"Beautifully variegated marbles exist near the head of navigation on the rivers, particularly on the Cahawba, and in Talladega county. Some of these marbles are buff-colored, filled with organic remains, some white and crystalline, and some are black. Statuary granite, said to be the best in the United States, and marble of a superior quality, are found in Coosa county."
1830s through Present Day – the Alabama Marble Industry History presented in the Encyclopedia of Alabama.
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“Mr. G. Moretti, the well-known sculptor, who has used the Alabama marble extensively in his art, has the following to say concerning it:
“‘The color of the white marble of Alabama is brilliant and full of life with a creamy tone that gives a lustrous transparency, making our marble far more beautiful than the Italian. The Alabama marble has a uniformity of texture most satisfactory and pleasing for sculpture.
“‘The location of the marble region and the ease with which the marble can be quarried, together with the vast amount of the deposit will make it possible to sell the second and third grades for building and architecture at a price easily and successfully competing with foreign marbles and we will be able to sell our finest white marble for prices reasonable enough to make it possible for artists to execute their work in the material that gives to them their greatest beauty.
“‘I read in the International Studio remarks about a very beautiful Greek head recently acquired by the Metropolitan Museum. I have examined the head and many Greek works and I feel sure the beauty of the antique marble is not so greatly due to the aging of the marble as is usually supposed. I think the Greek marble was originally a cream color and that the artists of the time were greatly inspired by the beauty of their material. I have so often met with the objection from many people loving art who say, ‘Oh, but the marble is so cold, now if it only was warm and rich looking like the antique.’ But the Alabama marble is just that, it was warm and lustrous and its creamy transparency makes it marvelously life-like.
“‘Architects who have been fortunate enough to know the Alabama marble are already demanding it and the marble is destined to be preferred on its own merits.’”
“Because of the peculiar structure of Alabama marble, and the fact that many of the layers are not of very great thickness, by far the greater portion of it has to be sawed practically parallel with the beds. There are white marbles which can be sawed in any direction with equally good results, but this is not true of Alabama marble. Where it is used in heavy pieces, showing ‘returns,’ this involves especial consideration and selection of stock, which must always be carefully attended to.
“The marble saws with about the same faculty as Italian marbles, and experience so far indicates that the best abrasive is sand. While it can be sawed more rapidly with crushed steel or shot, as the marble finds its principal use in interior work, the presence of shot and crushed steel in it is objectionable for reasons well known to every marble manufacturer. For the benefit of the layman, it may be explained that a slab with a little bit of shot or steel adhering to it, going through subsequent processes, is almost sure to be badly scratched at a later stage when it is otherwise almost finished. This necessitates re-finishing and a reduction in thickness, which often disqualifies the slab and causes its rejection.
“Nothing very unusual is required in handling Alabama marble except a perfect familiarity with the stone and an instinctive knowledge of how to use it so as to produce a satisfactorily uniform effect, notwithstanding the somewhat erratic distribution of the clouding and veining. In the various finishing processes, cutting and turning are the only ones that present special difficulties, and these difficulties are practically eliminated by the use of carborundum, instead of steel tools. Owing to the greater hardness of the marble, it probably costs somewhat more to cut it, even with carborundum, but the marble itself has a margin of superiority over most of its competitors which enables it to bring, on the whole, a little higher price, which in general, should be sufficient to offset the increased cost of working....”
Talladega County is the major source of marble in Alabama. It occurs from the Coosa River to southeast Talladega in a narrow outcrop belt, which is referred to as the Sylacauga marble belt. Marble can also be found in the following Alabama counties: Talladega, Bibb, Calhoun, Clay, Coosa, Etowah, Lee, Macon, St. Clair, and Shelby. Marble can be found in many colors including white, pink, gray, red, or black in color.
“Marble is a metamorphic rock consisting of fine- to coarsegrained recrystallized calcite (limestone) or dolomite. Marble may be white, pink, gray, red, or black in color, depending on the impurities in the original limestone or dolomite. In Alabama the major source of marble is in Talladega County, where it occurs in a narrow outcrop belt from the Coosa River to southeast of Talladega. This area is known as the Sylacauga marble belt. Marble in the Sylacauga area is known for its high-grade crystalline texture, whiteness, and beauty. Marble from Sylacauga has been quarried, cut, and polished for over 160 years for use as monument stone and building stone throughout the state and the country. The state's marble has been used in buildings all over the United States. Sylacauga marble has also been used in numerous works of fine art. Sylacauga marble is now marketed primarily as a filler, agricultural soil conditioner, and micronized marble, which is shipped as a slurry for use in paper pigment and coating. Crushed marble also is used for textiles, paints, electrical insulation, and plastics. Since 1900 approximately 30 million tons of marble have been quarried in Sylacauga. Marble is plentiful in the Alabama counties of Talladega, Bibb, Calhoun, Clay, Coosa, Etowah, Lee, Macon, St. Clair, and Shelby. One site in Talladega County is 200 feet thick. Marble became the state rock after the legislature passed Act No. 755 in 1969.”
"Our attention has been called to a custom and practice among certain individuals and corporations engaged in the quarrying and mining business which, to our minds, calls for the severest condemnation, and should be a ringing appeal to the legislature for relief, says the Birmingham, Ala., News. 'It appears that certain mine and quarry operators deduct or detain out of the monthly wages of their employees every month 50 cents if a single man and $1 if a married man, for house rent, 50 cents or $1, as the case may be, for insurance, and like amounts for a physician and a school teacher. It also appears that the house-rent money is deducted and held back, whether the employe (sic) lives on the operator's property or not. If he owns the house in which he lives, or if he rents it from some one else, still he must pay the operator his monthly house rent. This seems to us to be extortion, pure and simple. In some instances the physician's or school teacher's fund each aggregate $600 or $800 a month. The operator employs a regular physician for $125 or $150 a month, and a school teacher for alike amount. We are not informed what disposition the operator makes of the funds, but we have no reason to believe that it is donated to any charitable cause. These are such gross outrages and impositions on the laboring man that we believe the legislature should in some way correct and remedy the evil.'"
“Sylacauga marble,” presented on Wikipedia.