Perhaps best known for its stunning application on the ambitious Lincoln Memorial project, Yule marble’s impressive resume in fact boasts dozens upon dozens of highly demanding and very high profile commissions
From Los Angeles to New York, Oregon to Texas, and a great many points in between, have no doubt, there is (or perhaps sadly, was) a Colorado Yule Marble edifice somewhere near you.Colorado’s brilliant white State Rock is unique to the narrow rugged valley of Yule Creek, 9,300 feet above sea level, high amid the jagged peaks of the Rocky Mountain’s Elk Range, three miles above the remote mountain town of Marble. Needless to say, quarrying what many within the industry today are beginning to regard as ‘the most desired, most sought after, and most expensive marble in the world’, under such intense alpine conditions, presented the early miners-turned-quarrymen with a fierce set of challenges.
The long Rocky Mountain winter proved a particularly vexing problem. Aside from the bitter wind, the deep iron-hard drifts, and mind-numbing cold, these hardy pioneering quarrymen were always on the lookout for potentially deadly snow slides, mud slides, and the occasional dislodged bouncing boulder.
Such was the nature of the operation that as the quarry grew, so did the effort required to get the stone to market, as each and every block had to be hauled up out of the quarry, and then gently lowered down to the awaiting electric tram. The longer this went on, the further each block had to travel: up and out of the ever deepening quarry, over and down the mountainside to the awaiting rail car.Now however, with the quarry in experienced Italian hands, thankfully many of the problems that plagued operations in the early days are long since resolved. The once crippling costs of transportation for instance are a thing of the past. Huge, uniform blocks are whisked directly from the quarry face, to be gently placed upon interstate flatbeds able to reach any major city in the nation.The once arduous task of cutting-out the rectangular marble blocks is now undertaken by $700,000 Fantini cutting machines, specially imported from Italy for the purpose. Furthermore, the quarrying now takes place within the confines of neatly extracted rectangular chambers utilizing a process producing remarkably little in the way of quarry waste, leaving the nearby Crystal Rives as pristine as the name implies.At long last, the once splendid Colorado Yule Marble Company’s prized marble quarry is back in business, and how! Well-financed, experienced, and with a marble boom set to see Yule make a splash on the global stage, to the point where many in the industry are currently echoing what we at the Unique Marble Company have known all along: that our local Yule is indeed of ‘the very finest quality commercial grade marble in the world’.In many ways the current revival itself echos that of 1905 When The Colorado Yule Marble Quarry formed part of an incredibly well organized and ambitious plan that was to become known as the ‘Integrated Operation’. With visionary foresight the idea was to integrate all aspects of the quarry, transport, sorting, cutting and shipping under the governance of a single system. Showing supreme skill, confidence and care, these intrepid marble pioneers fashioned a system that took the marble out of the quarry via truly massive hoists. And in 1907, the company completed the construction of a hydro-electric plant on a plot of land in order to power the four-mile standard gauge electric railway for a precarious descent of 1,300 feet, with grades in places of up to 54 percent.Once the marble arrived in the town of Marble its contents were loaded into the largest mill of its kind in the entire world! One thousand four hundred feet long, and 150 feet wide, all under one roof. The finished marble was then taken to the massive loading yard, where an enormous gantry hoisted it onto the rail cars of the company’s Crystal River & San Juan Railway. From there it would make its way along the aptly named Crystal River, 28 miles to Carbondale, from where either the Rio Grande or the Midland railway companies would whisk the marble block to any and all parts of the country.Who knows, had not World War One whisked away practically the entire finishing crew in one fell swoop – many of them returning to their native Italy. And perhaps more importantly, had not the tracks, saws, gantry, cutting and finishing shops been stripped of their metal, ostensibly to assist “the war effort”, then there is no telling just what Yule marble may have blossomed into. For there is surely no shortage of marble. With a seam estimated to reach three miles in length, and a mile and a half in width, there will be plenty to go around for generations to come.Out from the ashes of this long closed, formerly great marble quarry – shuttered for over four decades, and almost filled with water – a new, exciting and rapidly evolving phenomenon now unfolds. With its 99 percent pure calcite; exquisite markings; exotic hues; astonishing translucence and growing reputation for quality; a newly revitalized famous old quarry is once again back in business like never before. New experienced Italian management, backed with sufficient capital with which to capitalize upon such a rare asset, point to Yule being poised to embark upon a brand new era of unparalleled success. And such a growing and enhanced reputation will not be lost upon the global marble market, as this new upstart, this exciting “marble from Marble” exerts itself as a marble of growing and quite exceptional renown.