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Gunnison History Tracker
Aberdeen Quarry
    Just before Mile Marker 294, at an elevation of 7525 feet, we come to Aberdeen Junction. The Denver & Rio Grande built the branch in 1889, which traveled 4.5 miles through the Sam Lewis Ranch, following Willow Creek south, to the Aberdeen Quarry.
Not a metal mining camp, Aberdeen was founded by F.G. and L. F. Zugelder, and W.R. and T.U. Walter, on April 16, 1889. The Zugelder’s snow shoed the first sample out, in March, of 1888, then, on June 20th, an announcement was made that the stone from Aberdeen would be used in the construction of the state capital building.
    Hundreds pass within the walls of Colorado State Capital Building daily. Those indestructible stone walls will stand for ages. The building is composed of Colorado white granite, with large pillars at each entrance supporting a ceramic style roof. Pillars along the west entrance are topped with carved stone statues. Mostly depicting early life in the Denver area. The tall entrance doors are embedded with copper and glass. Each entrance landing has early 19th century light posts, which also surround the grounds. The dome towers 180 feet above, and contains stained glass dedicated to the 16 initial founders of the city of Denver. 
    The interior of the capitol was built with the rare and priceless Colorado Rose Onyx or what is commonly called Beulah Red Marble. The rose marble was quarried at the Aberdeen Quarry. The mauve marble is so rare, that its known supply was completely used up in the process of beautifying the capitol.
    The Cutting, polishing, and installing of the marble took six years, from 1894 to 1900. The noise and bustling activity of drilling, blasting, cutting, and loading filled the area. Huge blocks of granite were carefully cut according to specification and swung into position on the tiny narrow gauge cars which rolled to Denver. The Denver & Rio Grande greatly facilitated the transportation of the granite for the capital, by laying a third rail between Salida and Denver, so no reloading to standard gauge cars would be necessary.
    There were four steam derricks, and one-hundred and fifty men, that worked ten hours a day, seven days a week, to move as much granite as possible before the winter weather closed in. Even a strike couldn’t stop operations, when coal and hard rock miners, cowboys, ranchers, mule skinners, and even hoboes threw in to keep things rolling. The First load was transported to Denver on August 14th, 1889, to be cut and dressed on the capital grounds. 5-25 cars of granite were shipped daily, and on July 4, 1890, the capital cornerstone was laid.
On April 7, 1892, the work force was lowered to four, to quarry any replacement pieces that might be needed. All work ended June 15th, 1892, then the spur was abandoned due to little demand for this granite after the completion of the Capital Building, so the rails were removed in 1904.
    Aberdeen had a Post Office, a population of 149, and a school for four pupils. The quarry operated from August 1, 1889 to June 15, 1892. After the quarry closed, a few people continued to live at Aberdeen for a time. Today all that remains of the town is piles of weathered lumber on the ground where buildings once stood.
     Owned for a number of years by Louis Borland and Bill Endner, both deeded the quarry to the Gunnison County Pioneer and Historical Society. Throughout the summer months jeep tours are scheduled to the Quarry by the Pioneer Museum.

Address: 14 miles SW of Gunnison
 Legal: parts of Sec 4 & 5, T 48N, R1W
 Current Use: Museum Tours
 Contact: Gunnison Pioneer Museum
 Date Designated: December 17, 1996