Rockydale Quarries Corporation has operated in the Roanoke valley since
1932. It took its name from its predecessor, Rockydale Stone
Company founded in the early 1920's, which in turn was named for its
original location at Rockydale Heights in N.E. Roanoke.
owners, S.B. Pace and Vernon Gregory defaulted on a note during the
great depression, placing the small Mountain Trust Bank in a precarious
financial position. Russell Holman Willis, then chairman of the
bank's finance committee, an attorney by trade, took over the note which
was not fully repaid until 1948.
Rockydale operated at its original
location until 1938 where it was briefly moved to a site near Tinker
Bell off of Hollins Road and then operated from 1942-1944 on route 460
where Blue Stone Block is located today. From this operation
Rockydale moved to its present site, taking over an old State Penal
Quarry. Holman Willis Sr. remained as the corporation's president
until his death in 1954. He was succeeded by his sons Keith and
Gordon with Gordon Willis becoming president at Keith's death in 1968.
Gordon Willis remained president until his retirement in 1994.
At its present
location, Rockydale has produced approximately 50 million tons, most of
which has been supplied in the Roanoke market. In the early
1950's, part of the deposit was condemned for the construction of the
Blue Ridge Parkway and in 1967, part of the property was sold under
threat of condemnation for the construction of the Fishburn Parkway.
Rockydale was later annexed into the city of Roanoke in 1975.