|"US Capitol west side" by Martin Falbisoner - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons -|
The Hawkins County marble was the first quarried and it is said that it w brought to notice by the favorable expression with reference to it by Dr Troost, the first State geologist.
In 1838 the Rogersville Marble Company was formed for the purpose of sawing marble and establishing a marble factory in the vicinity of Rogersville. Orville Rice was elected president and SD Mitchell secretary. The company operated to a limited extent for several years, erected a mill and sold several thousand dollars worth of marble annually, which was mostly distributed in East Tennessee. In 1844 the company sold out to the president, Rice, who on a moderate scale carried on the business for many years. He sent a block of the “light mottled strawberry variety” to the Washington monument This was called the “Hawkins County Block” and bears the inscription “From Hawkins County, Tennessee. Another block of one of the best varieties was sent, by act of the Legislature, which was called the State Block. These blocks attracted the attention of the building committee of the National Capitol, who although they had numerous specimens from all parts of the Union before them, decided in favor of the East Tennessee marble. An agent was sent out by them to ascertain whether or not it could be obtained in quantity who upon examination found the supply apparently inexhaustible. As a result of these circumstances, an extensive quarry affording an excellent material, has been opened near Mooresburg, Hawkins, County, and is now known as the old Dougherty Quarry. From this was obtained marble for probably one half of the ornamental work in the Capitol at Washington. The balustrades and columns of the stairs leading up to the House and Senate galleries, the walls of the marble room, and other parts of the building are made from it. It has since been used in the United States Treasury building, the State house at Columbia, SC, and many of the finest buildings in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Cincinnati. The stone from this quarry has not been used for general construction on account of the high price which it commands for ornamental work.