We had wonderful weather for our exploration of Pipestone National Monument in Pipestone, MN. It is amazing to see these quarries and see the amount of Sioux Quartzite rock that was removed by hand with only hand tools to expose the pipestone. We were not fortunate enough to witness the actual mining of the pipestone, but did speak with the artisans inside that were carving pipestone and working with sumac to form the pipe stems.
I won’t ramble on with the complete history of this very interesting place. Just let you imagination wonder while viewing the photos of what it must have been like in a different time. If you want to know more, visit Pipestone, MN and see it first-hand. The National Park Services has a wonderful website about all things in Pipestone, MN.
Catlinite (also called pipestone or pipeclay) is a type of argillite, usually brownish-red in color, which occurs in a matrix of Sioux quartzite. Because it is fine-grained and easily worked, it is prized by Native Americans for use in making sacred pipes such as calumets (Fr: “hollow reed”) and chanunpas. Pipestone quarries are located and preserved in Pipestone National Monument outside of Pipestone, Minnesota, in Pipestone County, Minnesota, and at the Pipestone River in Ontario, Canada. ~Wikipedia