Dorset Quarry

Figure 1 - View of the Dorset Quarry, Dorset, VT (c) DE Wolf 2013.

Figure 1 – View of the Dorset Quarry, Dorset, VT (c) DE Wolf 2013.

Vermont is marble!  Indeed the old part of Manchester Village, opposite the Equinox Resort, is actually paved with marble blocks.  So on my recent trip to Vermont, I had one destination in mind, ahead of time, and that was the Dorset Quarry in Dorset, Vermont.  I had been there before and knew that it was an ideal location for the kind of geometric images that I love.

Dorset Quarry was the first commercial marble quarry in the United States.  It was opened in South Dorset by Isaac Underhill in 1785 and continued to produce marble for the next 130 years.  There were ultimately at least  two dozen quarries located on Mts.  Dorset Mountain and Aeolus. Dorset marble was widely used for headstones, hearths, and mantels as well as for sculpture.  This marble was used for several major architectural masterpieces including:the New York Public Library, the library of Brown University, and Memorial Continental Hall of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington, D.C. as well several of the stately mansions on Fifth Avenue in New York City.Figure 1 is just a snapshot to give you a sense of the location.

It is the usual black as night water filled town swimming holes.  It conjures up nightmares of accidental drowning deaths.  However, I am assured that the actual safety record of the quarry is much better and that there have not been any fatal incidents at the Dorset Quarry.  Still it seems the perfect setting for a Stephen King novel or M. Night Shyamalan movie.

There are huge blocks of graffiti covered quarried marble blocks which decorate the site.  These form abstract designs ideal for photography.  I have several successful photographs from this trip, which I will publish over the next few weeks.  Figure 2 is an example.   I find that the man-made bore holes enhance the majesty of the marble.  Marble is an interesting substance to photograph.  It comes in many varieties.  Dorset marble is know for its blueness.  However, a given image seems to call out fro its own intrinsic toning.  I have chosen a cold blueish tone for Figure 1 but a warmer sepia tone for Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Dorset Quarry #1 Dorsert, VT, (c) DE Wolf 2013.

Figure 2 – Dorset Quarry #1, Dorset, VT, (c) DE Wolf 2013.

This entry was posted in Personal Photographic Wanderings.


  1. Bob Dern June 8, 2015 at 11:17 pm #

    I seem to remember that there was at least one terrible fatality at the Dorset Quarry (in the 1960’s sometime I think). My Mom was the local doctor in Dorset at the time and I remember how shaken up she was after returning from the scene. The young man, Buddy Baker, had used one of the ropes hanging from one of the trees to go into the quarry, but somehow slipped and was impaled on one of the steel spikes still located back then in the marble blocks. That’s my memory of it, anyway. I’m 66 y.o. now and living in CA, but grew up in Dorset from 1955 – 1966.

    • David June 9, 2015 at 12:50 am #

      Thanks for the historical note Bob. Here is a clipping from the Bennington Banner, August 7, 1962, that describes the incident and mentions your mother.

      • Bob Dern June 9, 2015 at 1:30 am #

        Thanks David. I’d tried to find something online about this tragedy without luck. Thanks for all the details, sad as they are. I also remember Gordon Mooney from the VT. State Police.

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  1. By Down to the sea | Hati and Skoll Gallery on September 15, 2013 at 6:47 am

    […] of stone, there is an ambiguity as to what toning works best.  Unlike the marble images that I took last May in Dorset Quarry, VT, where I chose cold toning, here I felt that a subtle warm sepia tone worked best for […]