2022 Mining History Association

 

Sylacauga Marble Tour

Tour Leader, Craigger Browne

Sylacauga, Alabama
June 26, 2022

 

PHOTO GALLERY
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The town of Sylacauga, in Talladega County, Alabama, is known worldwide for its marble, considered the whitest marble in the world.  The discovery of the marble deposits is attributed to Dr. Edward Gantt who accompanied Andrew Jackson through the area in 1814.  The deposit is part of the Murphy Mineral Belt and is 32 miles long.  The marble formation is 600 feet thick.  Quarrying began in the 1830s.  The Gantt Quarry, named for Dr. Gantt, became famous.  The town was originally called Gantts Quarry but was later renamed Sylacauga.  It came into its own as a center for marble production after the quarrying company was purchased by New York investors in 1906 and became the Alabama Marble Company.

 

In addition to its whiteness, Sylacauga marble developed a reputation for its for its lustrous quality and fine texture.  It has been used in many famous buildings and works of art.  Examples include Gutzon Borglum’s bust of Abraham Lincoln in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capital Building.  The ceiling of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, is made of Sylacauga marble because of its translucent properties.

 

The Sylacauga Marble Quarry produces the famous dimension stone favored by sculptors and for construction purposes.  The quarry is operated by The Alabama Marble, Mineral, and Mining Company (A3M). 

 

In addition to marble, a variety of products for agricultural, pharmaceutical, chemical, and other uses are produced from the pure calcium carbonate deposits.  Currently Imerys and Omya, Inc. operate plants in Sylacauga.

 

NOTE:  This page is a work-in-progress.  We need more photos.  If you participated on the tour, please share your photos.  You can send a message through the “CONTACT US” link on the front page of the MHA website.  Thank you.

 

(Above and Right) Historic and current views of Gantt’s Quarry, the famous source of Sylacauga Marble.


 




(Left and Above) Craigger Browne, Sculptor-In-Residence and MHA Tour Leader, discusses the works of art in the Sylacauga Sculpture Park.  At the left in both photos is Browne’s sculpture, “Sylacauga Emerging.”

(Above) Kathy and John Mandell explore the Sculpture Park.  The annual Marble Festival, “Magic of Marble,” is held in Sylacauga in August.

(Right) “Once upon a time…,” a 2014 sculpture by Craigger Browne memorializing Sylacauga Mayor, Curtis O. Liles, Jr.





Craigger Browne describes the many types of uses for Sylacauga marble.

The MHAers learn about the sculptor’s art in his outdoor work area.


Photos courtesy of Fred Barnard and Eric Clements

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