Digging the I&M Canal was arduous work and construction was particularly difficult in Lemont because Dolomite limestone was found just below the topsoil. This discovery led to the development of quarries. Some notable buildings constructed of Lemont limestone include the Chicago Water Tower and Holy Name Cathedral. The quarrying industry declined near the turn of the century; the former quarries are now freshwater lakes that, along with the I&M Canal, are the key features of the Heritage Quarries Recreation Area.
The Herigtage Quarries Recreation Area (HQRA) is just a half mile east of downtown Lemont. The entrance is located at the end of Pruxne Street, which can be accessed from Talcott Avenue or Main Street. A large parking area is situated at the main entrance to the HQRA, on the south side of the Illinois & Michigan Canal. Four smaller parking areas can be accessed from the north side of the canal. There is no cost for parking.