Bridging the past and future of Bluestone
With modern stoneworking equipment and historic quarry sites, Endless Mountain Stone of Susquehanna, PA, covers the full spectrum of Bluestone production
The company was established in Northeastern Pennsylvania by Robert Coleman, and the operation is currently run by his son, Butch. “My father had a background in the building stone business in the Poconos [of Pennsylvania], and he decided to move here and open a quarry,” Butch Coleman explained. “We kept growing, and in 1987, we brought the first automated bridge saw for stone into Pennsylvania.”
Coleman explained that Bluestone is technically a quartzitic sandstone, and that there were approximately 800 Bluestone quarries in the region — which includes Pennsylvania as well as New York State, near Binghamton, during the peak of the industry. The stone is formed in shades of blue and green as well as a variegated tone.
Endless Mountain processes a full line of Bluestone products, with a 50/50 mix of flagging versus dimensional stone elements, such as stairs, treads, veneer, signage and more. “We are one of the most diversified Bluestone producers out there,” Coleman said.
Typically, irregular flagstone ranges from ½ to 2 ½ inches thick and measures anywhere from 2 to 6 square feet per piece. Cut dimensional paving ranges from 12 x 12 to 36 x 36 inches, and tumbled stone paving is available in random sizes as well as standards such as 12 x 24 inches or the 2-inch-thick tumbled “variety pack” of interworking pieces.
The company also offers thermal-finished material, typically 1 and 2 inches thick, as well as radial-cut pieces.
Endless Mountain has 20 quarries sites that it leases or owns. All are within 25 miles of the processing facilities, and all but one are in Pennsylvania. In extracting the stone, flat saws are used to make a series of vertical cuts, forming a grid, and then, using the natural breaks in the stone, blocks are lifted from the ground — similar to the way brownies are lifted from a pan.
Blocks of Bluestone weigh 10 to 15 tons on average. “The best blocks are used for specialty products,” Coleman said.
“We are one of the most diversified Bluestone producers out there,”
Robert Coleman, founder of Endless Mountain Stone
The quarries operate year round, and special measures are taken in handling the stone in lower temperatures. “In colder months, we have to keep the stone inside and heated, or it will freeze,” Coleman said. “We have wood stoves that are fueled by discarded pallets.”
Blocks of stone are sawn to workable “billets” size using large-diameter saws, including models from Park Industries. From there, a range of processes and equipment is utilized, depending on the finished product. “For all of the products, it is a labor-intensive process,” Coleman said.
Further cutting of the billets is executed using a Park Jaguar II bridge saw. Wall stone is split using a Park Industries Hydra-Split, and certain types of flagging is hand split. For thermal-finished products, Endless Mountain Stone has an automated flaming machine, and some pieces are flamed by hand. For very specialized cutting, the company has a waterjet from WardJet in place. Material is maneuvered around the various processing shops using vacuum lifters from Anver as needed.
Over the years, Endless Mountain Stone has become a leader in tumbling natural Bluestone, and it has a range of equipment at its facilities for this purpose. “We brought in our first tumbler in 1992,” Coleman said. “A lot of the material that we tumble used to be discarded.”
One of the largest tumblers at the operation is 11 x 5 x 14 feet in size. “We’ve had it for about nine years, and it’s been great for us,” Coleman said. “It has a water door, where we can add water, and it gives the stone a softer look.”
The company also has a series of vibrating tumblers, and all of the tumbling equipment at Endless Mountain Stone are from Right Manufacturing of Orem, UT.
The company has a total of 35 employees, including the office, yard, production and transport, and the processing operations take place over four 10-hour days per week. “Most of our workers are in the shops,” Coleman said. “We do a lot of cross training. Our quarries are actually worked by independent contractors.”
Sales and marketing
Business has been on the rise for Endless Mountain Stone. “For the past 18 months, customers have been going for added value,” Coleman said.
“We are selling a lot of landscaping and steps, along with tumbled pavers and variety packs,” added Linda Hermann of Endless Mountain. “We’re also doing a lot of specialty work. Some of it is through stone yards, we’ve also done work for colleges, like Princeton University, we cater directly to them.”
One of the company’s notable projects at Princeton University was Whitman College, which required 5,000 tons of Bluestone veneer as well as 30,000 square feet of thermal paving. Other collegiate work has included Duke University, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Rutgers University and Johns Hopkins University.
In addition to the Northeast, where Bluestone is a signature material, Endless Mountain has supplied high-end residential and commercial work across the country, including large cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston and Seattle.