Marble is a metamorphic rock that forms when limestone is subjected to the heat and pressure of metamorphism. It is composed primarily of the mineral calcite and usually contains other minerals such as clay minerals, micas, quartz, pyrite, iron oxides and graphite. Under the conditions of metamorphism the calcite in the limestone recrystallizes to form a rock that is a mass of interlocking crystals. Due to the strength and density of the material, it is used for monuments, building details and components, counter tops and flooring tiles. The Tate, Georgia Marble Quarry is the world’s largest open pit mine for marble. With deposits over 2000 feet deep, one mile wide and two miles long, there is an abundance of material for years to come.
Tate GA. Marble Quarry
The first marble mine was found in 1830’s in Pickens County Georgia. The Native American Indians had been mining the marble for raw materials to trade. Out of the raw materials, they would make tools, weapons and ritualistic objects. In 1884, Col. Samuel Tate founded the Georgia Marble Company and leased out all the land that had marble on it. He then leased the land to others who then mined it. The marble was used for decades to construct many of the memorials and monuments in Washington, DC, including the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. The statue weighs over 175 tons and is comprised up of 28 pieces so it could be shipped in without tearing up the roads.
The assembly of the statue in 1920.
Along with the Lincoln Memorial, the Supreme Court building, the National Air and Space Museum, the East wing of the National Gallery of Art and many other buildings in Washington DC. Also the Wall Street Stock Exchange was built using marble from Georgia.
Ironically, when the City Hall of Atlanta was built in 1853, the use of Georgia marble had been contemplated but it was decided that it was an unproven material and opted to use marble from Illinois instead. When the capital was moved from Milledgeville to Atlanta, When the capital building was built in 1885-1889, only the walls and floors in some areas of the capital contained Georgia marble. The rest of the marble was brought in because it was cheaper and thought to be more reliable. They have since realized that all the state capitals could be built out of Georgia marble and there still be a surplus left over. The capitals of Minnesota and Rhode Island were built completely from Georgia Marble.
Rhode Island’s Capital