“It's All About Marble,” Dorset’s Marble Heritage event to be held on Sunday, July 27th (2008) from 12 - 5:00 P.M. at the Dorset Historical Society, Bley House Museum, on VT-30, Dorset. The afternoon’s celebration will include Speaker’s Art Gilbert, retired geologist, Terry Tyler, Larry Becker, State Geologist, and Tyler Resch, author of “Dorset” as they focus on the history of the Dorset area’s quarries and marble industry.
Area sculptor Rosalind Compain will be unveiling a sculpture for the Dorset Historical Society made from the Plateau marble. Sculptors Fred X. Brownstein, Michael Fannin, Ryder Owens, Paul Hilliard, Karen Preissler, and Steve Storchwill will each have a block of Plateau marble to demonstrate the art of carving and will complete their sculptures for a Dorset Historical Society auction event to be held at a later date....”
“It’s All About Marble,” Dorset’s Marble Heritage will be free to the public and held on Sunday, July 27th rain or shine.
For more information about this special Dorset Historical Society event, or for general Dorset Historical Society information, please contact the Dorset Historical Society at (802) 867-0331.
The Dorset Historical Society has several publications available that contain very interesting information on their local abandoned quarries. A few of these publications include: (1) Dorset’s Marble Mountain, published by The Dorset Historical Society, Dorset, Vermont; (2) Three Easy Walks in Dorset to Historic Marble Quarry Sites All on Mts. Aeolus and Dorset, and each with impressive views: Gettysburg Quarry - overlooking the Dorset Valley; Folsom Quarry - with views over the Manchester valley; Freedley Quarry - views to the Green Mountains, Dorset Historical Society, 2005; (3) Walking Tour: Visit the historic village of Dorset, Vermont, Dorset Historical Society, 2004.
“Marble Quarries (in Dorset),” by Frederick Field, in The Vermont Historical Gazetteer: Magazine, embracing A History of Each Town, Civil, Ecclesiastical, Biographical and Military, edited by Abby Maria Hemenway, Vol. I. Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden and Essex Counties, Burlington, Vt: published by Miss A. M. Hemenway, 1868, pp. 189-190.
Marble Quarries, by F. Field, Esq. (Frederick Field)
“The Dorset Marble Quarries are, with two exceptions, located upon the different slopes of Æolus Mountain - some quite at the base, others at various distances up the mountain, the most elevated of which is 1400 feet above the valley.
“The strata of marble usually occur 5 to 20 of them together, resting one above the other with seams between them.
“These strata, or layers as they are called by the quarrymen, vary in thickness being from 1 to 6 feet, and usually run from the surface back into the mountain horizontally. With few exceptions each layer retains its own peculiar characteristics, such as color, thickness, texture, &c. as it is followed back from the surface; except that in going back there is a general improvement in the quality of all the layers.
“White is the prevailing color, with here and there varigations (sic) of blue. This marble formation is principally carbonate of lime, whilst above and below are strata of magnician (sic) and silicious lime stone, and other rock common to the Taconic Range.
“It is not known when the first settlers of Dorset discovered the mineral wealth of their township; certain it is, however, that beds of marble were known to exist long before their value was understood.
“The first quarry opened in Dorset was by Isaac Underhill, in the year 1785, on lands owned by Reuben Bloomer, and near where Dorset Pound now stands. This quarry is still owned by the Bloomer family. Here was heard the first ‘click’ of the hammer, and here was made the first ‘raise’; thus inaugerating (sic) a branch of industry which has made Dorset known throughout the Union. Mr. Underhill’s object was simply to procure fire-jams, chimney-backs, hearths and lintels for the capacious and rudely constructed fireplaces of those days; common limestone and slate had previously been used for this purpose. People 50 to 100 miles distant came for these beautiful fireplace stones, and considerable trade in them soon sprung up. John Manley and others soon embarked on the quarrying business with Underhill on the same ledge, though on the opposite side of the highway.
“Since the opening of this first quarry 8 others of importance have been opened in Dorset, which we will here name in the order of their opening, giving the names of the present owners, when and by whom each quarry was opened.
