Pt.3) Enter the Fantini; First New Colorado Yule Marble Quarry Portal in 100 Years, 1942 to 2018

THE STORY OF COLORADO YULE MARBLE AT MARTINCOONEY.COM

Part 3

1942 to 2019

Enter the Fantini

Italian marble quarrying knowledge, experience, and financial investment, steps in to create the first Colorado Yule Marble portal in 100 years, and the quarry is back in business like never before.

photo Ron Bailey

Whilst these days the quarry is proving a success things were looking decidedly gloomier back in 1942. Almost immediately upon delivery of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to Washington DC, the Yule marble quarry is once again shuttered and closed.  The between war mini-boom well and truly over, just as in a similar manner the quarry had declared bankruptcy just six months after delivery of the last piece of marble for the Lincoln Memorial, a project they managed to complete six months ahead of time, on budget and to the widespread admiration of one and all.

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1942. BUST again! The United States enters World War Two as the world’s largest marble mill is dismantled, and the railroad tracks torn up.

1945. World War Two is over, but the town of Marble of endures another catastrophic flood, just 4 years after the last one. At one point the town’s population dipped to just one; Theresa Herman, the school teacher.

The Town of Marble, Colorado, Townscape

1956. The town of Marble’s population shows 26 registered voters.

 

1986. Steps are taken to reopen the Yule marble quarry, for the third time.  And in true Yule marble quarry tradition following in the footsteps of John C. Osgood and Channing F. Meek, this time around it came about via the efforts of Denver oilman Stacy Dunn.

1989. Disaster strikes Yule marble, yet again, as the quarries’ new owner, Stacy Dunn, follows a similar fate to that of Channing Meek, back in 1912.  But whereas Meek died jumping to avoid a “runaway” rail car, Stacy Dunn was to die in an “automobile accident”. 

“Stacy Dunn, 35, of Evergreen, Colo., died Thursday, April 27, 1989, at Buena Vista, Colo., of injuries sustained in an automobile accident”. A curse, coincidence or what? Extreme bad luck at the very least.

1997. As with the original Colorado Yule Marble Company eight decades prior, their fates were combined when the new Colorado Yule Marble Company was declared bankrupt. The Colorado Yule Marble Company assets are acquired by Bath Stone of England –  none other than the first company to give me work immediately upon gaining the Banker Masonry NVQ Level 2 qualifications that I attained at the City of Bath College. An odd coincidence, I know.

Bath Stone held possession of the quarry for two years, before selling it on to Rex Loseby of Sierra Minerals.

1999. Whatever the profit, motivation, or degree of success achieved by Bath Stone of England regarding keeping the operation at least a ‘going concern’, little seems to have materialized in terms of actual marble quarrying. Just two years on they are selling the quarry to Sierra Minerals, who are often these days cited as “reopening” the quarry.

 

The company is now run by Rex Loesby, who had previously pulled out of his involvement with the earlier attempt by the Colorado Yule Marble Companies’ to revive the quarry. This time however he holds what I am sure he thought was a sustainable plan, for Loesby had acquired the contract to supply none other than the Veterans Administration with marble for the national cemetery headstones. He is to run the quarry for 5 years, until ownership passes on to Canadian company, Polycor.

2004. Rex Loseby’s Sierra Minerals sells the quarry to Quebec based company Polycor, under the name Colorado Stone Quarries Incorporated, with much of the marble production exported to Italy. They run the operation until the crash of ’08, from whence the recession put the kibosh on any and all plans, dreams and schemes that Loseby had for his quarry.

2008. World Wars, recessions, deadly ‘accidents’, and scandalous betrayals: the unfortunate Colorado has born the brunt of them all. Once again, the aging quarry suffers the indignity of closure. This time it was the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Suffering the same turmoil, disappointment and despair that sideswiped many of us during this most desperate period, the company limped on until the grim facts of reality force operations to cease, by December 2009 Polycor had shuttered Yule marble, all Yule marble operations; the lights were out, and the jobs gone.

2010. Fortunately for everyone with an appreciation for Colorado’s state rock and America’s finest white marble, at the point when all seemed doom and gloom, up steps Mr. Enrico Luciani of Carrara, Italy., who takes possession of the quarry in October.  Polycor however retained the purchasing rights to the North American market, while the industrious Mr. Luciani I’m sure will make use of his extensive contacts in Carrara, Italy, and the rest of Europe, to ensure that such exquisite, and now exquisitely quarried, top quality marble will reach the market that it truly deserves.

