T. M. Davidson started Marble Quarry in 1874 to develop deposits in the [[[connections:devils-punch-bowl|Devil’s Punch Bowl]]. At first, he hauled his great blocks of marble on sleighs to Carbondale to be shipped. After he persuaded Pitkin County to back the Crystal River Railroad, he could ship out even great blocks like the seventeen-ton block for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Wealthy from the quarry, he built Goliath Manor and brought out a bride from one of the better Boston families. He donated enough marble to build the Marble Edifice, a church which also served as a school and |town hall. The workers lived in ten-by-ten cabins made from felled pines.
In 1887, thirty-one miners were killed when a cliff face collapsed.
An 1894 strike led by the United Mine Workers Union against the low pay, hazardous working conditions, and poor sanitary conditions lasted for three months. Conditions improved somewhat. Only three lives were lost in the strike.
Another fatal accident took the lives of fourteen men when a pack train hauling marble to the railroad stumbled back into Devil’s Punch Bowl in 1897. In 1898, the Spanish-American War broke out. Some of the workers left, but the quarry had enough orders to enable it to continue.
Another strike erupted in 1901 and lasted for a year. Workers were hired back at less pay, three dollars a day rather than four, and the same fourteen hours a day.
Colorado passed a law in 1903 demanding an eight-hour day for workers along with other reforms. This law went largely unnoticed in the quarry.
In 1913, some thawed dynamite exploded, and twenty-five workers were killed. This year also saw the Great Strike up and down Crystal River Valley, which marble workers joined. The workers finally accepted T. M. Davidson’s offer of a ten-percent wage increase, further safety measures, and promises to comply with Colorado state labor laws.
Mr. Davidson died in 1914, but his business associates from Denver kept the quarry and manor going.
Depending on orders and economic stability, Marble Quarry continued to employ anywhere from 20 to 75 workers until the Great Crash of 1929, when orders ceased. The quarry disbanded1.