Yule Marble’s Prestigious Past

In the Early to Mid 20th Century

A Plucky, Remote, and Ambitious Colorado Marble Quarry

Took the Country by Storm

During the early part of the last century Colorado Yule Marble was selected for a great many ultra-prestigious projects from Los Angeles to New York, Washington to Texas, with contract after contract fulfilled to the very highest specifications, delivered on time. Quite often ahead of time in fact, as was the case with perhaps its most famous application: The Lincoln Memorial, which came in six months ahead of schedule, under budget, to universal acclaim as a magnificent success.  Six month after the opening ceremonies however the quarry was closed and shuttered as a result of America’s entry into World War 1.

So well run was the quarry in fact that, had not World War 1, and then 2, broken out at two critical junctures in its history, it is likely that Yule marble would now be, if not as famous as Carrara marble, then at least recognized as its equal in regards to quality. For when we look back at some of the more grandiose projects undertaken by this remote little quarry – inconveniently located 9,300 feet above sea level, high in the Rocky Mountains – the ambition, expertise and dedication of the quarry’s owners down through the decades has been really nothing short of astonishing.

Many were the grander-than-grand civic projects; commercial banks, government buildings, monumental structures and private homes exquisitely embellished by this new building phenomenon. City after city chose Yule marble to adorn their most cherished civic landmarks.  Company after company chose Yule for their most prestigious headquarter buildings. California’s Hearst Mansion was positively bathed in it, as were impressive mansions, department stores, newspaper offices and commercial buildings from coast to coast.

But as if quarrying marble in such extreme conditions as those presented by the Colorado Rocky Mountains wasn’t a sufficiently daunting prospect in itself, actually getting the stone to the market place proved arguably even more of an obstacle.

For as well as being at times a quite brutal environment in which to quarry marble, the quarry itself was quite literally (in those days) situated “in the middle of nowhere”, a thousand miles from the West Coast, but perhaps more importantly, two thousand miles from the wealthy, lucrative, and bustling Eastern Seaboard.

Despite the exceptional quality evident to one and all, the staggering costs involved in extracting the marble, and getting it to market, were to reap havoc with the all-important bottom line. No matter how well the various companies that owned the quarry conducted their businesses (and they all seemed to run an extremely tight ship indeed), running costs were to simply devour any and all returns by way of profit.

To my knowledge in no way was the marble ever found lacking. The cracks that developed within the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier appeared due to the colossal size and nature of the quarried block – the largest ever to be excavated at the time – along with the 2,000 mile journey the piece had to endure strapped upon the back of a flatbed rail car.  In fact the huge distance needed to transport the marble quite definitely proved a crippling cost and feasibility headache to whomever attempted to make their Colorado Yule Marble dream come true.

photo Ron Bailey

photo Ron Bailey

Down through the years, much in the way of resource have been thrown at Colorado’s state rock, and to this extent nothing has changed in this regard concerning the present owners. But this is where all comparisons end, for this time around – and bear in mind the quarry was shuttered and filled with millions of gallons of water for over 40 years – two vital differences separate the current regime from any of its predecessors.  The crippling costs of transportation, such a huge problem in times’ past, are no longer applicable. But perhaps most importantly, for the first time in its 125 year history, the quarry is now owned and operated by Italians, and not just any Italians, but some of the very people who quarry the world famous Carrara: brilliant credentials indeed.

photo Ron Bailey

And so now that the quarry is quite literally back in business, securely in Italian hands, and seemingly thriving like never before, and with Colorado Yule Marble now considered by many within the marble industry to be ‘the finest, most sought after’ marble in the world, just what sort of ambitious projects will we see fulfilled in the coming years?  Time will tell, but for marble lovers the world around these are very happy days indeed.

And so, here we go, beginning with…


Phoenix – Adams Hotel


HOT SPRINGS – Rammelsburg Bathouse

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas State Capitol Building


LOS ANGELES – Athletic Club / Bankers Trust Building / Builders Home Association Building / Citizen’s National Bank

County Fair Grounds / Herald Examiner Building / Fidelity Building / Goodfellows Office Building

Hellman National Bank / Judson D. River residence / Merchants Fireproof Building / Merchants National Bank

Merritt Building  / Pan-American Building  / Trinity Auditorium

OAKLAND – Tribune Building

PASADENA – Forest Lawn Chapel & Crematory / Federal Building / Huntington Park Memorial Hospital / Post Office

SAN FRANCISCO – City Hall / Irvine Sarcophagus / Municipal Building / Saint Francis Hotel / Treasury Building / Trinity Auditorium

