Rock Shock: Yule Marble is Colorado’s Official State Rock?

Apparently no one knows that Yule is


During recent weeks and months I have had cause to discuss the miracle that is Colorado Yule Marble with a great number of people, from all walks of life, and from almost every economic strata and political persuasion; which has been a rewarding and pleasant activity in itself. But after many dozens of conversations however I am left in no doubt that, while the marble itself attracts almost universal admiration for its striking looks, exotic feel and colorful appearance – no one (or hardly anyone) knows, or knew when I met them, that the Yule in question is also Colorado’s State Rock.

Courtesy of Marble Museum, Colorado

Beloved as the marble becomes, once they hear of the historic struggle simply to keep the quarry open  –  let alone thriving these days, at 9,300 feet in the Rocky Mountains  –  the story of how a single Girl Scout troupe campaigned successfully to have the governor sign the bill that officially wrote Yule Marble into the Colorado State history books, is one that has reached precious few ears.

Even here in Colorado, few and far between are Coloradans with any knowledge of Yule marble whatsoever; and while many are able to reel off state birds (the Lark Bunting), trees (Blue Spruce), flowers (Blue Columbine), fish (Greenback Cutthroat Trout) and fauna (Big Horned Sheep), few if any have ever given a though to this most mountainous state’s state “rock”.

I won’t repeat here the mounds of information posted on pertaining to exactly why Yule was chosen, but The Story of Yule Marble tab located in the header menu will take you to a series of posts that will explain much of what has happened to the quarry, and its little town of Marble, down through 125 years or so of struggle, bankruptcy, giant achievements, monumental setbacks, and more. Much more in fact.


So today we are to turn our attention to the rather odd story of the little girl scout troupe  who we now have them to thank for bringing some of ‘the finest marble ever to have been quarried‘… to the official attention of a busy and ofttimes distracted world.

But lastly, before we begin, I would like to thank for posting the following article, for precious is the background information on this monumental moment (for Yule marble lovers!). And even rarer than the tidbits of information repeated here (“in blue and bracketed in double quotes” for clarity), are photographs, for what you see above is pretty much what you get when you search the event on google images. I’ll keep on looking and add any that I can find, but for the moment, this is it fuzzy Polaroid is about it.

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Adoption of the Colorado State Rock: March 9, 2004

“Clare Marshall was on the staff of the Colorado School of Mines’ Department of Geology and Geological Engineering. She was also a former Junior Girl Scout Troop leader and mother of a Junior Girl Scout in Troop 357 of Lakewood, Colorado. While designing an exhibit for the new Geology Museum at the Colorado School of Mines, Mrs. Marshall noticed that Colorado’s official state gemstone, Aquamarine, was blue and the official state mineral, Rhodochrosite, was red. With the addition of a white rock, Colorado could claim a red, white and blue trio of geological symbols as representative of the Centennial State.”

Rhodochrosite, Yule Marble, Aquamarine. Legislative Committee Hearing 

“The idea of red, white and blue geological symbols was passed on to Junior Girl Scout Troop 357 and they reacted with enthusiasm. In October 2002, they jumped into the project with their eye on the “Bronze Award”, the highest award Junior Girl Scouts can earn. They spent nearly 150 hours on research, visiting the Yule Marble quarry, earning three merit badges, completing a community service project and getting endorsements from historians, geologists and politicians. They testified before two legislative committees.”

As part of the project, the troop put together the Yule Marble fact sheet 

“Colorado is the Centennial State. Colorado has a red Official State Mineral, rhodochrosite. Colorado has a blue Official State Gemstone, aquamarine. If the state rock were white, the Official Geological symbols would be red, white and blue. The Yule Marble is white. The Yule Marble has been used in many famous buildings and sculptures. Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. In the Washington Monument, each state contributed a 20″ x 40″ rock to line the inside of the monument, and Colorado chose Yule Marble. The Tomb of the Unknowns, currently being renovated, is made of the largest single block of marble produced in the United States. Colorado State Capitol building. Cheesman Memorial, Denver. Colorado State Museum, Denver. Denver Court House.”

“As the state known for the majestic Rocky Mountains, it seems odd that the state does not yet have an official state rock. Only 9 states have 3 geological symbols (rock, gem and mineral), and none of them have the color combination of red, white and blue. Only 4 states have a state rock that matches the rock in the Washington Monument for that state.

