Thomas H. Erb opened a limekiln on his farm just southwest of Lititz, Pennsylvania, in the middle of rich deposits of limestone. This site remains the location of what is now Rohrer’s Quarry. Many kilns served Lancaster County, which was almost entirely agricultural at that time. They supplied farmers with lime for their fields and whitewash for their barns and fences. There were no paved roads or buildings constructed of concrete at that time. These two developments will eventually change the operation’s focus. Limestone was quarried by hand from a small pit and loaded into the kiln’s funnel-shaped interior alternated with layers of wood. The contents were burned for one to three weeks and then left to smolder. When cooled, the white, soft chunks of lime could be removed and pulverized for spreading on neighboring farms.
Times were changing by the early 1900s, and most limekilns in the area were being abandoned in corners of fields. The one Thomas Erb built was used until 1945. It didn’t disappear, but served as the hub for a developing industry.
Thomas Erb leased the family business to his son, Thomas Jr., who then took on Paul Rohrer as a partner. Paul owned some trucks and had done hauling out of the quarry as a customer. Before long, the new partners bought the business. They changed the company’s focus from lime production to crushed stone because of the demand created by an increase in road construction at the time.
The first complete crushing plant was installed in the quarry hole. That first plant was changed in 1953 and improved again several years later to turn out 200 tons of crushed stone an hour.
Thomas Erb Jr. sold his part of the business to Paul Rohrer. A few years later, it became Rohrer’s Quarry. Paul’s sons, Donald and Wilbur, joined the business and brought new ideas to the quarry operation.
A ready-mix concrete plant was constructed at the site, as Lancaster County was growing rapidly as was the demand for concrete as a building material. A three-yard manual batch machine and the company’s three mixer trucks produced 18 cubic yards of concrete per round, a small amount by today’s capabilities, but a bold business move in the early 60s. At the same time, a second quarry was opened across the road.
An entirely new plant and crusher was built, increasing production to more than 500 tons per hour. Improvements to the plant and additions to the fleet continued.
A $2 million plant was constructed for expanding production of agricultural products, as well as introducing specialized products for foundries, co-gen power plants, shingle manufacturing and specialized sands.
A computerized concrete batch plant – capable of batching 12 cubic yards of concrete at a time – was installed. The ready-mix concrete fleet of trucks was increased to more than 24.
A new 15,000 square-foot shop was added for maintaining the large quarry equipment and growing fleet of mixers and dump trucks.
Donald Rohrer retired.
Chet Crouse is killed in a motorcycle accident.
A state-of-the-art concrete batch plant is built.
A concrete reclaimer/recycler system is added to concrete batch plant.