Peaches, peanuts, poultry: Georgia has a lot of all of them. But Pickens County has the most crystalline marble of any place in the world. One of the most highly prized minerals, it’s in 60 percent of the monuments in Washington D.C.
Native Americans used north Georgia marble hundreds of years before it was first commercially quarried in the 1830s. Samuel Tate bought land in the area and opened a quarry in the 1850s. Moving marble was not easy. That changed in 1883, when the railroad arrived. The next year, with northern investment, the Tate family started the Georgia Marble Company. It transformed the industry.
By 1924, $1.8 million worth of marble had been quarried in Pickens County. Georgia marble was used all over the world: the U.S., Georgia, and Puerto Rican capitols; it’s in the New York Stock Exchange, and Atlanta’s Lenox Square Mall.
The Georgia Marble Company’s ownership has changed hands many times, but it’s operated continuously since it was founded on May 10, 1884, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.