Since 1895, Anderson Bros. & Johnson has been mining a dark red granite from its quarries in Wausau, WI, and is one of the oldest continuously operated mining companies in the U.S. In Fond du Lac, WI, Michels Stone has been mining dolomitic limestone from dimensional quarries for the past 75 years. Both companies are owned by Michels Corp. of Brownsville, WI — one of the largest, most diversified, utility contractors in North America, and the largest stone and aggregate producer in Wisconsin, operating more than 100 pits and quarries.
“We have experienced growth in large-scale commercial projects as customers come to appreciate the quality, consistency and accuracy of our work,” said Mike Formiller, Michels Stone manager. Combined, the two divisions of Michels Corp. have expanded their material mix to also include black granite, armor stone and rail ballast, all mined from 10 quarries. Anderson Bros. & Johnson and Michels Stone operate two stone plants that create custom material ranging from 90,000-pound blocks of granite to pieces of thin veneer for residential construction and remodeling.
While both companies are located in Wisconsin, they distribute products throughout North America. Anderson Bros. & Johnson sells to architects, landscape designers, developers, sculptors and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, while Michels Stone sells to architects, landscape designers, developers, builders and private customers.
“Wausau Dark Red granite is known for its quality and color consistency, making it possible to match stone that was mined decades ago with what is currently being produced,” said M.O. Bohrer, sales and marketing manager for Anderson Bros. & Johnson. “Dark red granite’s unique beauty has earned it a spot as Wisconsin’s official state stone. Much of it is sold in the form of rough blocks and sawed slabs for monuments, countertops and tile, but Michels’ granite is becoming increasingly popular in patriot memorials and other high-profile projects, including a recent installation at the United Nations building in New York City, a September 11 Flight 93 memorial in Union City, CA, and an Iraq/Afghanistan War Memorial in Buffalo, NY.” Michels Stone’s dolomitic limestone has been used at St. Norbert College in Green Bay, WI; Marion University in Fond du Lac, WI; hospitals in Green Bay and Appleton, WI; and private residences and commerical projects throughout the U.S.
Michels Stone’s full-production plant spans 20,000 square feet and contains five hydraulic breakers — three Hydrasplit 300s from Park Industries of St. Cloud, MN, and two Cee-Jay Tool Chris Cutter 350s from Cee-Jay Tool of Windsor, CO — and six diamond blade saws. They include a TXS-5500 ThinStone veneer saw, a Predator, a TB-90, a Jaguar bridge saw and a Jaguar II bridge saw — all from Park Industries — and a Cee-Jay Tool V30. Anderson Bros. & Johnson uses three diamond wire saws that can cut blocks that weigh up to 90,000 pounds and measure up to 20 feet long x 11 feet wide. The saws can produce bricks and slabs. Two of them are full-automated single-wire Pellegrini Stone Master 2000s, one that cuts vertically and horizontally, and one that cuts vertically. The other saw is a fully-automated Wilson diamond wire saw.
Michels Stone produces full-dimension building stone; thin veneer building stone; landscape stone for pathways, gardens, retaining walls and parks; specialty cut limestone for fireplace mantels, hearths and sills; and stone matched to existing buildings. Anderson Bros. & Johnson produces red granite, silver granite, black granite and quartzite for multiple uses, including monuments, sculptures, countertops, tiles, building stone, armor stone and crushed stone. Anderson Bros. & Johnson employs 20 people, while Michels Stone employs 40.
In the coming months, Michels Stone and Anderson Bros. & Johnson will be working toward obtaining the Natural Stone Council’s Sustainability Standard NSC-373 Certification.
Tom Ellias, general manager, looks for both of the companies to continue their growth in the future. “Michels Stone will continue to refine its operations to run at maximum efficiency without sacrificing the quality and accuracy for which it is known,” said Ellias. “Anderson Bros. & Johnson will continue to produce the stone necessary to meet demands. Both companies will also focus on promoting their stone as a natural, durable and American-produced product and will partner with other stone producers to promote the industry as a whole.”