Reportedly the largest museum in the world dedicated to the production of marble, the Vermont Marble Museum is located in what was once the main manufacturing plant of the Vermont Marble Company. During its heyday between 1880 and the 1930’s, the Vermont Marble Company grew to be not only the largest marble manufacturer in the world but one of the world’s largest companies. It employed over 5000 people, had offices in most major U.S. cities and owned the rights to all the marble in Vermont, Tennessee, Colorado and Alaska. Vermont businessman and politician Redfield Proctor, Sr. founded the Vermont Marble Company in 1880 when he merged several smaller Vermont marble manufacturing operations into one entity.
The Town of Proctor, established by an act of the Vermont legislature in 1886, was carved out of what was once the Town of Rutland to serve as the Vermont Marble Company headquarters and company town. Most of the laborers and management lived in Proctor and the municipal buildings, ancillary industrial and office buildings as well as the bridge across the Otter Creek were all made of marble. The town is still dominated by the large manufacturing plant located at Sunderland Falls, which once provided the waterpower to drive the machinery.
The company expanded rapidly until the 1930’s when demand declined due to the Great Depression. During World War II, the equipment was modified to produce metal for the war effort but marble production resumed after the war. In 1950, the Company manufactured the marble for the United Nations headquarters in New York City, one of the largest commissions in its history.
The Vermont Marble Company’s facilities in Proctor were purchased by OMYA, Inc. in 1976, but after gradually divesting itself of many buildings in Proctor, OMYA, Inc. moved its headquarters to Ohio in 2007.
There are prominent buildings and monuments made from Vermont marble all over the United States and the world including many significant Washington, D.C. structures including:
- Thomas Jefferson Memorial
- US Supreme Court Building
- Rayburn House Office Building
- Russell Senate Office Building
- Arlington Memorial Amphitheater
- Arlington National Cemetery
- Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – the marble sarcophagus came from the company’s Colorado quarry but the carving was done in Proctor and the tomb base is Vermont marble
- National Gallery West Building – includes Vermont marble on the interior
- Union Station is constructed from Vermont granite with a Vermont marble base
- U.S. Capitol – West Elevation Balustrade
- Memorial Continental Hall – DAR Building (on the Ellipse, adjacent to the White House)
- District of Columbia War Memorial (WW I)
- Washington DC Municipal Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave.
- White House Remodeling, 1950’s
- Lincoln Memorial – Marble form the VMC’s Yule Colorado Quarry
- Arlington Memorial Bridge
- Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
- US Department of Agriculture, North Buildings