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The Missouri Marble Industry in 1925


“The Marble Business:  A Southern Industry,”

By Colonel John Stephen Sewell (Courtesy The Southern Banker)

in Throvgh The Ages Magazine, Vol. 3, No. 6, October, 1925, pp. 17-24.

“It took a long time to build up the necessary organizations of skilled workmen in the marble industry of the South, but it has been done.  The time is long past when anyone could fairly question the ability of the southern marble shops to turn out any sort of work, no matter how difficult it might be.  Most of the skilled workmen are natives of the South, so this industry is one of the many that have demonstrated that there is no lack of innate mechanical ability among them.  All they need is a chance....”


“In the southwestern part of Missouri, there is a geological formation known as the Burlington Limestone.  It is highly developed near Carthage and Phenix, and probably at other localities.  Certain strata in the Burlington formation are finely crystalline or crypto-crystalline and take a high polish.  In recent years, this stone, which is of a gray or buff-gray appearance, has been largely used as marble; it is, in fact, a monotone marble, as that term is used in the trade.

“It is much used for interior work; some parts of the formation yield an excellent exterior building stone, which is not specifically adapted for interior work.  Probably this formation was not completely crystallized, so that only some of its members are real marbles.

“The use of the marbles from the Burlington formation has grown very greatly in recent years; here also the tendency is to finish more and more of the stone locally, but the sale of blocks is on a large scale.  Here is another southern marble industry which has come to stay....”

“Of course, any industry is of the greatest possible value to its own locality when the raw material is worked into finished form at or near the point of production, because this results in a maximum of local disbursements for all purposes.  From this point of view, the marble industry is already an important factor in bringing new wealth into the South, and will become more important as time goes on.”

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