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THE STORY OF THE BARNEY
MARBLE QUARRY, MILL AND FAMILY
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The Barney Marble Quarry & Mill : THE STORY OF THE BARBEY MARBLE QUARRY, MILL AND FAMILY
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The Barney Marble Mill was a big, useful factory in Swanton, Vermont. It was a factory that was established in the early 1800's by George Barney. It remained in business for many years and was an important part of Swanton. It continues to hold a special place in the Swanton community.

The marble mill was a difficult business in the early years. Marble is extremely hard and heavy and is difficult to cut. The industry did not have equipment to quarry the marble which made it tough. During this time the most popular marble was the White Dove. The marble was used locally because they had no equipment to ship the marble out. In the early days, this marble was used for gravestones, marble shelves, counter tops, etc.. In 1823 the Barge Canal was built. This allowed a great amount of marble to be shipped to New York City by Lake Champlain. This shows the challenges that the mill went through in the early years.

The mill would not have had the opportunity of distributing marble if it wasn't for what occurred 500 million years ago. Vermont was under water, which was the ocean, and it eroded sedimentary rocks, especially marble. The marble that was found in Swanton came from changes in pressure and temperature. Marble is a soft rock. There are 2 different types of marble. They are dolomite and calcite. Calcite is made up of calcium and magneisus which causes it to fizz without powder and only hydrochloric acid, otherwise vinegar. Dolomite is found in Swanton and fizzes with only powder which you get by scratching the marble then putting hydrochloric acid otherwise known as vinegar on it, This shows how important the marble was to the industry.

The marble mill business was a big business for Swanton and took a great deal of hard work. The main places the marble was quarried was on Route 7, Isle Lamotte, and in Canada. They had to use jackhammers to cut out huge blocks of marble. Each of these blocks weighed about 10 tons. Then the blocks would be put into a wagon pulled by 10 horses. Once the block was in the yard, they had flat cars in 3 bays to place the marble.

In 1932 the marble mill was hit hard. This was during the Great Depression. Marble is very expensive and people couldn't afford it back then. The mill finally closed in 1938 after 6 hard years. The marble business in Swanton was strong from 1850- 1930.

Even though the marble mill is no longer running, it is still a very important piece of Swanton's community. Swanton school students are able to visit the quarry, which once supplied the marble mill.