The Historic Proctor Marble Museum Will Remain Open
A museum celebrating Vermont’s contribution to some of the country’s most historic buildings will continue to operate.
In its prime more than a century ago, the Vermont Marble Company was a global firm that employed thousands of people and was the largest marble works in the world.
The stone it produced, which came from a variety of locations, endures in countless national landmarks, including the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials, the U.S. Supreme Court Building and the House and Senate office buildings.
“The list goes on and on,” says Executive Director Paul Bruhn of the Preservation Trust. “It’s quite an amazing, important legacy of Vermont.”
"There's a lot going on in Proctor and we hope that the marble building with will be a really important part of this effort of strengthening the economy of the community." - Paul Bruhn, executive direction of The Preservation Trust
Two and a half years ago, the owners of the museum announced they would sell the building and auction the contents.
Bruhn says the purchase not only preserves a record of Proctor’s past, but its also hoped that empty space in the building can be used to attract new business to their community.
“There’s a lot going on in Proctor and we hope that the marble building with will be a really important part of this effort of strengthening the economy of the community,” he says.
Bruhn says a newly formed local non-profit, spearheaded by Bob and Vicky Young of Proctor and Ina Smith Johnson of Poultney, will operate the museum and eventually take ownership of the facility.
As part of the fundraising effort, the Preservation Trust received a USDA loan for $175,000 and a $100,000 grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.
The Preservation Trust will continue to seek funds for environmental cleanup and building upgrades over the next several years.
Bruhn says the effort to raise the necessary funds was long and complicated.
At one point, part of the museum’s collection, including a paper archive and a collection of stone samples from around the world, was sold to the University of Pennsylvania.
Bruhn says the most important artifacts remain, including 3,000 large format glass plate negatives that document the early work of the company. One of the photos shows the columns of the U.S. Supreme Court building being carved in Proctor.
At one point, part of the museum's collection, including a paper archive and a collection of stone samples from around the world, was sold to the University of Pennsylvania.
Proctor was a company town founded by Vermont Civil War veteran Redfield Proctor, Sr. The Proctors remained in control of the Vermont Marble Company until it was purchased in 1976 by a Swiss parent company of OMYA, which extracts calcium carbonate from Vermont quarries. The Vermont Marble Company was at the center of a labor strike that attracted national attention in the 1930s.
According to the Vermont Marble Museum's website, they will re-open in the spring of 2015.