In 1947, John and Mary Stark came to the area from Camp Campbell, Tennessee, where they had operated a rock-crushing business for the U.S. Army. The Starks were offered the chance to own their own business and relocate to an area southwest of Girard. Once there, they produced agricultural lime; material used by local farmers to enhance crop growth, particularly for soybeans and corn. During the late 1940s and 1950s, the U.S. Government encouraged the use of agricultural lime to improve fertility of farmlands located in the so-called rain belt that included Missouri, eastern Kansas, Iowa, eastern Oklahoma, and much of the rest of the Midwest. Though Ag lime was a principal company product in the early years, more recently, materials used in construction and road material have become major materials produced and sold.
The Starks later expanded their business to include quarries in Farlington, Parsons, and Mound Valley. Over the next several years, additional quarry locations were established as the company experienced growth. Those locations included Jasper, Missouri; Miami, Oklahoma; and Coffeyville and Chetopa, Kansas. Later, in the 1970s and 1980s, competitive operations were purchased, which provided the company access to new markets. Companies purchased included Rock, Inc. and Carr Rock Products of Neodesha, with locations in Elk City, Altoona, Neodesha, and Fredonia; Benedict rock of Benedict; Harry Keith & Sons of Coffeyville, and O'Brien Rock of St. Paul. In 2010, Midwest purchased two quarry locations from Ash Grove Aggregates, located in Fort Scott, Kansas and Uniontown, Kansas. In 2012, Midwest purchased one quarry location from Cherokee Limestone, located in Cherokee, Kansas.
In 1968, John and Mary formed a partnership with George E. Nettels, Jr. and the company incorporated with the current name of Midwest Minerals, Inc. Nettels, Jr. currently serves as Chairman of the Board and his son-in-law, Steve Sloan, who came to the company in 1995, serves as President and CEO.
Midwest Minerals, Inc. entered the ready-mix concrete business in the middle part of the 1980s. The company operates five separate crushing operations that are portable and move from one location to another. Demand for crushed stone products is forecasted for each location and then subsequently crushed and inventoried. Midwest produces approximately 20 different-sized materials in addition to Ag Lime.
Recent highway construction work in Midwest Minerals' market area has prompted the company to embark on a substantial capital improvement program. Since the improvement project, new crushers, screens, conveying equipment and equipment for washing coarse aggregates have been acquired. Company management anticipates strong demand for specialized construction aggregates in the long-term future.
Today, Midwest Minerals' corporate office is located within the four-state community in Pittsburg, Kansas. There are over 95 employees who work in production and sales throughout southeast Kansas, northeast Oklahoma and southwest Missouri.