IF IT IS GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE SUPREME COURT BUILDING, IT
IS PERFECT FOR YOUR KITCHEN
What does the U.S. Supreme Court Building have in common with the
kitchen countertop in this photo? The answer is Danby Marble. In fact
Vermont marble can be found on the exterior as well as the inside of
buildings and countless monuments across our nation including: The
Jefferson Monument, The Arlington Memorial at Arlington Cemetery, Union Station, US Senate buildings, the New York Public Library as well as the Wisconsin, New York and Massachusetts State Capitols. Danby marble is
also internationally acclaimed and has been used for the Sama Bank
Building in Saudia Arabia and the ChiangKai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei,
Taiwan. This exceptionally durable and uniquely beautiful marble has a
history that dates earlier than the foundation of the United States. The
earliest of the Vermont quarries opened in 1767. By the 1880s, after
Colonel Proctor bought what was then the Vermont Marble Company, the
industry began to flourish. In its heyday, the Vermont Marble Company
employed more than 4,000 men; had offices, quarries, and shops
throughout the U.S. and distributed 1 million cubic feet of marble around
the globe annually.
So, why would anyone clad the exterior of a building in marble and expect it to withstand sun, storms of every type, bird droppings, dirt, pelting sand,
acid rain, and freezing weather? Besides being stunningly beautiful Danby
marble is exceptionally durable. It’s a very dense stone that is less likely
to stain than other types of marble. Absorption is one measure of a natural
stone’s durability for particular uses. To test stone for absorption, a sample
is soaked in water for 48 hours then weighed again. A simple mathematical
formula is used to determine the percentage of water absorbed into the
Danby Marble has the lowest absorption rate of any kind of marble, ranging
between 6 to 8 percent. By comparison, Carrara’s rate is 13 percent,
Statuario is 15 percent and Arabescato Vagli and Calacatta Delicato are 17
percent and 18 percent, respectively. Danby Marble is therefore far lesslikely to absorb stain-causing substances that might permanently damage the stone.
The high quality of Danby marble comes from its color, strength,
durability, and purity. Formed by densely arranged crystals of calcium
carbonate that originates from the increased pressure and temperature in
sedimentary rock layers of common limestone, marble is formed after
millions of years of powerful contractions that recrystallize the limestone
into marble as a result of heat.
With such a long history it is no surprise that some of the Vermont quarries
have shut down for periods of time. In 1905, after a half-century of
inactivity, the Vermont Marble Company purchased the Danby Quarries
and property. Work on the present Imperial Quarry began in 1907. With
contracts for the U. S. Supreme Court Building, the Red Cross Building, the
Arlington Memorial, and the Oregon State Capitol, an upper Tunnel Quarry
was opened in 1935 to expand the quarry.
After these massive projects were completed, these portions of the quarry
fell into disuse until Superintendent Michael Blair re-opened it in 2016 and
this fine source is active once again with a grand plan of connecting it to
the main Tunnel Quarry.
The Vermont Danby quarry is the largest underground marble quarry in the world. The quarry is entered through the same opening that has been in
use for over 100 years. From the outside of Dorset Mountain, the quarry
looks the same as it did a century ago. From there the quarry twists and
turns 1 ½ mile deep where Danby Marble is quarried. The Vermont Danby
Quarry is now owned by RED Graniti and Mazzucchelli Marmi of Carrara
Italy and operating under the Vermont Quarries Corp.
These are exciting times for Danby marble and its glorious resurgence.
Even five years ago, finding a few slabs of well dressed Danby was time-
consuming and very expensive.
Today there are 8 colors quarried of which four are available in the DC
area. The Danby marbles range in price from costly to reasonable.
n addition to the for primary Danby colors, the Eureka Calacatta (which is between the Royal and Imperial seams in the mine) is inconsistent and often not very attractive, however, it can be much less expensive and a good find if you get the right slab for your project.
The fact that this stone has stood the test of time on the exterior of buildings for decades says it all. The Danby marble is perfect for your kitchen countertops. When Martha Stewart put this beauty in her home she paid dearly, but the cost of Danby today is less than most high-cost marbles. It is also less costly and incomparably more beautiful than most marble looking man-made quartz.