“Wilson McDonald & Friedley’s quarry opened in 1808 by Elijah Sykes, 12 quarrymen now employed. McDonald & Friedley’s quarry opened in 1810 by John Chapman & Abraham Underhill, 20 quarrymen employed. Gray and Briggs quarry opened in 1821, by Lyman Gray and others. Holly Field’s and Kents Vt., Italian Quarry, so called from its close resemblance to the foreign article, opened in 1835, by Chester Kent and Sam’l Fulson, 35 quarrymen employed. Holly Field’s & Kents, Extra White Quarry, opened in 1836, by Edmond Manly. Gray, Wilson, Sanford & Co.s opened in 1840, by Martin and George Manly, 15 quarrymen employed. Major Hawley’s Quarry opened in 1841, by Wm. J. Soper and T. D. Manley, 20 quarrymen employed. Fulson & Barnards Quarry opened in 1854, by Sam’l Fulson and A. J. Clark, 6 quarrymen employed.
“Of the above 9 quarries, two of them, viz: Gray & Briggs and the Bloomer Quarries are not now being worked. On the remaining 7 may be constantly heard the sound of the chisel and the sledge.
“Seven other openings have been made in valuable ledges in Dorset but they are not yet developed into fully remunerative quarries.
“The first channeling was done on the McDonald & Friedly Quarry in 1841, this process of cutting around blocks before raising them from their native beds is now generally practiced. The only tunneling as yet done, is upon McDonald & Friedlys’ Quarry it having been commenced there in 1859.
“The first Derrick erected in Dorset was by S. D. Manley, in 1848; 10 others are now in use. The first Marble Grave Stone ever finished in Dorset, is believed to have been the work of Jonas Stewart, in 1790, out of a slab taken from the Bloomer Quarry. Stewart was a manufacturer of slate and granite gave-stones, at Claremont, N. H. Not much was done in the use of marble, for this purpose, until 1808, when Elijah Sykes on opening his quarry, gave this branch of the marble business his chief attention, and since his day it has continued of the first magnitude.
“The early quarrymen of Dorset, for many years, labored under great disadvantages, for want of facilities to saw their marble. They were compelled to seek out those places, usually, upon the top or outer edge of the ledges, where the strata were seamy, or subdivided, by atmospheric influences, and could be easily split, or riven into sheets, of from 4 to 8 inches thick, each. These sheets were then hewn with the mallet and chisel to the desired shape for use. The more compact, and consequently better marble, in individual layers, 2 to 5 feet in thickness, could not be used at all, for the want of mills to saw it. The first attempt at sawing marble, in Dorset, was made by Spafford Field and Josiah Boothe about 1819 (some 30 years after the first quarry was opened. Three individuals put in operation a gang of saws, on the site now occupied by Major Hawley’s mills in South Dorset. This first mill was constructed in accordance with the best knowledge then possessed upon the subject, yet it could saw but little. About 1827, Dan Kent and Barnum Thompson erected mills which were improvements on Field and Boothe’s mill, though inefficient. So late as 1840, we find Edmond Manley’s mill, the only one successfully running in Dorset. Three or four small mills were running in Manchester, on Dorset marble, making in all what would be equal to about 6 gangs of the present style of construction, whilst at the same time 9 quarries were open, and being vigorously worked. The marble was finding a ready sale in New York, Bosto, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Cleveland, and intermediate points. The trade in Italian and Rutland marbles being then hardly commenced, the demand for Dorset marble was beyond the supply. Surface marble, which could be split with the wedge, always of poor quality, becoming more difficult to obtain, more mills to saw the thick layers were indispensable. The right mode of construction had now become better understood and efficient mills began to be built. Between 1840 and the present time, 7 mills have been erected in Dorset, all of which are now in successful operation. They carry, in all, 35 gangs of saws. Add to these, 27 gangs, now running, in Manchester, and we have a total of 62 (?) gangs, running on Dorset marble. They saw, annually, about 750,000 feet (2 inches of thickness being the standard of measurement,) selling for about $200,000, the present annual product of the Dorset quarries. These quarries are believed to be inexhaustible, and this annual product is limited only by the amount of capital invested in the business. This marble is now used in every State in the Union, and also in the Canadas. There are now employed, here, over 300 quarrymen and sawyers, mostly Irish and Canadian French, - the former largely predominating. The early quarrymen and sawyers were Americans, - so late as 1830 only three Irishmen were employed.”
