One of the newest options for landscaping rock is a locally sourced product created by our own Missouri River — and thousands of years of geology.
The Missouri River rock has been made accessible by Capital Sand Co., which is using a new dredging process in old riverbed to get its sand. The beautiful byproduct of the sand production is colorful stone cobbles in sizes and varieties that have up to now been unavailable because they have been inaccessible.
Capital Sand president Steve Bohlken, a third generation rock and sand businessman, explains that the rock has been buried under the old riverbeds left as dry land after a navigation project straightened the Liberty bend of the Missouri River in the late 1940s.
Q. Is your company new to the Kansas City area?
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A. We have nine sand and gravel locations in the state. Until now, our nearest location to Kansas City has been Henrietta, which is close to Lexington. We acquired the local sites in December of 2016 and a second location in June of this year. Both are near the intersection of Missouri 291 and Missouri 210.
Q. Why did your company come to Kansas City?
A. We were looking for smart growth. The previous company had purchased a clamshell-style dredge. They had run the dredge for a little while but not produced a lot of material with it. We saw the opportunity with this pit and this equipment. We felt like it was good timing, and we could produce the decorative rock.
Q. What is a clamshell-style dredge and why does it make a difference?
A. The clamshell dredge allows us to go deeper and to get bigger rocks. The rock has been down there, but the old hydraulic-style dredge has not been able to pull it up. A clamshell dredge can go about 90 feet.
I’ve never seen this kind of dredge in Missouri. The previous hydraulic dredges can only go about 45 to 50 feet. They also cannot pull out the larger sizes of rock that we can get with the clamshell dredge. This rock has never been able to be mined before. The clamshell dredge is a 16-yard single bucket that just digs down and drops the material. We process it from there.
Q. Where did the rock come from?
A. It is rock that has flowed down the Missouri River from other parts of the country — South Dakota, Wyoming. It has been sitting for years under dry ground after the channels and dikes put in the river actually changed the way the Missouri River flowed at the Liberty bend.
Most rivers only have one kind and color of stone in them. This is unique because the Missouri River is so large and so long, these stones have tumbled down here from long distances and from different geological areas.
Q. What size is it?
A. We have a variety of sizes, from pea gravel to boulders. We make a 3-by-6 inch cobble and a 6-by-9 inch cobble. We have a 2-inch cobble, which is hard to keep in stock because it is so good for landscaping in beds. There are boulders that could be anywhere from 12 inches to 3 feet in diameter and could weigh up to 1,000 pounds. The landscaping market has never seen this kind of volume in this type of stone before.
Q. Why is this rock good for landscaping?
A. It is really round and colorful. We see granite, quartz, sandstone and other varieties.
The larger cobble looks good in dry creek beds or where there is erosion. You can use it for edging. You can use it for a lot of different applications. The good thing about stone is that it doesn’t fade away. It doesn’t deteriorate. It doesn’t decompose. The rock is going to be there.
We also have pea gravel, which is good for playgrounds or under swing sets.
Q. How can someone get this stone?
A. We are delivering stone by the ton all over the region to landscaping companies. However, anyone with a truck or a trailer can come and pick up stone on-site.
We also have a delivery service. We can deliver anything from as small as a ton to 15 or 25 tons depending on what people need.
Most people want to come and look at it first. They have an idea of what kind of block they are looking for. People can match colors. This fall we are going to start having sorted bins of the different varieties and colors. It’s a really easy process.
Q. How does this stone look different from stone that you can get at other places, like say, House of Rocks?
A. It’s similar to that, but it’s more multicolored. Reds, grays, granite looking. House of Rocks will have something similar to that.
Q. How much does this rock cost?
A. It ranges between $35 and $60 a ton depending on size of stone.
Where to find them
Capital Sand Co. is at 4401 N. Cobbler Road, Independence. Hours are 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.-noon Saturday. For more information, call 816-743-7003.