A highly respected Rocklin family is the Ruhkala family which was associated
with the local granite industry for over three quarters of a century.
The progenitor of this family was Matt Ruhkala who was born in Kalajaki Finland
on April 25,1869, the second child and only son of a family of three children
born to Peter and Louisa Ruhkala. Matt was brought up on his father's farm,
attended common school and was confirmed in the Lutheran faith. He left for
America when but nineteen years of age via England, landing in New York City
from whence he proceeded to Wisconsin. There he worked for six months before
moving to Rock Spring, Wyoming where he worked in the coal mine for a short
Matt Ruhkala arrived in Rocklin on February 5, 1889 and immediately found work
in the thriving granite quarries. Beginning as a quarryman, he worked his was up
until he understood every phase of the granite business. He was especially noted
for being a first class stone cutter, having learned that trade thoroughly at
Rocklin and San Francisco as an employee of the Raymond Granite Company.
Mr. Ruhkala married Eva Ericson at Berkeley (see picture below) and they became
parents of eleven children: Marian, Rachael, Abner, Gideon, Benjamin, Ruben,
Melka(Betty), Ruth, Roy, Marshall, and Margaret.
In c. 1904 Matt Ruhkala established the locally renowned Union Granite Company
on leased ground at the old Meyers quarry. Later (1919) he he removed his
operations to the former A.O. Wickman properties on what is now Ruhkala Road.
Matt Ruhkala continued in the granite business until 1932 at which time he
retired. His sons: Abner Gideon Ben and Ruben Carried on in their father's
footsteps. In 1935, they acquired the former Pernu ( California Granite Company)
property near the intersection of Pacific Street and Granite Street (Rocklin
Road) which they continued to work under the family name, Union Granite Company,
until their retirement in 1977.
Matt Ruhkala died on August 25, 1945 at the age of seventy six. He was survived
by his wife, Eva, and eleven children. Mrs. Ruhkala died in December 1966.
From: Rocklin: Past, Present, Future by Leonard M. Davis. Published by the
Rocklin Friends of the Library, Rocklin Ca., 1981.
Matt and Eva
The following information was provided by Rubin and Roy Ruhkala, both sons of
Matt, on November 1, 2001.
The original Ruhkala quarry, operated by the family from 1893 until 1903, was on
land adjoining the Rocklin Cemetery to the South and now covered by Interstate
80. The second Ruhkala quarry, operated by the family from 1903 until 1919, was
located near Granite Drive and Rocklin Road.