Often referred to as the Marble City, Sylacauga sits atop a bed of marble 32 miles long, a mile and a half wide, and 400 feet deep. Alabama marble occurs in shades of white, pink, gray, red, and black, but the white marble of Sylacauga has consistently drawn the most acclaim. Sylacauga marble was first made famous by Italian sculptor Giuseppe Moretti, who established a marble works and studio in the area. Stone from local quarries was used to construct the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Supreme Court building. Alabama marble is among the highest quality stone in the world. It has been an important component of the state’s mining industry since the 1830s, although the uses for the stone have changed over time. With an average revenue of roughly $12.5 million today, the marble industry continues to thrive. Alabama artist Craigger Browne serves as Sylacauga Sculptor in Residence and the city hosts an annual marble festival, drawing sculptors from around the world.
Photos courtesy of: Library of Congress, Birmingham Public Library, Alabama Department of Archives and History