“A syndicate composed of prominent Philadelphia and Baltimore marble contractors has been formed to operate the old marble quarries east and south of Dorset, Vt., formerly worked by D. L. Kent & Co. and S. F. Prince & Co. The property has been idle for two years.”
“The Freedley quarries include four openings: (1) The Tunnel quarry, opened about 1790, is about a mile west of Freedleyville, 1,160 feet above it, on the 2,040-foot level. It is on the east side of the southern and eastern spur of Dorset Mountain, in the town of Dorset. (See map, Pl. I, and map of Pawlet quadrangle, U. S. Geol. Survey.) This quarry has an east-west tunnel 160 feet long. (2) The Upper quarry, north of the Tunnel quarry, is also of very early date. (3) The Open quarry, begun in 1909, is about 500 feet northeast of the Tunnel quarry, begun in 1910, is over half a mile north of the Open quarry.
“Operator, Manchester Marble Co., East Dorset, Vt., also Graham Avenue and East River, Astoria, Long Island City, N. Y.
“The marble bed, as reported by the superintendent, include the following:
Section of marble beds at Tunnel and Open quarries, Freedleyville.
Marble, mostly banded with muscovite - 92 feet
Dolomite - 8 feet
Marble, white and gray - 70 feet
White marble - 45 feet
Micaceous bed - 1 foot
White marble - 44
Dolomite - 260 feet
“Mr. Moffit in 1900 noted the following section at the Upper quarry:
Section of marble at the Upper quarry, Freedleyville.
Bluish dolomite - 10 feet
Light-gray marble (“ Manchester blue”) - 26 feet
White marble - 4 feet
White marble (“mahogany bed”), including two 1-foot micaceous and quartzose beds - 10 feet
“At the Tunnel quarry Mr. Moffit observed a dolomite overlying 15 feet of coarse white marble. He reported 110 feet of marble in all, three-fourths of which was good. He also found the schist boundary a little farther north, 100 feet above the bluish dolomite.
“The marble of the Open quarry (specimen D, XXXI, 8, a, rough) is a translucent, faintly cream tinted coarse white calcite marble with a grain diameter of 0l.12 to 1, mostly 0.25 to 0.5 millimeter, and thus of grade 5. The “Manchester blue” (specimen M, V, 6, j) of the Upper quarry is a very light bluish gray coarse calcite marble with a grain diameter of 0.05 to 1.37, mostly 0.25 to 0.75 millimeter, also of grade 5. It contains rare minute quartz grains, a few stringers of fibrous muscovite and plates of muscovite, and cubes and spherules of pyrite, to the oxidation of which the cream tint is probably due. The “mahogany” (specimen M, V, 6, h) of the same quarry is a milk-white calcite marble of very irregular texture, with grain diameter ranging from 0.05 to 1.5, mostly 0.125 to 0.75 millimeter, and thus also of grade 5. It contains a few small quartz and feldspar (plagioclase) grains.
“A hand specimen (M, V, 6, m) from the 15-foot bed of the tunnel quarry resembles the white of the Open quarry. A polished specimen of the “white” (D, XXXI, 8, c) from one of the beds now worked is of extremely light bluish-gray color and of irregular texture, with grain diameter up to 2 millimeters. A polished specimen of the “cloud” (D, XXXI, 8, d) is of very light bluish-gray color with a medium gray dolomitic bed up to 0.2 inch wide and irregular gray spots near it. The texture is uneven and irregular, with grain diameter in the calcitic part up to 1.5 millimeters. Both specimens take a good polish, but the dolomitic bands project in minute relief. A specimen (D, XXXI, 8, b) of one of the micaceous beds consists of light bluish-gray and white calcite marble with grayish micaceous and pyritiferous lenses or beds, some not over 0.02 inch and others 0.1 inch thick. In thin section these lenses consist of fibrous muscovite and quartz with lenses and crystals of pyrite. The marble parts also contain a few quartz grains, muscovite scales, and a little pyrite.
