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This image was made in 2012 inside the old Yule Marble Quarry. This is looking SW, towards old portal 3. I say 'old portal' because this was the third original opening in the quarry and, I believe, this one was started/opened around 1909-1910.

The opening that was blasted into the quarry to allow heavy machinery to travel into the mining area was done in 1990 and the crew back then never gave it a number, just called it the entrance portal.

The numbered portals are simply named sequentially with Portal 1 being the first opening/gallery/portal in the quarry and so on, with just three portals in use from 1907-1941.

Back to the image. Again, we are looking SE and can see the remnants of light against the wall in the upper middle of the image. The marble looks gray to black, but is really brilliant white underneath the staining from diesel smoke and even ash from the barrel fires used to keep workers from freezing to death in the winter. The blacksmith shop was also located inside the quarry for many years and didn't help with the air quality.

Notice the different colors on the walls? There were at least four different sources of light in this image (four different color temperatures) that gave me fits. I don't like to spend much time post-processing and what you see is what you would have seen if you were standing next to me at the time.

The green tint on the marble to the left in the images is actually from a pool of mineral rich water that is just out of frame at the bottom. That pool is reflecting onto the marble above it. The water was used inside the cuts while the huge saws were working to keep the dust down and to help keep the blades cool.

The freshest pieces of cut marble are easily seen in the bottom right of the image and almost made the image impossible to capture in one frame since they are so white and reflective.

The marble wall in the very right of the image that runs from bottom to top was lit by a variety of light sources inside the quarry and almost looks blue.

Towards the middle-left of the image you can see a man standing in front of some freshly cut marble, The entire section of marble that looks whiter has simply been washed off and, in some cases, has had the front, stained part cut and pulled away.

When RED GRANITI first started leasing the rights to quarry here in the early 2000s, they wanted to power wash all of the interior walls, from top to bottom. The ventilation at the time was so poor that you had to wear a mask at times to avoid choking on the diesel smoke. They were talked out of the power washing, as they had no adequate ventilation to draw in fresh air and remove the diesel smoke. It was a short time later that they added the tubes you see running across the middle of the image from left to right and disappearing into another chamber (A-Room). They also realized that power washing would be a constant gig so why bother, as the ultimate plan was to open new portals and close this portion of the quarry.

The ventilation tubes run from the top of Portal 2 (out of sight) to the very back of A-Room, which is, I think, about 800 feet or so. A gigantic fan at the end of the A-Room tube sucks air out and a different fan blows air in at the top of Portal 2. I believe they heated the air in the winter, but don't quote me.

See the fellow in the lower right, standing at the entrance to A-Room? When the quarry reopened in 1990, this was a solid marble wall and the end of the quarry. The floor at that time was at the top of this opening. The crew simply started cutting away the floor they were standing on and continued moving forward and down with the progress.

About 70 feet or so inside A-Room, you can turn left and walk about another 80 feet or so, make another left, walk for 70 feet, and end up at the entrance to B-Room, which is just about in the lower middle of the photo, partially hidden by the large pile of debris marble in the center. This puts you right back inside the big room.

A-Room itself goes back about 300 feet or so, straight ahead of the worker and around 100 feet to the right, where the deposit of marble played out in that direction. The entire deposit at this quarry is about a mile long and up to 400-450 feet thick.

The machine with the saw blade sticking straight up is one of the old gallery saws and was used to open up rooms like A-Room, by cutting the floor or cutting into a vertical wall. The other machine is a modern version that is remote controlled and self-contained, for the most part, all electric and hydraulic, I believe.

You can also see the wooden staircase that travels vertically from near the floor to the top of Portal 3. This is the emergency staircase that was built in 1990 to satisfy MSHA requirements to have an emergency exit. A portion of this staircase was obliterated when a HUGE piece of marble broke free from the ceiling and sent pieces of the exit flying like toothpicks. It was rebuilt with a cage around that portion. I was standing close to the bottom of that cage for the photo I posted earlier.

There is much more that I can comment on just within this image, but I don't want to rattle on too much.

I would like to point at a very historical and important observation that was passed on to me by Oscar McCollum, Jr, when he was giving me his first-hand experience with the quarry and finishing mill from 1941. Remember that the ceiling of the entrance at A-Room used to be the floor in 1941. That floor extended towards the emergency staircase for a short stretch and then the floor opened up to a very large pit in the middle of this big room. That pit is where most of the huge blocks for the Lincoln Memorial columns came from. Oscar stated that some of the old timers working in the quarry in 1941 were also there when these column drums were cut and lifted out of the quarry. How cool is that?!

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