WHERE ON EARTH?
Weird and Dead Stuff

       

WHERE ON EARTH?
Weird and Dead Stuff

       

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THE VERMONT MARBLE EXHIBIT & MUSEUM

The largest marble company in the WORLD (100 exhibits, 27,000 square feet).  The earliest marble was quarried in 1836, followed by other marble companies.  In 1870 Redfield Proctor took over and brought this company into prominence once he became a Senator and drove business to his company by building monuments in Washington D.C. (I'm sure you could NOT legally do that today!!)  Buildings made with this marble include the U. S. Supreme Court, Jefferson Memorial, the Supreme  Court, the Arlington Memorial Amphitheater & cemetery markers at Arlington Cemetery, and the rotunda columns in the National Gallery of Art.

Proctor, VT

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This left-hand photo is 18,500 pounds of Verdi Green Marble.  The right-hand photo is Glenn in the entryway of 188,521 pounds of the famous white marble.  Wow.  What a start.

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The museum was created from a wing of the original factory, so the flavor of this industry and its history is preserved.  We recommend visiting this place highly.

www.vermont-marble.com

Overhead view of one of the marble quarries in Vermont

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Archives photos of the marble quarries all around Vermont.  A photographer documented the story of marble in Vermont from 1890 to 1935.
A view showing the depth of the quarry

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The original mill showing slabs being processed.  This is where the museum is

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Many slabs of marble lined up, ready to work with, or ship by rail

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Horses pulling pallets of marble

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Carving the cemetery markers for Arlington Cemetery, from the Civil War, eventually through Vietnam

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Making the huge marble columns typical of the Supreme Court building

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Look at the size of a single slab.  I wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of this if it falls!  I would be two dimensional.

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Look at the catwalks and ladders that show the size of the quarry!

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This part of the quarry actually undercuts the building.  OSHA anywhere?  Nope.

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Cutting the blocks of marble, huge!  (1903) The Danby Quarry produced the Supreme Court Building, the Jefferson Memorial, and the Senate office building

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The support pillars in the mine are 30+ feet tall

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Marble Yard. Blocks of marble awaiting fabrication, fresh from the quarry via rail.

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West Rutland Quarry, 1900.  Note the tools on the floor, and the height of the quarry that makes people look miniature

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Finishing Shop, 1942, Proctor VT.  A dedication sign being completed in memory of Ida Helen Timme.

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District of Columbia War Memorial

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Alaska quarry, 1932

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The special crane required to put thousands of tons of marble on the Clarendon & Pittsford Railroad cars

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The Clarendon & Pittsford Railroad (1886) moves the marble from the quarry to the factory.  All 7 of the locomotive engines are lined up here.

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INSIDE THE MUSEUM
Near the entryway, samples of the colors of marble processed here (red, white & green marbles are native to Vermont)

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Large panels of marble: Mariposa Danby, Champlain Black, Royal Danby

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Large panels of marble: Imperial Danby, Verde Antique, and Montclair Danby

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There are more than 100 large panels of polished marbles displayed from around the world in another area of the museum.

Gray marble with orthoceras fossil inclusions, we usually only see in Moroccan marble

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A kitchen setup, showing how the white & Verde green marbles is used today in the home:

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The kitchen counters & walls are Vermont Verde Antique, a serpentine marble.  They can be custom ordered

Boy & girl on a swing, circa 1900, marble

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The 3 Dancers in marble

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Statue of man & woman, white marble

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Religious statues, this is just one small section, there were MANY

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An ornate sculpture of a structure, the museum says this is not a building but a model of possible styles.

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MARBLE CHAPEL

 Built in 1934, the Chapel is made of many varieties of Vermont marble that are no longer quarried.

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The Last Supper bas-relief was carved by Italian sculptor F. tonelli, in Proctor, in the 1950's.  Replicas of this were commissioned by churches all over the U.S.

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Madonna in marble.  Beautiful does not describe it.

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HALL OF PRESIDENTS

A multi-decade project to honor our country's leaders.  Each past U.S. President has been hand carved in bas-relief out of Vermont Danby White and Vermont Statuary White marble from West Rutland.  President Clinton in the center is a work in progress.

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President John F. Kennedy

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More info on the marble sculptor, Renzo Palmerini, that sculpted most of all the presidents:

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THE GEOLOGY ROOM

This unexpected room includes a Triceratops named Raymond excavated in 1996 from North Dakota

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.. and fluorescent minerals shown under long & short wave.  Even my camera picked up the beautiful rich colors.

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CEMETERY  MARKERS

Tens of thousands of cemetery markers were made from Vermont marble here, including those for American soldiers at Arlington Cemetery in Washington D.C.  The markers made date from the Civil War, Spanish American War, WW I & II, Korea, and Vietnam, shown here.

