiful from the earth, and the master carvers transforming sandstone into works of art.” Hieb also created a Web site,, to post pictures celebrating the quarries of Lorain County.

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