A New Hampshire company has purchased the Westbrook Quarry from long-time owners Blue Rock Industries.

The sale marked the end of an era for the quarry and for the Westbrook family that has owned it for the last half-century.

As of last month, the Westbrook Quarry, across from Kohl’s and Shaw’s plaza, is no longer owned by the Hinman family and Blue Rock Industries. Seeking to focus their company in a different direction, the Hinman family, sold the quarry, which includes sites on Spring Street as well as Main Street totaling 63 acres.

The family also sold its other remaining assets, which included three asphalt plants (Westbrook, Leeds, and Gray) and a fleet of more than 40 shipping trucks to Pike Industries of Belmont, N.H. The family’s only remaining asset is the Stone Center on Spring Street, which specializes in granite products for the landscaping and kitchen counter-top markets.

The purchase of the Westbrook Quarry provides new owner Pike Industries with a quarry close to its asphalt plant located in Portland, which has up to this point gotten its stone from Pike’s quarries in Poland and Wells. It also provides Pike with a fleet of trucks and enables the company, which has up to this point focused more on state and municipal contracts, to break into the commercial market with Blue Rock’s already well-established history there.

A spokesman for Pike Industries said it does not foresee any changes in the operation of the quarry or even in its personnel. The two companies have always been in a similar line of business, and the purchase of the quarry represents an extension of the business Pike has always done.

“We are very excited about the transaction,” said Randy Pike. “Blue Rock has been in business for a long time, has good people, and we hope they stay on and enjoy it.”

Pike Industries is one of the oldest purveyors of aggregates for the New England construction industry. The company was established in 1870 as Pike’s Improved Concrete Company by Luther M. Pike of New Hampton, N.H. Since then, it has grown to over 1,300 employees in five states producing more than five million tons of asphalt and over eight million tons of aggregate each year.

“Pike Industries is a company that intends to stay in the community for a long time, and the former Blue Rock employees are very happy to have the opportunity to continue to do our jobs and serve the same customers,” said Bill Blais, former CFO of Blue Rock and now controller for Pike’s Maine operations.

For its part, the Westbrook Quarry remains the longest-running and most successful quarry in the greater Portland area, if not in Maine. Purchased by Blue Rock industries in 1942, the quarry began life as an open gravel pit. In the early 1940s, workers screened sands and smaller rocks from the pit for use in concrete and roofing materials, while crushing the remaining larger pieces into various smaller sizes for other uses.

Soon after, however, diggers encountered ledge rock, the blue-gray stone refined by a crushing process for use in pavement and asphalt. Since then, the quarry has been one of the best sources of aggregate (stone crushed to various sizes for use in asphalt or pavement) in Maine and a major asset for Blue Rock Industries, one of the state’s largest providers of stone and construction products up to now.

A Maine-owned and operated business, Blue Rock was established in 1920 by W.H. Hinman, who named the business, aptly enough, the W.H. Hinman Company. The company began with two horses and some carts, wheelbarrows, hand picks, and shovels.

In 1930, after a name change to Blue Rock Industries, the company secured the first of several lucrative contracts – a seven-mile stretch of the Maine State highway and the largest road-construction contract at that time ever sold by the state.

From the 1940s through the 1960s, Blue Rock won a number of wartime contracts with the Army and Navy and also many contracts for airports, railways and shipyards, becoming one of the largest suppliers of aggregate in the state.

All during that time, and in the years since, stone for these ventures originated at the Westbrook Quarry. In fact, the stone used in some of the state’s largest construction efforts has come from the quarry.

Over the years, the Westbrook Quarry has supplied stone for much of the Maine Turnpike and all of the aggregate for I-295 through Portland; the nuclear power plant in Seabrook, N.H.; the Tukey’s Bridge across the Casco Bay in Portland; the Portland Jetport main runway; and a host of other projects.

As of yet, the sale of the quarry has not been formally announced by Pike Industries, which is a public entity and must follow certain procedures before going public. Particulars of the sale will most likely be available in the near future.

Equipment at the Blue Rock quarry in Westbrook.

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