Happy New Year!
I want to take a moment to share exciting news from the Preservation Trust of Vermont. At the end of 2012, we were able to take the first significant steps -- the acquisition of the Museum collections and gift shop -- to keep the Vermont Marble Museum open and operating in Proctor, Vermont. The full story is detailed below.
Why do we care so much about the Vermont Marble Museum?
The Vermont Marble Company had an enormous impact on the built environment of our nation. Largely quarried or carved locally, marble from The Vermont Marble Company was used in the Jefferson Memorial, the US Supreme Court Building, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as hundreds of other monuments and memorials all over the world. The museum and archives hold the stories of these projects and the marble industry.
Keeping these resources in Proctor ensures that the story of this community and its people will remain local, and alive. The Vermont Marble Museum is located in Proctor, Vermont's only "company town." Founded in the late 19th century, the town was established and grew hand-in-hand with the Vermont Marble Company. For the people of Proctor today -- many descendents of the Italian, Swedish, Polish, German, Hungarian and other immigrants brought in to work in the factory -- this museum is their history.
Acting now will keep the Marble Museum a part of Vermont's future. The Preservation Trust of Vermont's goal is to acquire the museum building, transfer ownership to a non-profit organization and create a publicly owned asset. This will protect the museum collection from future risk and ensure that it will not be sold piecemeal to collectors around the world.
While we still have a long way to go, we are very grateful to all of our supporters who helped us to get to where we are today. Thank you.
P.S. We are continuing to accept donations to support the Vermont Marble Museum.
Click here to make a donation now!
|Vermont Marble Museum and the Preservation Trust of Vermont|
Located in Proctor, Vermont, The Vermont Marble Museum tells the story of what was once the largest marble company in the world and one of Vermont's most important industries.
In the spring of 2012, after many years of operations, the current owners decided to close the Museum and sell the collection. The Preservation Trust stepped in, hoping to raise enough money to purchase the entire operation with the ultimate goal of keeping the collection intact and finding a new non-profit owner to run the museum in its current location in Proctor.
As of December 31, 2012, the Preservation Trust had successfully raised $250,000 to complete Phase I of the project, taking a significant step forward on the path to saving this irreplaceable piece of our heritage. This phase includes the acquisition of the museum collection and displays, including the 2000+ rare glass plate negative collection, and the gift shop.
This is a miraculous turn-around from late November 2012. At that time, we announced that we had not succeeded in raising the $400,000 necessary to acquire the entire museum collection (displays, gift shop and archives). Fortunately the owners Marsha and Martin Hemm were patient, flexible, and willing to explore different solutions. In addition the Proctor Library, Historical Society, Selectboard, and School Board went to extraordinary lengths to raise the $150,000 to substantially fill the funding gap. The timing was challenging and while the $150,000 was not raised by the year-end closing, we are working to ensure that the archives and stone library are accessible to the public.
The Trust is grateful for support from the Johnson Family Foundation, Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation, the Walter Cerf Fund at the Vermont Community Foundation, an anonymous foundation, and many generous individuals.
| The Future of the Vermont Marble Museum|
The Preservation Trust is now beginning Phase II which includes raising funds for the acquisition of the museum building. To date, we have raised $125,000 of the total $480,000 needed towards this effort, thanks largely to a commitment from the owners and the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board. We also need to raise additional funds for insurance, engineering expenses, planning costs, interest expense and rehabilitation work on the building. We are hopeful that we can complete this phase by the end 2013. Click here to make a donation now.
Additionally, we are actively seeking a new non-profit owner and operator for the museum. Click here to download a Request for Letters of Interest from nonprofit organizations interested in owning and operating The Vermont Marble Museum.
The future of the extensive paper archives and the stone library - samples of marble from all over the world - is still under negotiation, but we are confident that the resources will be accessible to museum visitors.
For more information, please contact Paul Bruhn at the Preservation Trust of Vermont: (802) 343-0595 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here to read the recent
| The Vermont Marble Company History|
Reportedly the largest museum in the world dedicated to the production of marble, the Vermont Marble Museum is located in what was once the main manufacturing plant of the Vermont Marble Company. During its heyday between 1880 and the 1930's, the Vermont Marble Company grew to be not only the largest marble manufacturer in the world but one of the world's largest companies. It employed over 5000 people, had offices in most major U.S. cities and owned the rights to all the marble in Vermont, Tennessee, Colorado and Alaska. Vermont businessman and politician Redfield Proctor, Sr. founded the Vermont Marble Company in 1880 when he merged several smaller Vermont marble manufacturing operations into one entity.
The Town of Proctor, established by an act of the Vermont legislature in 1886, was carved out of what was once the Town of Rutland to serve as the Vermont Marble Company headquarters and company town. Most of the laborers and management lived in Proctor and the municipal buildings, ancillary industrial and office buildings as well as the bridge across the Otter Creek were all made of marble. The town is still dominated by the large manufacturing plant located at Sunderland Falls, which once provided the waterpower to drive the machinery.
The company expanded rapidly until the 1930's when demand declined due to the Great Depression. During World War II, the equipment was modified to produce metal for the war effort but marble production resumed after the war. In 1950 the Company manufactured the marble for the United Nations headquarters in New York City, one of the largest commissions in its history.
The Vermont Marble Company's facilities in Proctor were purchased by OMYA, Inc. in 1976, but after gradually divesting itself of many buildings in Proctor, OMYA, Inc. moved its headquarters to Ohio in 2007.
There are prominent buildings and monuments made from Vermont marble all over the United States and the world including many significant Washington, D.C. structures including:
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- US Supreme Court Building
- Rayburn House Office Building
- Russell Senate Office Building
- Arlington Memorial Amphitheater
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier - the marble sarcophagus came from the company's Colorado quarry but the carving was done in Proctor and the tomb base is Vermont marble
- National Gallery West Building - includes Vermont marble on the interior
- Union Station is constructed from Vermont granite with a Vermont marble base
- U.S. Capitol - West Elevation Balustrade
- Memorial Continental Hall - DAR Building (on the Ellipse, adjacent to the White House)
- District of Columbia War Memorial (WW I)
- Washington DC Municipal Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave.
- White House Remodeling, 1950's
- Lincoln Memorial - Marble form the VMC's Yule Colorado Quarry
- Arlington Memorial Bridge
- Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
- US Department of Agriculture, North Buildings
| The Vermont Marble Museum Today|
The museum began as an exhibit and show room for Vermont Marble Company's products. Today the museum includes:
- Large panels of marble from the Vermont Marble Company's quarries in Vermont and elsewhere
- An exhibit on the creation of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- The Hall of Presidents - relief sculptures of US presidents up to George Bush Sr.
- The Geology Room showing the formation of rock, including marble
- A rare library of marble samples from around the world
- Photographs of monuments, quarries and quarrying techniques
- A theater with two films - one on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and another on the history of the Vermont Marble Company
- Pre-construction mockups of sections of two well-known buildings made of Vermont marble - the U.S. Supreme Court and the Beinecke Library at Yale University
- Marble sculptures, a display on the "pointing" technique used to carve large images
- An exhibit on how crushed marble is used in everyday products
Also included in the Museum holdings, though not currently accessible to the public, are extensive paper archives and photographs documenting the early years of the Vermont Marble Company operations.
|Make a Donation Now|
We at the Preservation Trust of Vermont have a lot of work ahead of us in this upcoming year, and as always, we depend on your support to make it happen.
Make a donation now to help us raise the funds necessary to purchase the building.We appreciate your support!