The Barney Marble Quarry & Mill
The Swanton Historical Society and the Swanton Central School (grades 5 & 6) decided to research the Barney Marble Quarry & Mill in Swanton its impact on the community and its story. The youthful LINKS Group, (Learning Is New Knowledge Shared) were able to experience the excitement of discovering the connection between history and the present moment.
Students have done research on the quarry and have also spent time at the site. One of the first tasks was to visit the local library and to meet with librarian Marilyn Barney to learn about resources available there. Kenneth Barney, a descendant of George Barney, the founder of the Barney Marble Works, visited the students in class to discuss the process of running the quarry and the mill and its history. University of Vermont Geology Professor Barry Doolin also visited the classroom to explain the way in which marble is formed. Students participated in some lab experiments during his visit.
Throughout the year, teachers and local historical society members worked with students to develop a map, timeline, poems, a rap song and a research document indicating the role of the quarry and the industry in the community.
The project’s conclusion was celebrated by a class visit to the site of the original Barney marble quarry where the current owner explained to the students how marble is extracted and processed using modern tools and machinery.
Each of the students was rewarded with their own Swanton red marble “Barney Bear” and participated in a picnic on the site of the old Barney Marble Mill where Prof. Doolin revisited them to join in the celebration with students and parents and members of the Swanton Historical Society.
Three of the students also journeyed to Tunbridge to participate in Vermont History Expo 2002 along with members of the Swanton Historical Society and together created an exhibit on the History of the Barney Marble Works in Swanton.