The History of our Illinois Gravel Pits

When it comes to quality aggregate materials, you can trust the team at Tri-Con Materials – we’ve been in this business since 1968, when our founder Richard ‘Dick’ Nelson formed Walnut Sand and Gravel with his brother, Ronald Nelson. Together they operated locations in Bureau, Putnam and Marshall Counties in Illinois, and operated gravel pits in Walnut, Hennepin and Henry. These pits provided top-quality washed aggregates that were used in asphalt, concrete and base material applications. An example of this is the concrete sand for pavement construction throughout Illinois pavement projects.

In 1992, Richard formed a new company, Tri-Con Materials (in honor of our working in three Illinois counties), with partners Steve Nelson and Steve Harmon. This union company was based at Serena in LaSalle County, at a facility that is no longer a part of the Tri-Con operation.

In 1997, we merged Tri-Con Materials and our historic entity, Walnut Sand and Gravel, and Tri-Con became our operating entity.

Our operations are now based at our Hennepin location, our largest active gravel pit on the Illinois River (and where our barge-loading facilities are found).

In the 54 years since Walnut Sand and Gravel was formed, and in the 30 years since Tri-Con was formed, we’ve made it our goal to provide the highest quality aggregate materials available from our gravel pit to our Illinois customers, when they need them and where they need them. As we move into the future and as new technologies determine how pavement projects are done, nothing will change about that operating policy. You can count on us for the best products, the best service and the best possible results.


Our management is comprised of professionals with deep understanding of the aggregate industry.

Steven R. Nelson


Steve Harmon


Jay Schenck

QC/QA Manager

Steve Kelly