My watch list  

Indiana Limestone

 Indiana Limestone or Bedford Limestone is a common term for Salem limestone, a geological formation primarily quarried in south central Indiana between Bloomington and Bedford. Bloomington Indiana has been noted to have the highest quality quarried limestone in the United States. Salem limestone, like all limestone, is a rock primarily formed of calcium carbonate. The limestone was deposited over millions of years as marine fossils decomposed at the bottom of a shallow inland sea which covered most of the present-day Midwestern United States during the Mississippian Period.



  Native Americans were some of the first people to discover Limestone in Indiana. It was not long before settlers used this rock around their windows and doors and for memorials around town. The first quarry was started in 1827, and by 1929 Hoosier quarries yielded 340,000 m³ (12 million cubic feet) of usable stone. The expansion of the railroads brought great need for limestone to build bridges and tunnels and Indiana was the place to get it. American architecture of the late 19th and early 20th century included a lot of limestone detail work on buildings but as architecture styles changed so did the demand of limestone. With the Arab Oil Embargo of 1973 the price of alternative building materials skyrocketed so Indiana Limestone remerged as an energy efficient building material.[1]

Salem limestone was officially designated as the "state stone" of Indiana by the Indiana General Assembly in 1971.[2]


Today Indiana Limestone is part of a high-end market. It is mostly used on the exterior of homes and commercial buildings. With the impact of acid rain it is not used in monuments as it was in the 19th century.


Buildings such as the Empire State Building, The Pentagon, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum feature Indiana limestone in their exteriors. Indiana limestone was used extensively in rebuilding Chicago after the Chicago Fire. The Neogothic campus of the University of Chicago is almost entirely constructed out of Bedford Indiana Limestone.

The campus of Washington University in St. Louis, both new construction and its original buildings, makes use of Indiana Limestone (along with Missouri Red Granite) in its collegiate gothic architecture.

The majority of Indiana University (Bloomington Campus) was constructed out of limestone.

All of the buildings on the University of Evansville campus are constructed out of Indiana limestone.

References and footnotes

  1. ^ History of Indiana Limestone. Retrieved on 2007-07-11.
  2. ^ Indiana State River and Indiana State Stone.
  • Indiana Limestone Institute of America
  • Photos of the now abandoned quarry where the Empire State building stone was taken.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Indiana_Limestone". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE