Marble In The Chiricahuas

The northern end of the Chiricahuas about three miles southeast of old Fort Bowie once had a marble quarry. Denver capitalists formed the Arizona Marble Co; in 1909. with a reported capital of about S250,OOO and John G. Kerr as manager. They set about developing some eleven claims and installed a highly mechanized operation. The marble itself was described as "white, with pronounced dark veinings. and a predominating flesh tint". Active work apparently began in the summer of.1910.

Marble from the original quarry was utilized for building construction. Early projects included the First National Bank Building in Denver, Colorado and bank buildings in Champaign. Illinois and Missoula, Montana. By late August in 1910 the same company had other locations, of statuary marble. about three mites distant. Another news item at the end of October said that work at the company's Whitetail [Creek] property was expected to commence soon.

In 1910. "the first year in which any marble has been reported", total production by the Arizona Marble Co. was given as 5,043 cubic feet. valued at $10,086 . This venture evidently lasted only a few years before shutting down. In addition to quarries in the Chiricahuas and the Dragoons. marble sources in southern Arizona included the Tucson Mountains. the Santa Catalinas near Marble Peak, and the northern end of the Santa Rita range. The Santa Rita Granite. Marble and Mining Co. began its operations in 1910 and as of 1966 a successor company was the only firm still quarrying marble in southern Arizona.

Courtesy of Wayne Morrow

Howard Topoff 2011