125-Yr.-Old Mankato Kasota Stone Ceases Operations
Mankato Kasota Stone, known for its soft-earth toned dolomitic limestone used by buildings throughout the state and country, announced Thursday that it is shutting down after 125 years in operation.
A spokesman from Kasota Stone told Twin Cities Business Thursday that the business was forced to close after the recession slowed down construction, causing the local limestone market to take a hit.
The family-operated business was most recently led by brothers Robert and James Coughlan, the family’s fourth generation to run the company. The brothers bought the property from their father in 1983.
As a result of the closure, 15 employees were either laid off or transitioned to work at Capstone Press— a different Coughlan family business, which publishes children’s books—according to the spokesman.
T.R. Coughlan founded Kasota Stone in 1885, after he learned of dolomite limestone deposits in the Minnesota River Valley. He found a site with three veins that offered a variety of warm colors and went on to provide stone for builders, sidewalks, curbs, and bridges.
More recently, the company’s stone products were used in the construction of many University of St. Thomas buildings, the Nokomis library, and much of the surface surrounding Target Field, according to the Star Tribune. Kasota Stone supplied stone dealers throughout the Midwest and in California.
Robert Coughlan told the Mankato Free Press that the Mankato plant would be “mothballed” until another company took interest in the quarry. However, Coughlan said that he also leases quarry space to a company that breaks stone into aggregate, and those operations will continue.
The company spokesman said that the plan was for the Kasota employees to eventually transition to the family’s next venture, a silica sand mining project called Jordan Sands. But now the controversy surrounding silica sand mining has waylaid state approvals and delayed the permitting process, however, according to the company spokesman, Jordan Sands is now very close to attaining its final permits. The operation hopes to mine silica sand from quarries in Mankato and the neighboring Lime Township.