Yule Marble Quarry

Colorado Stone Quarries, Inc.
1 Marble Quarry Road
Marble, CO 81623
970-704-9002

kimberley@coloradostonequarries.com

"New Beginnings" by Ron Bailey. See more photographs by Ron Bailey at www.RonBaileyPhotography.com
 

  • History
  • Frequently Asked Questions:
    • Are quarry tours available?
    • Is the walking path still available to view quarry operations from the top?
    • Why is there so much marble dumped over the edge near the quarry?
    • How long has the quarry been open?
    • Where does the marble that is in the Load Out area go?
    • Can blocks or pieces be purchased?
    • Does the quarry work all year long?

History

The clean white marble deposits of the Yule Creek were first discovered in the late 1870’s. Minor quarrying occurred between that discovery and the early 1900s. Major development occurred in 1905, when Col. Channing Meek, with some help from the Rockefellers, raised $3 million to develop the Colorado Yule Marble Quarry. (That is $50 million in today’s dollars.) Some of the words used to describe the marble deposit were “gigantic, remarkable, flawless and immense.” Boosters proclaimed: “The marble age is here.” Dreams were big for Marble.

Soon large numbers of blocks began coming down the 3-mile long wagon road to the town of Marble. The quarry elevation is 9,500 ft, and is cut into a very steep mountainside. Mine development was not easy, and even in the present day, with newer methods and transportation, remains a challenge.

Photo courtesy of Ben Adams ©
 

The marble fabricating mill was located in the town. It became the largest of its kind in the world. The mill had many challenges. On March 20, 1912, the Mill was completely destroyed by a huge snowslide, but by the summer of 1912 the Mill was back in business. Late in the summer of 1912 Colonel Channing Meek, the visionary quarry superintendent, was killed when he jumped from a runaway trolley as it hurtled down from the quarry. In 1913 and 1914 the large marble pillars that remain today were constructed as support for the overhead crane, which helped increase production. However, by mid-1917 many of the Italian and Austrian workers had returned to Europe to fight in World War I. On April 2, 1925, a huge fire consumed 900 lineal feet of the large structure, and was stopped by the firewall that still exists today. In 1929 concrete flooring was installed, and cement with that date is still visible.

Between 1905 and 1915, the owners made little money. The 1905 financing was done with 10-year maturity bonds. In 1916, the owners faced a huge problem – how to raise the money to renew the bonds. Glowing projections of 10 years earlier were never realized, even with the selection of the Yule Quarry marble for the Lincoln Memorial in 1916. Efforts to refinance the company failed. After the last of the Lincoln Memorial stone was shipped in 1917, the operation shrank and barely limped along until it closed in 1941.

Photo courtesy of Ben Adams ©
 

In 1931, stone from the Yule quarry was selected for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

When the quarry closed in 1941, the infrastructure in Marble was considered obsolete. With war looming, and scrap steel prices high, quarry equipment, including trolley line, the fabricating plant and power plant was stripped of usable steel and sold for scrap. Most people moved on, and Marble became essentially a ghost town. The quarry was re-opened in 1990, and has gone thru a number of owners. In 1999 Rex Loesby , Sierra Minerals Corporation, of Denver re-opened the quarry to provide valued materials for Veteran Administration contract for the national cemetery headstones.

Mr. Loesby sold the operation to a Quebec-based company, Polycor Stone Corp – Colorado Stone Quarries, Inc. in April of 2004.  Polycor operated the quarry until December 2009, when it was closed due to the economic crises in North America.  During that time material was shipped to a sister company, Georgia Marble, or to a company slab and tile plant in Quebec, CA, for slab and tile for the North American Market.  A large percentage of production was sold to an Italian client for export to Italy to supply the European market.

In October 2010, Mr. Enrico Luciani of Carrara, Italy, purchased the operation, and production started again January of 2011.  The focus is to change quarry methods to reflect the Carrara, Italy quarrying techniques.  Mr. Luciani exports to Italy, and other European and Asian markets.  Polycor retains purchasing rights to supply the North American market.

Contact:  Kimberley Perrin at the telephone or e-mail above.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are quarry tours available?

No.  Tours may be available in the future.  Compliance with the increased restrictions and requirements from the Mining Safety Health Administration (MSHA) must be met by all visitors.  The quarry is an underground operation – you cannot see it as you would an open pit.

  • Is the walking path still available to view quarry operations from the top?

Sorry, that would be a no again. THERE IS NO ACCESS TO THE QUARRY. The viewing area at the quarry is closed permanently due to dangerous conditons. Federal regulations prohibit public access to active mining property. Unauthorized persons who trespass onto quarry property will be prosecuted. The quarry will prosecute any person injured while on quarry property.

  • Why is there so much marble dumped over the edge near the quarry?

The blocks that are dumped are either fractured, or contain undesirable characteristics that are not marketable. Yes, scrap stone can be purchased. Contact Kimberley Perrin at the Colorado office: 970-704-9002.

  • How long has the quarry been open?

The quarry closed in 1941 because of the war. It was re-opened in 1990, and has gone thru a number of owners. It is now owned and operated by Colorado Stone Quarries, Inc.

  • Where does the marble that is in the Load Out area go?

Most of the blocks are shipped to Italy or other European/Asian clients.

  • Can blocks or pieces be purchased?

Blocks can be purchased from the company. Contact Kimberley Perrin at the Colorado office: 970-704-9002.

  • Does the quarry work all year long?

The quarry is open 12 months a year. During the summer the hours are expanded. Winter operations must consider the avalanche conditions on the road leading to the quarry.