The first commercial quarry on record was opened in 1827 near the town of Stinesville, approximately 20 miles west of Bloomington. Since then, Indiana's limestone industry has grown to supply the majority of all high-quality building grade limestone use in the United States. Additionally, the culture and heritage of limestone has permeated the area around the rich deposits of the high-quality stone, known as Salem Limestone.
The Indiana limestone industry developed primarily in and around the towns of Bedford and Bloomington in an area of south central Indiana roughly ten miles wide and 35 miles long, known as the "Stone Belt", which contains what geologists have identified as the Salem Limestone Formation. The Salem Formation is exceptionally deep - over 90 feet thick in some places. It is considered to be prime building limestone because of its extreme durability. It is also distinct in the world in its capacity for carving, due to its ability to accept and retain fine detail. In the Stone Belt limestone has been quarried out of the ground in huge blocks that can weigh up to 20 tons or more, taken to a mill where the stone is sawed, planed, turned by a lathe or cut into any shape.
Limestone Month, a celebration of southern Indiana's limestone heritage was created in 2007. Special events throughout the month of June include limestone quarry tours, architectural walking tours, carving workshops, exhibitions and other special activities throughout Monroe and Lawrence Counties. See our calendar for more information about Limestone Month events, browse through the site for interesting facts and stories about limestone, or contact the Lawrence County or Bloomington, Indiana Convention & Visitors Bureaus to request more information about the home of Indiana limestone.