The way to the next stop on the trip, Crested Butte, passes Marble, CO. Having the time, I ventured in. A tiny town of 100 or so folks, Marble is home to the Yule Marble Quarry. Some of the purest marble in the world, snowy white with almost no gray streaks, Yule marble makes up the Lincoln Memorial, The Tomb of the Unknowns (from a 56 TON block) and a skyscraper in S. Francisco.
It’s nestled along the Upper Crystal River Valley, a little slice of heaven in the West Elk Mtns:
A Google Maps Satellite pic of Marble, CO You can drag it around to see the landscape. Mountainous. Must’ve been a rough life in the 1800’s!
Now home to a handful of folks and a summer tourist destination, Marble started out in 1899. Three quarries once extracted the stone from the hills. By 1915 the town thrived with an estimated 1500-4000 folks, mostly skilled Italian marble workers. It was the third largest industrial city in CO. Imagine! The market for marble collapsed during the First World War. All closed. Toda, a Canadian-based company mines a bit and, despite the high costs of transporting it, ships marble throughout the world.
Of note, Yule Marble is the CO state stone.
Photo of the original FINISHING MILL, from one cool website:
This website has OODLES of great pics, new and historic, from Marble.
Seems bad luck plagued the mill. One avalanche nearly wiped it out. They got smart and built a giant wall of blocks. Then, a fire nearly wiped it out. Marble firewalls and concrete floors went in. The developer of the mill died jumping off a runaway train. Yeesh!
Only scraps left of the mill. The town’s made a park with a self guided walking tour. The numbered signs are scarce so it’s tough to know what you are walking through while reading the brochure. Maybe I should contact them?
A chunk o’ marble cast aside:
Remains of a firewall:
Only critters inhabit the mill these days, here a marmot and a magpie:
Bits of metal debris litter the ground in places. Light gauge tracks, a pulley, bolts, not much else. I read most all metal and valuable parts were sold off for ww2 use. Hard to believe such a HUGE building and operation is gone!
Left and headed to Crested Butte to meet up with an old friend. The rest of the drive was gorgeous, more to come!