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The Rocklin Historical Society is activelyย working to preserve a piece of Rocklin’s storied history, again. The current challenge revolves around the aging quarry sheds that were an integral part of the community’s early history.

Working together, the City, the Historical Society, and Community Volunteers have made noteworthy progress improving appearance of the Big Gun grounds and collecting artifacts.

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The two work-sheds (the last, to represent 150 years of Rocklin quarry operations) pose a greater challenge. The Saw Shed housed the huge Stone Saw – a reciprocating gang saw composed of six 16 ft. blades, built by the Fulton Foundry, San Francisco circa 1907. The second shed, the large Monument Shed, where granite was processed into final products, is the home of a spectacular 40 foot overhead Bridge Crane.

As they stand, the sheds are unsafe and in poor condition – prime candidates for demolition. However, there is a probability that the sheds, or major components of the sheds, can be preserved and used in a public or commercial setting – for example: in a quarry themed village.

At the request of the Rocklin Historical Society, the Big Gun quarry issue will be on the agenda for the Rocklin City Council meeting for 6pm Tuesday, September 13, 2011. The society will recommend that the plan to remove or demolish the Big Gun Sheds be altered to allow time for the Community to participate in determining the fate of the historic structures.

The only remaining structures of our granite mining industry will be lost forever if the current plan is carried out. Your show of support by attending the September 13 Council meeting can help save the sheds or, at least, help ensure the sheds are not removed without careful consideration.

Historical Society Statement of Principle
“In recognition of the historic importance of the 100 year old Big Gun Sheds and as the Sheds are the only remaining work buildings representing 150 years of Granite Mining at 61 quarrying sites in Rocklin, the Rocklin Historical Society respectfully requests that the City of Rocklin defer removal or demolition of the Big Gun Sheds for 1 year to reconsider the fate of these heritage structures in light of recent information. August 8, 2011”

Subsequent to the purchase of the Big Gun Quarry Site in 2010, a plan was adopted that would result in the removal of the historic Big Gun Sheds to make way for commercial development. The plan made sense as it was felt that the buildings could not be rehabilitated and, in any case, they would not be compatible with development envisioned for the Big Gun site.

This year a number of considerations have come to light suggesting that we relook at the plan that would result in removal of the Big Gun buildings: 

  • Citizen polls show that the community wants our historic structures included in downtown.
  • Professional opinions indicate that the Big Gun buildings can be rehabilitated.
  • New city staff and the community have brought new information and ideas to the project. 
  • Big Gun Structures could be anchoring elements of a Quarry Village commercial development.
  • We now realize that removal of the buildings prematurely, will limit the options available to potential developers – effectively eliminating consideration by those that would have incorporated the heritage structures in their project.

From both practical and heritage standpoints the advantages of allowing the structures to remain in place appear significant. We respectfully recommend that the City of Rocklin delay actions to remove the Big Gun Structures to: 

  • Allow time for the City and Community to review the current plan in light of new information. 
  • Allow City Staff and the Community time to investigate new concepts and funding options related to including the Big Gun structures in a commercial project. 
  • Ensure the structures remain available for use if a heritage based development is proposed for the site.

Finally, in the event in situ use of the buildings becomes clearly impractical, a delay can provide time needed for planning, careful disassembly and reuse of key structural elements in an alternate heritage setting.

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