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Industrial uses for marble?  Paper coating & filler, food additives (safe because it is calcium), toothpaste, inert filler for pills, plastics, paints, cement, from Huggies to hockey pucks!  The countertops & bathroom vanities that feel like stone? Composite marble (ground up)

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Even the restrooms at the museum were splendidly made from marble.  What a treat.

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Vermont Marble Office.  Original office furniture & this original punch clock, circa 1870 

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Resident Sculptor Allen Dwight with his abstract marble sculptures throughout the museum.  We met & spoke with him.  His work is reminiscent of Inuit soapstone carvings we saw in Alaska.  Graceful and meditative.  They are all for sale.

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Stacked marble abstract sculptures

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Assorted small display sculptures

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Shark shaped abstract

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A brain on top!

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Bowing human

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Abstract human shape

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A carved marble shell display on a fireplace mantel

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Green Vermont marble "Freeform" with etchings, by Allen Dwight $8,000

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I particularly liked this face (freeform, $600)

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A "balancing rock" abstract style with other smaller marble sculptures

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Beautiful textures & color in this green abstract sculpture

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RARE MARBLE SAMPLE ROOM
The Vermont Marble Company started collecting samples of fine marble in the early 1900's.  Many are now discontinued and quite rare, and include U.S., Italian and many other countries' marbles.  Glenn is in front of a cabinet with smaller samples, just as beautiful.

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Here are panels of marble samples filling this entire room.  Wow.

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U. S. SUPREME COURT MOCK-UP

Created for the architect of the U.S. Capitol between 1932-1934, prior to building the Courthouse in Washington D.C.  The marble used was Vermont Danby Imperial White, Vermont Verdoso, and Dark Rutland

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RETAIL STORE
A huge, gorgeous retail store within the museum, lavishly using marble everywhere.  Marble products from around the world are sold here.

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Three marbles are local: Vermont Verde Antique, Vermont Danby White, and Vermont Swanton Red.  We found marbles of two (white & green), but not of the red marble (as in the cheese cutting board below).  This actually prompted another drive (see below).

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FINDING THE SWANTON RED MARBLE

We checked the Vermont Marble Trail booklet we picked up, that directed us to many of the things made from Vermont marble all over the state (bridges, buildings, etc).  We found the "Barney Mill & Factory" way at the top of the state in Swanton VT in the book, as the center of where the Swanton red marble was cut & processed from the 1850's till the 1930's.  It was worth trying, though people looked at us a little weird to be going there, a small town without a lot of attractions for tourists. Well, tourists we are not.

We drove through Swanton an did not immediately see a site for the Mill.  We crossed the bridge, stopped at the Swanton Lumber Co. for information.  We were directed to the oldest employee (John) whose grandfather worked at the mill in the 1930's until it closed.

He told us to drive back over the bridge, make a left into a small park where we could access the riverbank where cut pieces from the old mill upstream might be found.

There we found a set of blocks of Swanton marble right there in the park.

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We immediately found cut pieces of all three marbles (white/gray, green and the Swanton red) there on the riverbank, 

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Gray/white on the left, and the great Swanton Red marbles

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and indeed, huge buried boulders of the red marble too.  If we'd driven our own van instead of flying and renting a car, we would surely have dug up this boulder to take home.

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Here is a wider view of both sides of the riverbank, the right-hand photo shows the bridge we came across.

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 So we drove back to the Lumber yard, and presented John with a nice specimen of cut Swanton marble as a thank you for the directions.

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He also directed us to a church in town that is completely made of rough-hewn blocks of the Swanton red marble quarried right there in their town.  An appropriate ending to a successful hunt!

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And we found white marble with grey veins right beside the road and the waterfall next to the American Precision Museum in Windsor, VT

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HOW TECHNICAL DO YOU WANT TO GET?

Here's the scoop on what marble is...

Marble is a metamorphic rock resulting from metamorphism of sedimentary, carbonate rocks (limestone or dolomite).  This process causes a complete re-crystallization of the original rock into an interlocking mosaic of calcite, aragonite and/or dolomite crystals. The temperatures and pressures necessary to form marble usually destroy any fossils and sedimentary textures present in the original rock.

Pure white marble is the result of metamorphism of very pure limestone. The characteristic swirls and veins of many colored marble varieties are usually due to various mineral impurities such as clay, silt, sand, iron oxides or chert which were originally present as grains or layers in the limestone. Green coloration is often due to serpentine contact. These various impurities have been mobilized and re-crystallized by the intense pressure and heat of the metamorphism.

Comparative weights & measures of marble to sandstone, brick, coal, water, ice, glass, brass, steel, wrought iron, silver lead, gold and platinum (thanks to the Vermont Marble Museum display):

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