SAN SIMENON – Hearst Mansion


DENVER – Barth Mausoleum /  Broadway Bank / Capitol Life Insurance Building / Cheeseman Memorial

City and County Building / Colorado National Bank /  Colorado State Capitol Building / Colorado State Museum

Daniels & Fisher Tower / Denver Post Office /  Empire Building /  Federal Reserve Bank / Fitzsimmons Army Hospital

Foster Building / Hamilton National Bank / Immaculate Conception Cathedral / Metropolitan Building

New Customs House / Pioneer Building / Saint James Hotel / Shubert (Denham) Theatre

Symes Building / Thatcher Memorial Vault / Union Station

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Citizens National Bank /  Federal Building / Taylor Mausoleum

GREELY – Post Office

GUNNISON – Post Office

LA JUNTA – Sante Fe Office Building

MARBLE – High School / St. Paul’s  Church Font (now in Glenwood Spring’s Barnabas Episcopal Church)

St. Paul’s Club House Fireplace

PUEBLO – Vail Hotel


Barnes Hospital / Lincoln Memorial / Real Estate Trust Building / Washington Monument


POCATELLO – Post Office and Court House


CHICAGO – Marshall Field Building / Otis Building / Rosehill Mausoleum / Telephone Building


CRAWFORD – Davis Mausoleum

EVANSVILLE – First National Bank

SOUTH BEND – Studebaker Building


DAVENPORT – Davenport Hotel



INDEPENDENCE – Court House / Post Office

WICHITA – Public Library

WINFIELD – Mausoleum


PADUCAH – Mausoleum


SHREVEPORT – Commercial National Bank


CAMBRIDGE – Harvard University Widener Library


DETROIT – 43 Story (unnamed) Office Building


MINNEAPOLIS – McKnight Building


INDEPENDENCE – Mormon Church

KANSAS CITY – Chambers Office Building / Community Mausoleum / Rialto Building

ST. LOUIS – German American Institute / German Savings Bank / Monward Realty Building


BILLINGS – Montana Power Building

HELENA – Montana State Capitol

GREAT FALLS – Rainbow Hotel /  United Savings and Trust


BROKEN BOW – I.O.O.F. Building

COLUMBUS – Evans Hotel

GREELY – Greely County Court House

HASTINGS – Masonic Temple

LINCOLN – Bencroft Ward School (University of Nebraska) / Chaplin Building / Lincoln High School

OMAHA – Brandeis Building / Douglas County Court House / Fontenelle Hotel / Forest Lawn & Crematorium

Union Pacific Building / West Lawn Mausoleum / Woodsmen of the World Building

ST. PAUL – Howard County Court House

SIDNEY – First National Exchange Bank


NEW YORK CITY – Cambridge Building / Equitable Life Building / Metropolitan Museum of Art / Municipal Building

SYRACUSE /  Third National Bank of Syracuse

SCHENECTADY / Cross and Seal Design



CLEVELAND – City Hall / Cuyahoga County Court House

JAYVILLE – Abbotsville Memorial

SIDNEY – First National Bank

VERSAILLES – Mausoleum

WOOSTER – Post Office

YOUGSTOWN – Mahoning County Court House


ENID – High School

TULSA –  Studebaker Company Building / Tulsa County Court House / Tulsa High School


PORTLAND – Bedell Building / First National Bank Building / Northwest National Bank


PROVIDENCE – Providence County Court House


ABERDEEN – US Post Office and Court House


MEMPHIS – Commercial Trust & Savings


HOUSTON – Southern Pacific Building (Bayou Lofts) /Union National Bank (Hotel Icon)


SALT LAKE CITY –  Boston Building / Denver & Rio Grande, Western Pacific, Railroad Station  (“Union Building”) / Holmes-Knox Building / Latter day Saints Gymnasium / Newhouse Hotel / Utah State Capitol / Stock & Mining Exchange


WALLA WALLA – Court House


ARLINGTON – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier


OSHKOSH –  Private Vault


SHERIDAN – Unknown Bank

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And so, whatever be said of Colorado Yule Marble, its failings were purely financial. As for the quality of the stone; I doubt that these prestigious projects would have accepted anything but the very finest quality. The difficulties, as outlined many times on this website, lay rooted in the staggering costs of quarrying marble in such remote and extreme conditions.

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To learn more about Colorado Yule Marble’s long, and ofttimes tortured history, please click on my three part series below:

Miners Turned Quarry Men: Colorado Yule Marble Quarry, 1884 to 1900

Two Booms, Two World Wars, and Colorado Yule Marble is Bust, 1900 to 1945

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

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Thanks for visiting martincooney.com

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