Stone Discoveries: Statuary Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln sits, enthroned, in his memorial. The seated figure depicts a colossus of history: one who united, amidst its greatest struggle, a nation divided. I am appropriately humbled, as though in the presence of an idol. But the Lincoln Memorial, the definitive Beaux-Arts masterpiece of the great architect Henry Bacon, and his final project – enthralls me for another reason… I am taken with the striking luminescence of the imposing marble exterior.

This material is, in fact, very special. Owing to the localized geology of the quarry near Aspen, Colorado where the stone, now known as Statuary Lincoln, is produced, the material is 99.5% pure calcite. As a result, it bears a complex and unique grain structure with a smooth texture, as well as that brilliant glow that captured my attention. To help make this material more readily available to the A&D community, I traveled to Marble, Colorado, to visit the storied Yule Marble Quarry.

Yule Marble, of which Statuary Lincoln is the highest grade, was discovered in the Crystal River Valley in 1873 by Sylvester Richardson, a geologist. Prospector George Yule rediscovered the material one year later. Samples were cut, polished, and taken to Denver, but they generated no interest, and so the marble became lost once again. Ten years later, prospectors digging into Whitehouse Mountain for silver and gold entered the Treasure Mountain Dome and discovered a thick marble vein. Thus began the transition of a mining town to one of quarrying marble. While nearby Crystal and Schofield were virtually abandoned, this town, later to become known simply as Marble, was thriving, as it still is today.

Quarry Workers Hitching a Ride

Quarry Workers Hitching a Ride

As I descend into the working quarry, the surrounding atmosphere is mystic; the sights I behold: breathtaking, stunning, and unique. I see large, white marble walls, walls bearing that distinctive glow of the material produced by this quarry: dramatic of aspect, stunning, and immense. To the ceaseless hum of quarrying equipment, saws and generators, I begin to explore, as though in a plane removed from the realms of reality. In the Yule Marble Quarry, I find myself in a one of a kind place unseen, I know, and unheard of, by most people.

The grandeur of the quarry, and a sense of its rich history, flood my senses. I am guided through this maze of earthly treasures to the Lincoln Gallery: named for the inimical memorial of which its material is constructed, it is a large section of the quarry that is unlike any other, producing a material that is undeniably beautiful and more consistent than most.

The natural stone currently on view at ABC represents only the finest rocks on Earth. Procured from 6 continents, ABC has truly moved mountains across oceans to bring the finest stone on Earth to the A&D community. Statuary Lincoln is among the most popular for the construction of monuments, including the Lincoln Memorial, for which it is named, the Washington Monument, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It has also been incorporated in a number of historically significant structures, including Hearst Castle, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and we are honored to bring it to you.

Structures incorporating Statuary Lincoln marble, and the quarry today:

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