The Brandon Italian Marble Company is one of many Marble Companies that resided in Vermont during the late 1800s and into the early 1900s until it was eventually bought out by the Vermont Marble Company. The marble company began it’s digging in Brandon Vermont but would soon move to Middlebury Vermont because of a fire in 1898. Though the mine in Brandon and Middlebury was prosperous it was dangerous work for the many workers that came to the mine every day.


  • Proud craftsmen from many lands stand behind their handiwork in the marble finishing shed at Middlebury’s Marble Works, circa 1900
    Proud craftsmen from many lands stand behind their handiwork in the marble finishing shed at Middlebury’s Marble Works, circa 1900
  • Brandon Italian Marble Company, Seymour Street, Middlebury, Vt.
    Brandon Italian Marble Company, Seymour Street, Middlebury, Vt.

The Brandon Italian Marble Company is a Vermont residing company that began in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s. Even though the company had its ups and downs it would eventually bought out by the Vermont Marble Company. Brandon Italian Marble Company had a rough early life because of a fire. After constructing a mill in Brandon, a fire burnt down the factory in 1898. Yet, the town of Milldebury wouldn’t let such an amazing opportunity pass them up. After offering the Brandon Italian Marble Company tax breaks so they could rebuild, the company moved to Middlebury and employed 175 men between 1899 and 1904. Due to the great number of immigrants flooding America, out of the 175 men employed at the marble mill, half of the workers were men from Italy, Canada, Ireland, Hungaria, Sweden, Finland, Germany, and Russia. All workers lived close to the factories. Histories believed that most took up dwelling on North Pleasant, Seymour, and Weybridge Streets. 

However, the marble working trade was very dangerous. Men crushed falling rocks in the mines, loose clothing being caught machinery during the milling process, and lung diseases such as silicosis from breathing in marble dust took many of the workers’ lives. The marble profession was just was a tough job as it was dangerous. Work was virtually all done by hand. Compressed air shot at rocks by hand would create a hole big enough and deep enough for dynamite. After the explosion, the workers would use twenty-pound sledgehammers to break up the stone. They would have to swing and beat the rocks into small enough pieces for a shovel to pick up the shattered rock and move it to a steel cart. When the cart was full, bells were dinged to alarm the person controlling the cart and an electric-powered cable would take the heavy cart up to the mill. 

The Brandon Company was bought out by the Vermont Marble Company in 1909. The production of marble in Middlebury continued until 1931, when a depression swept through the town, putting the company out of business. However, this not the end of the site. In 1940, a local quarry man George Palmer, got enough money together to buy out his own employer and gain the rights to the marble rich land. Surprisingly, George did not want Marble, he wanted limestone. Due to the fact that both are very profitable and usually found together, Palmer had no trouble restarting operations on the site and building back a company producing only limestone. Yet, even Palmer’s company went out of business. Due to a damaged shaft in the crusher in the year of 1942 and a shortage of metal, the main machine, crucial to the production of limestone/marble, was out of commission. George had no choice but to shut down the business and liquidate all assets. 

The Brandon Italian Marble Company was one of the most successful marble companies in Vermont. Beginning in the late 1800s the company would become so successful that it would help bring success to Vermont. The marble company began it’s digging in Brandon moved to Middlebury Vermont because of a fire in 1898. Though the mine in Brandon and Middlebury was prosperous it was dangerous work for the many workers which fueled the industrial revolution.

Andres, Glenn. “The Village Tour.” A Walking History of Middlebury / The Village Tour, http://midddigital.middlebury.edu/walking_history/village_tour/page_7.html.

Fitzsimmons. “Of Marble and Men.” Henry Sheldon Museum · Middlebury, Addison County, Vermont, 16 Apr. 2013, https://henrysheldonmuseum.org/of-marble-and-men/.

Vermont Marble Company Collection. Vermont Historical Society , https://vermonthistory.org/documents/findaid/vmc.pdf.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Fitzsimmons. “Of Marble and Men.” Henry Sheldon Museum · Middlebury, Addison County, Vermont, 16 Apr. 2013, https://henrysheldonmuseum.org/of-marble-and-men/.

“Brandon Italian Marble Company, Seymour Street, Middlebury, Vt. : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming.” Internet Archive, 1 Jan. 1892, https://archive.org/details/historicmidd_6282217652005_pc1981-486-29.