I recently selected a stunning marble for a client’s kitchen renovation. The quarry the marble counters came from is just twenty minutes away from the home – you can’t get more local than that! As I was watching the marble counters being installed, I was reminded of the long history that Vermont stone has. I lived just outside of Washington DC (in Northern Virginia) for years and frequently visited D.C. I long admired the architecture – and now I live in the state where much of the stone originated.
Marble and granite, which was once the bedrock of Vermont, in more ways than one ;), is found all over the world and in many places of high prestige and honor. None of higher honor than in our national’s capital, Washington DC.
The list of memorials, bridges, buildings, and monuments made wholly or in part from Vermont stone is long, as is the list of towns from which they came. For example, quarriesandbeyond.org records that granite now found in various DC building projects was quarried in Barre, Georgia, Woodbury, Dummerston, and Bethel. The marble used hailed from Roxbury Station, Danby, West Rutland, Dorset, and Pittsford.
Here is a look at some of my favorite buildings in DC:
Union Station (completed 1908) and adjoining Post Office (opened 1914): From unionstationdc.com: “The exterior of the Station was built of white granite from Bethel, Vermont. Although there were limitless quantities of the material, it had not previously been used for the construction of buildings. After his only son had been killed in a terrible railroad crossing accident, the owner of the quarry vowed that as long as he lived, the material would never be used for anything but tombstones. When the property passed to other hands after his death, Bethel granite was introduced as a building material. Union Station was the first major structure built of Bethel granite.”
Museum of Natural History (built between 1903-1910): The exterior of the two main floors are built with Vermont white granite from Bethel.
Arlington National Cemetery Memorial: “The world’s largest cemetery monument” can seat up to 5,000 people and is made entirely of white Danby marble, delivered in 450 train-car loads. The cornerstone was laid by President Woodrow Wilson in 1915 and it was dedicated in 1920. It cost $750,000.
National Gallery of Art (completed 1941): Floors made of verde antique marble from Danby. The pillars, made from imported Italian marble, were carved in Proctor at the Vermont Marble Company.
Jefferson Memorial (built between 1938-1943): Vermont Marble Museum’s website states, “The exterior walls and monumental columns are crafted from Vermont Danby Imperial marble, provided in 335 train carloads delivered from Proctor, Vermont. The exterior walls of the building reach 96 feet above the entrance with white marble columns that act as light baffles, softening the glare from outside while illuminating the interior with gentle reflected light.”
While my client’s kitchen counters are not doing anything quite as grand as her ancestors, she is standing tall in my client’s kitchen and will proudly be serving her family for decades to come.
All the best,