Marble Colorado

The town of Marble Colorado began much like any gold rush town.  Gold and silver were discovered along the Crystal River, prospectors arrived and erected tents and log huts.

In the late 1870's, a group of men in search of riches, reached the Crystal River area and started placer mining.

The settlement was first named Yule Creek, Clarence and then Marble City.  With minerals being very limited, the first quarry of the world's finest marble was discovered.

The marble deposit was found in 1882 by William Wood and W.D. Parry two miles from the town and named Whitehouse Mountain.

In 1900, the Colorado Yule Marble Company set up the largest marble finishing plant.  Experienced stone cutters were imported from Italy to ensure the highest quality of material.

In the beginning, transporting these massive blocks was a daunting endeavor.  Forty plus donkeys were fitted together in a "pack train" and the marble was moved down the mountain.

During the winter, sleighs would move the slabs down the same path the pack train had used during dry months.

As the marble chunks became bigger, wagon roads were built so that heavy freight wagons could haul the stone.  The first wagon road was built in 1905 up the Yule Creek to the quarries. 

The Denver and Rio Grande Railroad started hauling the marble chunks from Carbondale to destinations east.  This was a costly operation.

In 1906, the Colorado Yule Marble Company built the Crystal River and San Juan Railroad from Placita to Marble.  The rail line existed until 1942.

The early 1900's showed prosperity in the town of Marble.  Around 2,000 people lived in the town which had electricity, churches, schools, general stores,  pool halls, saloons and an early movie theater.

The new city had a water system, fire department, a newspaper and, on Sunday, the town instituted band concerts for the enjoyment of all.

The marble quarried from the Colorado mine was in demand all over the country.  The Lincoln Memorial was completely carved from the white mineral.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, was carved from a 100 ton block of Colorado marble.  This was the best monument quality marble block that has ever come from a quarry.

By 1912, production of marble began to wane.  High shipping costs and use of veneers and marble substitutes put the use of real marble out of the spotlight.

Then in August of 1941, a massive mudslide almost buried the town of Marble.  Main Street businesses were washed away, the bridge over Carbon Creek was smashed to bits.

The slide moved north to south and every street was filled with debris and mud.  The mill was destroyed and the quarry closed not long after the flood, never to reopen.

The trek to Marble is easy to visit.  Take Hwy. 133 from Carbondale, following the Crystal River, to the remains of the town of Marble.

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