 

photo Ron Bailey

Acording to https://www.redgraniti.com/en/

“The company philosophy pursues, from the beginning of the activity, the policy of controlling the sources of production in the world.
RED GRANITI owns quarries in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Brazil, United States and Finland. Most of the materials extracted from the owned quarries reach the deposits of Massa and Verona (Italy), Vigo (Portugal), Stettin (Poland), Antwerp (Belgium), Rijeka (Croatia) and Vitoria (Brazil).”

The Massa (Italy) office is connected to 9 other commercial companies, located in the key points of the world stone markets (Spain, France, Poland, India, Brazil, United States, South Africa, China and Switzerland). With the traditional marketing of raw blocks, thanks to modern processing plants, a wide range of semi-finished products ready for the creativity of architects, designers and an increasingly demanding clientele that finds RED the logical and natural response to its own complex necessities.”

2011.  Under the seasoned, experienced, and watchful eye of new owner Enrico Luciani, on behalf of the RED Graniti partnership, Colorado Yule Marble is not only reopened for business, but relaunched as a concept, and tied to quarrying concepts forged and developed over many centuries in and around his home town of Carrara, Italy.

Acording to https://www.redgraniti.com/en/ 

“RED GRANITI, leader in the extraction of blocks from its own quarries, has built its core business around quality of materials for more than fifty years. Present in the world’s main stone quarrying locations, it sets “quality” as its term of reference: each block is checked, controlled and cataloged. Meticulous selection allows excellent yields, constant supply quality and complete customer satisfaction.”

“Red Graniti has now been supplying a fast range of semi-finished products for a number of years, partly originating from modern processing plants close to the production locations. Each slab guarantees the same quality standards, checks and selection process as the raw blocks.”

“The Red Graniti distribution network is present in all the main luxury stone consumer countries. The offering covers most materials currently available on the world markets: from block to slab, RED guarantees quality, on-schedule delivery and constant service.”

At long last, and for the first time in over 125 years of marble quarrying endeavor, a wealth of experience, along with direct line to the billions of dollars garnered by the international marble industry, places Colorado Yule Marble firmly within the grasp of architects and designers the world around.

photo Ron Bailey

And so it was that in January of 2011 Mr. Luciani restarts the marble quarrying operations, just three months after his taking possession.  However, as we shall see, all similarities between previous changes in Yule marble quarry ownership, management, methods and practices to this point bear little resemblance to the arrival of Mr. Enrico Luciani of Carrara, a man whom (if I am not greatly mistaken) retains all the necessary requirements to follow, and build upon, the incredible efforts of John C. Osgood and Channing Meek, in at last making Colorado Yule Marble a familiar name in interior design, both commercial and residential, and of course sculpture the world around.

2011. Coincidence dictates that at the moment Mr. Enrico Luciani of Carrara, Italy, was taking the reigns at the Yule marble quarry, I, Martin Cooney of Preston, England, was busy at work, just 23 miles distant (as the eagle flies) splitting and carving a well-seasoned ten ton slab of the Yule marble, at some point drilled, wire cut, then ekeed out of the quarry by employees of Mr, Luciani’s predecessors many, many years prior.

  

2012. Under Enrico Luciani’s careful management work begins to drive a new portal into the seam of unique white marble at the newly formed Colorado Stone Quarries Incorporated quarry. In an interview with the Aspen Times Mr. Luciani’s fervent confidence, assurance, optimism and excitement, is on full display, his boundless enthusiasm proving most infectious. This is “the first new portal into the seam in more than 100 years.” boasts the quarry’s administrative manager, Kimberly Perrin, who goes on to inform the paper that “this will bring us 65 to 100 years of production”.

photo Ron Bailey

“This is the future of the quarry”, reveals Enrico Locati Luciani, indicating the new Fantini cutting machine that he had recently purchased at a cost of $700,000. “We know the material is, ah, very nice” he said.

“We love artists, we will always sell to artists” announces quarry admin manager Kimberly Perrin, even though less than one percent of all finished marble is bought by sculptors. “I have lots of ideas for this quarry” confides Mr. Luciani.  One of his ideas is to create a fabrication and finishing plant as close to the quarry as possible, which in turn will greatly reduce current transportation costs, whereby the huge quarry blocks are shipped, at great expense, to be worked in Italian marble shops. Furthermore a handsome, efficient and prominent marble operation could prove to be an interesting and attractive tourist center, and thereby greatly assist in raising the profile of our Colorado State Rock, the amazing Colorado Yule Marble.

photo Ron Bailey

The Marble from Marble

Part 3

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THE STORY OF COLORADO YULE MARBLE AT MARTINCOONEY.COM

1942 to 2018

Enter the Fantini

Italian marble quarrying knowledge, experience, and financial investment, steps in to create the first Colorado Yule Marble portal in 100 years, and the quarry is back in business like never before.

~ ~ ~

Thanks for visiting martincooney.com

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