Stuart Perry was born in 1892 in Winchester. As a boy, Stuart helped his dad on their farm until he was old enough to go to work for the B & O Railroad. Sometime in the mid 1920’s, Stuart went into business for himself, as a private contractor working for the city of Winchester installing concrete sidewalks. He expanded into larger work like the building of the Winchester Cold Storage Building. At that time there was no quarry in the Winchester area, so he had to import the stone he needed by way of rail from Martinsburg, WV.
In response to this need, at about the time of the Great Depression he started quarrying stone behind his home just east of Kent Street on what he called the City Quarry. As the city began encroaching around him, and in response to within-city-limits blasting concerns, Stuart moved to the Route 50 site in 1936. At that time Stuart sold the city quarry to Winchester and he leased the surrounding property to the city for one-hundred years. The city of Winchester has since filled in the old quarry site and continues to use the property in what is known today as the City Yard.
During the 1920’s and late 1930’s Stuart operated with two crushers, a primary jaw and a secondary hammer mill. During this period times were very hard – there was little work and very little money.
Times I hope we will never see, The Great Depression.
Things did start to pick up in the mid 1930’s. Stuart began to plan changes in the crushing plant. The hammer mill was replaced with a Norberg 4&1/4 Cone and an additional two more cone crushers and a separate screening unit for each crusher. Production more than doubled.
About the time things start to “rock”, another little slow down came along; “World War II.” During this period of time, new equipment could not be found, you had to make do with what you had or find used equipment. All machinery manufacturing went toward the war effort. The second generation of Perry’s joined their father during this period but their employment with their dad had to wait until the end of WWII. Thurman and Mickey both served in the Army while Buck joined the Merchant Marines.
After WWII, the demand for building materials increased substantially. The demand for stone production also increased. During this growth period, one of the materials in high demand was ready-mix concrete. Stuart Perry Inc. produced stone for the concrete but did not have the means to produce the sand needed to complete the mixture. The local concrete producers had to import their sand from Fredericksburg, Virginia. So, this need for sand in the immediate area led to Stuart’s decision to build a sand plant on the grounds of SMP Inc.; this plant was called the Kent Plant. The sand plant was composed of five Kent roller mills, two Kent air separators and two 4ft. by 12ft. two deck screens. The Kent Plant was actually two separate plants with two Kent mills in one and three in the other. Each mill could be run separately and had a capacity of 6 tons per hour each.
During this period the second generation of Perry’s (Thurman, Mickey Sr. and Buck) began working with their dad. Thurman, the oldest son, worked predominately in the construction side of the business; Mickey, the middle son, worked in general administration, sales and the trucking side; Buck, the younger son, work with quarry operations.
Increases in production during that period were mainly due to more efficient mobile equipment and better drilling and blasting techniques.
Stuart M. Perry Timeline
- 1950 The 1st asphalt plant was purchased from Blue Ridge Asphalt Comp. The plant was purchased to settle a debt the owner owed to Stuart Perry Sr. for stone.
- 1963 Finished the RT 50 project and the last construction phase from Hayfield Rest.—RR tracks at Gore. The RT 50 project did not proved to be profitable so this is when it was decided—no more construction projects.
- 1960 Construction began on I81, SMP did only the “on /off ramps.”
- 1960 SMP purchased a small, portable Cedar Rapids AsphaltPlant.
- 1960 Cedar Rapids plant sold and removed.
- 1972 New asphalt plant was purchased with a 6 ton capacity.
- 1995 Berryville asphalt plant purchased.
- 2006 – Stuart M Perry put a new 2006 Gencor asphalt Plant in Berryville VA to serve Jefferson and Loudoun Co.
- 2013 – We purchased an Astec Double Barrel plant to put in our Front Royal Location.