The Yule Marble is a strong, beautiful rock. It is composed of 99.5 percent pure calcite. The grain size yields brilliant cleavage sparkles in the unpolished stone.

It has lasted almost 100 years in the humid environment of the District of Columbia. The first major use of the Yule Marble was in the Colorado State Capitol building, in 1895.”

“In October 2003, Troop 357 contacted Colorado State Representative Betty Boyd, of Lakewood, to begin the process of getting Yule Marble declared the official state rock of Colorado. Representative Boyd attended a couple of troop meetings and decided that she would sponsor the “state rock” bill.”

Governor Signs State Rock Legislation

“On January 7, 2004 Colorado Representative Betty Boyd introduced House Bill No. 1023 to make Yule Marble the “…state rock of the State of Colorado.” She was joined by 27 other Colorado Representatives determined to turn this bill into law. The bill was passed by the Colorado House of Representatives on February 2, 2004 and sent off to the Senate for their approval, where it was introduced the next day. On February 17, 2004, the bill was passed in the Colorado Senate.

On March 9, 2004, with Girl Scout Troop 357 looking on, Governor Bill Owens signed the legislation declaring Yule Marble the official state rock of the state of Colorado. But before he did, he handed each girl a Girl Scout Bronze Star.”

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As a footnote to the dramatic events recalled above I discovered the post below as I was putting the finishing touches to this article and I thought it a fitting adjunct to end with.  I have included all of the links, so click away for more info on the subject. But from this brief piece I think it is clear that the effort that Girl Scout Troup 375 undertook all those years ago, is still paying dividends for themselves and a great many others, a decade and a half later.

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“2019 marks 15 years since Girl Scout Troop 60357 of Lakewood petitioned state lawmakers to designate the Yule Marble as the Official State Rock of Colorado. The girls embarked on the project to make Colorado the most geologically patriotic state in the union, with red, white, and blue geologic symbols (mineral:, rock:, and gemstone: The project also enabled them to earn the Girl Scout Bronze Award, the highest honor for fourth and fifth grade Girl Scouts.

Now, Girl Scout alumnae are reflecting on what the project meant to them and the impact Girl Scouts has had on their lives.

“Now, in 2019 looking back over the last 15 years, I realize that this project did more for me as an adult than I ever could have imagined.”

“It’s pretty awesome to say that I was part of a group of young, ambitious women that took on the seemingly impossible and succeeded.”

MiKayla Loseke

“The most important lesson I learned from all this hard work is you can achieve anything you   put your mind to. A group of young girls with the help of a few very strong women were able to pass a bill into law in the state of Colorado. We weren’t experienced in the way governments work. We had no idea what we were doing. (The help we received from Senator Betty Boyd was incredible, we wouldn’t have been able to do it without her.)”

“I learned to be proud of my accomplishments. Our troop is going to be a part of Colorado’s history forever, and having that accomplishment, knowing that I was part of something great, gives me the courage to continue doing great things.”

Laura Eckhardt 

“The Yule Marble Initiative gave me a sense of hope for my own life and for the lives of those around me. My 12-year-old self was bold enough to go in front of a room of politicians and tell them that ‘even the smallest citizen can have a voice,’ and what was amazing was that those intimidating politicians listened and also agreed with us. What an empowering feeling for a bunch of pre-teens! I try to carry that feeling with me throughout my life and let it be a reminder when I doubt myself or the world around me, that change is possible and even the smallest, most seemingly insignificant of us are capable of making great changes in the world around us. That gives me hope.”

Emily Cameron

“I like to use this event as an example when I am working with fourth and fifth graders who are just starting to want to make their marks on the world. I share with them that a group of kids just like them, from their own neighborhoods, were able to make such a large and lasting change in their community, and that if they see a need, they too can reach out and do something about it.”

“Yule marble has become so much more than our Bronze Award project, it laid the foundation for the kind of people we grew up to be, and the kind of power we all have to make a difference in our world. If a bunch of little girls can change their world and make it just a little bit better, imagine what the rest of us can do if we set our minds to it.”

Caitlin Corenblith

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Rock Shock: Yule Marble is Colorado’s Official State Rock?

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thanks for visiting

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