Georgia Marble Company
The Georgia Marble Company was founded in 1884 by Samuel Tate. Tate leased out all the land in Pickens County, Georgia, that contained rich Georgia marble. Pickens County has a vein of marble 5 to 7 miles (8.0 to 11.3 km) long, a half mile wide, and up to 2,000 feet (610 m) deep.
In the 1830s Henry Fitzsimmons established the first marble quarry in Pickens County, which was part of the Murphy Marble Belt. The land had been used by Native Americans for the same purpose since as early as 800 AD. In 1884, Samuel Tate founded the Georgia Marble Company, and leased out the land for others to use. In 1905 Colonel Sam Tate partnered with Earl Mayes Caldwell and the two became co-presidents and general managers of the company. The business grew rapidly, until concrete began to replace marble in buildings. In 1969, with business falling, the company was purchased by Jim Walter Corporation. Over the next few decades it changed hands several times, passing through ownership by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Company, Hillsborough Holding Corporation, First Chicago Corporation and IMERYS. Finally, in 2003, the dimension stone division of Georgia Marble Company was acquired by Polycor.
On January 7, 1946 the Etowah River in nearby Cherokee County reached a depth of 26.7 feet (8.1 m), and flooded the county including the Georgia Marble Company plant, which was covered with one foot of water.
The Georgia Marble Company supplied the marble used to build the New York Stock Exchange annex, the statue in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the National Air and Space Museum, the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art, the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland, and the Buckingham Fountain in Chicago.
The company's mines contain some of the best quality marble, and almost every type of marble found in the USA. The marble, when exposed to the weather tends to become less durable from acid rain. The mine is plentiful and every variety with every size is extractable with machinery, and transported by railroad. Types of marble include crystallized marble, and white sanctuary marble ranging in a variety of colors.
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- "Quarrying: The Carrara Quarries". The Manufacturer and Builder. 0016 (12): 278–9. December 1884. Retrieved 2009-09-30.