Ozora

Quickfacts:

  • Telephone exchange: 543-xxxx
  • Zip code: 63673
  • Township: Beauvais

The Ste. Genevieve Herald
September 24, 2003

Ste. Genevieve Marble Used in Renovation of National
Archive Display

By Jean Feld Rissover
Page 3

        Some of the nation’s most revered
documents are on display at the National Archives building in
Washington D.C., and so is one of this county’s products.

        A two-year renovation of the national
information storehouse is now complete. An integral part of the
project was the creation of exhibition space for the original copy
of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the
Constitution of the United States.

        That’s where Ste. Genevieve County
comes in. The cases, in which the documents are housed are made from
Ste. Genevieve Gold Vein marble.

        Herb Fallert, former state
representative from Ste. Genevieve County and now a city alderman
and local business owner, says he is pleased that the local product
has been used in so important a project.

        "These documents are the most
important in our country’s history and they have meaning for all
Americans," Fallert told the Herald last week. "The fact that we can
play a role in their display is something we can all take pride in.
It makes Ste. Genevieve even more a part of our national story."

        When it comes to the National
Archives building, Ste. Genevieve has had a role for a long time.
Construction of the Archives building took more than two years
beginning in 1932.

        When it came time to select the
material for the case that would hold the Constitution, architect
John Russel Pope selected Ste. Genevieve Gold Vein marble.

        The time period for construction of
the building coincided with the heyday of the marble industry in
Ste. Genevieve County. And the rare Ste. Genevieve Gold Vein
marble-tan with cream and gold linear threads and virtually unique
to this area- was a natural choice for the case.

        When plans were made for the
renovation of the National Archives, designers wanted to use as many
of the original materials as possible, including the same kind of
stone for the new cases which would house all three of the country’s
founding documents.

        (It was not until 1952 that the Bill
of Righs and Declaration of Independence went on display in the
rotunda.)

        Local sources say the distinctive
marble was originally quarried at the Ozora Marble Quarry. But the
Ozora quarry had closed down more than three decades ago, and
experts said the small portion of the quarry which contained the
unusual marble that was formed in the Devonian Period had been
eroded away. New blocks of the Ste. Genevieve stone were thought to
be unavailable.

        Fortunately, before the quarry
operation closed down some of the marble had been shipped to a
marble company in Tennessee. It had been destined for the use in the
construction of a courthouse in Florida. The marble blocks were
stored in a quarry near Knoxville.

        The supply of Ste. Genevieve Gold
Vein intended for the Florida courthouse project was located and
incorporated into the design for renovation of the National Archives
building.

        Ste. Genevieve Gold Vein marble was
used in other important public buildings, as well as the National
Archives. For example, it was a key component in the construction of
the interior of the Cleveland Public Libarary (1923-1925) and in
other public and privately-owned buildings in that city, in building
locations as diverse as New Orleans and the North Central United
States, and throughout the country.

        Ironically, the Missouri State
Capitol in Jefferson City is not among buildings that feature the
local product.

        According to Fallert, plans for the
building called for the use of marble from this county. But when the
structure was erected during the second decade of the 1900’s, marble
from the area of Carthage, Missouri was used instead.

        "I don’t know why they changed their
minds," Fallert said. "It would have been nice if they’d used our
stone. But it all happened a long time ago."

        Should the politicians in Jeffesron
City decide they do want Ste. Genevieve Gold Vein marble in some
project, they won’t have any problem finding it.

        While the search for the marble for
the D.C. project was rigorous, it apparently failed to turn up the
fact that "Dutch" Kreilich has plenty of the stone on his property.

Kreilich told the Herald that there are about 600 tons of Gold Vein
stored on his property near St. Mary. It came from the Ozora quarry.
Some of the 100 or so blocks of marble weigh 25,0000 pounds apiece.

        Recently, another Ste. Genevieve
marble product was selected for a project. The Missouri Department
of Natural Resources used a slab of rose marble donated by Kreilich
Family Farms for the new sign at its Rolla headquarters of the
Geological Survey and Resource Assessment Division. (An open house
is planned from 1 pm to 6 pm on October 15 to show off the new sign
and other improvements at the Rolla headquarters.)

        The Ste. Genevieve Gold Vein cases
that house the Charters of Freedom documents are located in the
rotundra of the National Archives building. They are flanked by a
set of canvas murals which are mounted on the curved wall.

        The oil paintings were commissioned
in the late 1930’s and were created by artist Barry Faulkner. One
depicts Thomas Jefferson submitting the Declaration of Independence
to John Hancock; the other shows James Madison submitting the
Constitution to George Washington. The murals have also been
restored.

        The National Archives building was
rededicated earlier this month

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