“The older openings were made between two trap dikes about 200 feet apart. The eastern dike is about 6 feet wide, strikes N. 25° E. and dips 80° W. The marble beds are horizontal. Vertical joints strike N. 10° E. and N. 65° W.; others strike N. 30° E. and dip 65° E., and still others strike N. 20° and dip 60° W., which is not far from the course of the eastern dike.
“The marble is used for interiors and exteriors of buildings. Specimens: Soldiers and sailors’ monument, Riverside Drive; Drexel Building, southeast corner of Wall and Broad streets, New York.”
“The Imperial quarry is on the east flank of the northern part of Dorset Mountain, in the town of Danby, in Rutland County, a little north of the Danby-Dorset town line, about 700 feet above Danby station, or 1,690 feet above sea level, N. 60° W. of a conspicuous steep ravine in the Green Mountain range. For its general position see Plate I and map of Pawlet quadrangle, United States Geological Survey, and for the general form of benches and knolls of this side of Dorset Mountain, see Plate III, section A. The quarry, opened since 1900, consists of a tunnel running 160 feet in a N. 70° W. direction by 45 feet in a N. 10° E. direction and 50 feet high, with an offset 25 feet square on the floor level. Operator, Vermont Marble Co., Proctor, Vt.
“The marble beds here, as exposed in quarrying and core drilling, consist, measuring from the roof of the tunnel downward and making deduction for inclination of the bed, of about 192 feet of light marbles, creamy white, bluish white, mottled, banded, clouded, or gray in various alternations. Beds of marble 4 to 8 feet thick are separated by very thin beds of mica schist. In a now disused open cut above and west of the tunnel from 30 to 40 feet of light marbles are exposed. Here the schist beds are as much as a foot thick, are rather quartzose, and contain calcite crystals an inch across.
“The marble (specimen D, XXXI, 6, c, rough; a, cube; b, polished), ‘Danby,’ is a coarse calcite marble of faintly cream-tinted, somewhat translucent color with yellow-greenish-gray irregular streaks or mottlings which are much more conspicuous on the polished face than on the rough, or irregular texture, with a grain diameter of 0.07 to 1, mostly 0.17 to 0.62 millimeter, and thus of grade 5. It contains sparse quartz grains and some pyrite (rarely as large as 2 millimeters), some muscovite scales, and minute black specks. The greenish-gray streaks and clouds are due to muscovite and pyrite in very minute particles. The polish is good but is affected slightly by the composition of the little beds. The general texture of the marble is similar to that shown in figure 15.
“The beds strike N. 40° W. and dip 10° S. 50° W. In the open cut above the tunnel the marble is in open folds 50 feet in diameter, with a N. 40° E. strike. At the mouth of the tunnel cleavage planes (“reeds”) strike N. 15° E. and dip 35° E.; these decrease in abundance within the tunnel. Joints in upper beds of the open cut strike N. 33° E. and also less commonly N. 57° W., both sets being of steep dip. There is a 3-foot bed in the open cut full of “reeds” dipping 40° E. These are reported by the foreman as being less abundant in the micaceous beds.”
“The New York quarry is about one-fourth mile west of the Imperial quarry and about 240 feet above it (see map, Pl. I) and of more recent date. It has a tunnel 150 feet wide and 35 feet high running 215 feet southwest. The northeastern part of this tunnel has been deepened to 100 feet over a space 55 feet square; 125 feet north of this tunnel is another 40 feet wide and 20 feet high, running 80 feet southwest. This northern tunnel is shown in Plate X, B.
“The marble beds here include, in natural order:
Section of marble beds at New York quarry.
Dolomite (?) above tunnel - 10 feet.
White marble exposed in south tunnel - 35 feet.
