West Rutland Marble Quarry
The Vermont Marble Company, established in 1880, was originally a quarry run by William Barnes. Later on, the company was passed down to Horace Henry Baxter, who co-ran the quarry with his younger brother, John Baxter. In 1880, they were independent quarries in Center Rutland, West Rutland, and Salem, New York. These companies were then purchased by The Vermont Marble Company. When Redfield Proctor was named manager of the company in 1880, he combined the company with the Sutherland Falls Marble Company to create the Vermont Marble Company. By 1891, the company had quarries in Boston, Toledo, Chicago, and Philadelphia. The Vermont Marble Company became hugely successful and provided work for thousands of immigrant workers.
Backstory and Context
The West Rutland Marble Company was successful for many years independently but was eventually purchased by the Vermont Marble Company in 1888. The West Rutland company, along with many other smaller companies, were purchased and no longer have much personal history. The marble industry in West Rutland and surrounding areas flourished for many years, but towards the middle of the 20th century, it started to decline. Eventually, in 1978, the Vermont Marble Company was sold, and the marble industry around the world declined.
After the initiation of the railroad, the population in West Rutland boomed. The quarry was worked mainly by Polish and Irish immigrants, and most lived in the houses that were built for the workers. The work at the quarry allowed for men to make a steady living and care for their families. Before the quarry was commercialized, it was used for smaller household things like building fireplaces, and in one case, the marble was used as a foundation for a house. The marble industry became very lucrative and was responsible for the flourishing of West Rutland. Most quarries around the country were not successful until the railroad was fully functional because there was a lack of transportation for the large pieces of marble that were being extracted.
The Proctor Marble Company also flourished. So many people were hired due to the size of the quarries, it became the reason that the town of Proctor Vermont was created. The quarry owners provided living spaces for their workers, and this developed into the town that is as known today.
The new town of Proctor was to serve as the Marble Company headquarters. Many of the immigrants from various origins, such as Italy, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, and other western European countries, had lived within the town of Proctor. They created municipal buildings, ancillary offices, and office buildings located across Otter Creek. The Vermont Marble Company has pieces of marble all over the world but also locally. The Otter Creek bridge, West Rutland School, different churches around the county, and many other structures, are made with Vermont Marble Company products.
“Historical Society.” Town of West Rutland Vermont, Historical Society, 2014, https://www.westrutlandtown.com/town-history/historical-society/.
Vermont Historical Society, “Vermont Marble Company”, Vermont Historical Society, 2 October 2007, Montpelier https://vermonthistory.org/documents/findaid/vmc.pdf
Lilly, Amy. “The Vermont Marble Museum Explores the Company Behind Countless National Buildings and Monuments.” Seven Days, Seven Days, 5 Dec. 2019, https://www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/the-vermont-marble-museum-explores-the-company-behind-countless-national-buildings-and-monuments/Content?oid=2243602.