Colorado State Capitol Virtual Tour
The white marble used in the capitol, primarily the basement, was quarried at Yule Creek in Gunnison County. This quarry also provided marble for the Tomb of the Unknown Solider in Arlington National Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial. Also throughout the Capitol, is the rare and priceless Colorado Rose Onyx or what is commonly called Beulah Red Marble. In fact, the irreplaceable mauve marble is so rare that its known supply was completely used up in the process of beautifying the capitol. The quarrying was extremely difficult because of the rock's limited quantity while transporting the marble took at least three days. It would take seven years and more than two hundred stone cutters to finally finish the herculanian task of installing all of the marble in the State Capitol. One of the cutters said that the varying shades of red marble reminded him,"of the gorgeousness of a Colorado sunset."
As far as the exterior of the Capitol was concerned, the Capitol Board desired to use Fort Collins Sandstone. Many civic-minded socialites felt that sandstone was unworthy of gracing the building's exterior. Despite adding almost a half a million dollars to the building cost, the Capitol Board made the decision to use granite. The Gunnison Granite that makes up the exterior was quarried in 1889 at the Zugelder quarry at Beaver Creek. The quarry was somewhat remote so the Rio Grande Railroad had to build a five and a half mile extension so that the many tons of granite could reach Denver. Working ten-hour days seven days a week for two years, these quarrymen could produce twenty carloads of granite a week.
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last modified June 20, 2003