Bluish, cream, white mottled, and light-gray calcite marbles in alternating beds, including three beds of dolomite (1 foot 8 inches, 1 foot 6 inches, and 6 feet) all crossed by drilling 105-
(Total) - 150 feet.
“The marbles are not essentially different from those of the Imperial quarry, described above.
“The beds are inclined 10° to 15° S. 15° W. This probably represents a very low, nearly west dip combined with a southerly pitch of the fold. At the north side of the southern tunnel is a dike of augite camptonite (see p. 72) 5 feet 6 inches wide with a N. 25° E. course and a dip of 65° N. 65° W. For a space of 80 feet northwest of the dike–that is, above it– the marble is crossed by many joints parallel to the dike, and these are crossed by another set, as shown in Plate X, B. Although the marble above the dike has been thus rendered valueless, that on the other side, under the dike in the southern tunnel, is sound. Fifty feet northwest of the northern tunnel another dike of augite camptonite only 2 to 4 inches thick cuts the marble with a N. 30° E. curse and a dip of 70° N. 60° W., and the marble for a space of 30 feet above and northwest of this dike also is much jointed.
“The marble of both the Imperial and New York quarries is used largely for construction, but some is suitable for monuments. The Chelsea Bank, Chelsea, Mass., and the Wheeler residence, Chicago, were made almost entirely of this marble.”
“The recently opened White Stone Brook quarry is on the east flank of the northern part of Dorset Mountain, about 200 feet above the most conspicuous bench or shoulder, the second one from below, and about 1,180 feet above the railroad in the valley. It lies about N. 80° W. of a steep ravine in the Green Mountain range, shown in Plate III, section A. The quarry is a little south of the Danby-Dorset town line, which is also the Rutland-Bennington county line, in the township of Dorset. It has a working face 78 feet high. Operator, Norcross-West Marble Co., Dorset, Vt.
“The marble beds exposed here and prospected by drilling are, in natural order:
Section of marble beds at White Stone Brook quarry.
Dolomite - 10 feet.
Gray marble - 10 feet.
White marble in beds 5 to 10 feet thick separated by 2 or 3 inches of schist - 68 feet.
Gray marble - 13 feet.
White marble - 3 feet.
Banded white and gray marble - 5 feet.
(Total) - 109
“The marble beds mostly alternate with beds of slickensided pyritiferous quartzose mica schist a few inches thick, the pyrite crystals elongated in the direction of slickensiding. This schist consists of calcite and vein quartz in lenses or beds alternating with fibrous muscovite, containing chlorite and lenses up to 0.25 millimeter thick, probably of some carbonate. In parts calcite, quartz, and sericite also occur mingled.
“The marble (specimens D, XXXI, 5, a, rough; c, d, e, polished), “White Stone Brook,” is a coarse calcite marble of faintly cream-tinted, somewhat translucent color, with fine yellow-greenish-gray streaks and spots hardly apparent in the rough but showing on a polished or rubbed face, and of very irregular texture, with grain diameter of 0.05 to 1.5, exceptionally 2.5 millimeters, mostly 0.25 to 0.75 millimeter, and of grade 5. An estimate by the Rosiwal method shows the average grain diameter to be 0.239 millimeter. The marble contains also sparse quartz in grains up to 0.3 millimeter in diameter, pyrite next in abundance, a few muscovite scales, rare grains of feldspar (plagioclase), and minute black particles of uncertain nature. The streaks and spots are caused by collections of these accessory minerals. This marble takes a good polish. A thin section of it is shown in figure 15.
“The beds dip in gentle undulations 5° to 10° E. In the front (east) part of the quarry is a trap dike, not studied microscopically, 3 to 4 feet thick, with a N. 35° E. course and a dip of 70° N. 55° W. Joints in the marble parallel to the dike and also fractures east of it, striking N. 55° E. and dipping 50° SE., deprive the marble there of value. The outer surface of the marble beds is also crossed by cleavage planes (“reeds”), striking N. 27° E., dipping 30° S. 63° E., and spaced 2 inches to 0.25 inch apart, which have the same effect.
“The product is used for construction.”