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New video details history of Colorado Yule Marble Quarry

John Gardner
jgardner@postindependent.com
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Ron Bailey photoQuarry workers harvest the prospective tomb die block from the quarry in November of 2004. The block was paid for by Glenwood resident and Citizen of the Year John Haines to replace the cracked block of marble at the Tomb of the Unknowns, but still sits at the marble quarry in Marble.
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PARACHUTE, Colorado ” Photographer Ron Bailey found inspiration 300 feet inside of the Colorado Yule Marble Quarry in Marble.

It was on a tour of the quarry in the fall of 2002 when Bailey heard someone mention that the quarry was in the process of looking for a prospective replacement block for the Tomb of the Unknowns in Washington D.C.

“I told my wife that they hadn’t found the block,” Bailey said. “She said, ‘What do you mean?’ And I told her that they hadn’t found it yet, because I needed to be involved in that project. Since, I wasn’t involved, I knew that they hadn’t found the block yet.”



An article in the Post Independent the following February detailing the project to find the replacement block for the tomb re-ignited his idea to document the Tomb Restoration Project. After the quarry’s owner at the time, Rex Loesby, allowed Bailey to take photos of the quarry, Bailey’s vision for the video came to life.

“It’s just one of those things that when it’s right, you know it,” Bailey said.



Six years later, on the 200th birthday of President Abraham Lincoln, Bailey released a DVD titled: The Colorado Yule Marble Quarry: Our National Treasure. The 3.5 hour video documents the Tomb Restoration Project, has footage of the final quarry tour narrated by quarry employee and expert Gary Bascom, and has a detailed history of the quarry from when it first opened in 1906. Bailey also involved Marble Historian, Oscar McCollum Jr. to narrate a portion of the video that tells the history of the Marble Finishing Mill.

“Originally, I wasn’t going to go into the history,” he said. “I just wanted to cover the modern quarry since they reopened. But it wasn’t working. It didn’t work without the history. I couldn’t tie anything together because I didn’t know where it all came from.”

Bailey spent six years almost to the day taking photos of work in the quarry and researching its history and found even more information than he could have imagined. The project became a passion that turned into 60-70 hour work weeks.

“It’s just something I had to do, it’s not for money or anything, I just simply had to do it. Some things are more important than making a buck. And preserving this history of the quarry and what is happening there now is important,” Bailey said.

The quarry has produced the marble for projects including the original Tomb of the Unknowns, the Lincoln Memorial, the grave markers at the Arlington National Cemetery and several Post Offices and Federal Buildings throughout the nation, Bailey said.

Bailey’s passion is what pushed him to put so much time into documenting the quarry’s story. But now that it’s finished, he feels that he’s accomplished something remarkable, and historic.

“Now that it’s finished, stage two is showing people,” he said. “Look at this history we have right here. Look what came from Colorado. Look at what came from our neck of the woods. It’s a national treasure.”

Contact John Gardner: 384-9114

jgardner@postindependent.com


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