A Basalt Builing in Loa, Utah
Building Image
      This solidly built structure was originally the home of the Loa Co-op in the farm town of Loa, in south-central Utah. It was built in about 1912 by Henry Albrecht, whom the sign on the building identifies as "a prominent rock mason during the settlement of the Fremont River Valley".

      Mr. Albrecht certainly produced a striking structure from local materials. Most of the building is basalt (the black rock) with quoins or corner pieces of andesite (the lighter rock) (see below). Quoins are commonly used where the principal rock of a building is too weak or irregular in shape to make a corner, but that wasn't the case here; the basalt blocks would have made a good corner. Mr. Albrecht apparently used the lighter-colored rock on the corners simply for aesthetic considerations.

Stone Image
      Note also that Mr. Albrecht hammered the basalt and andesite into roughly rectangular blocks, a difficult task because both are very hard rocks. To enhance the rectangular appearance of the stone, he squeezed out linear protrusions of mortar, a common trick employed by masons desiring the appearance of rectangular blocks when working with irregular stone.

      The use of volcanic rock was dictated by Loa's geologic environment. Loa sits on the plain of the Fremont River, and the only nearby stone is Tertiary-age volcanic rocks to the west. In fact, Loa's name is a reference to Mauna Loa, the huge Hawaiian volcano of basalt, and at least one more modern building in Loa is faced with (but not built of) basalt as well. The photos below show a view of the basaltic hills above the town, and a hilltop outcrop of volcanic rocks.

Stone Image
Stone Image
      Mr. Albrecht's building was sold in 1931, in the heart of the Great Depression, for $350.00 by Mr. I. E. Wax to the Fremont Irrigation Company. Today it stands, rugged as ever, on the grounds of the Fremont Irrigation Company in Loa, and the sign by the door identifies it as the Fremont Irrigation Office Building.



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