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Marble Block Unsuitable For Unknown Soldier Monument
Quarry Operator Vows To Keep Searching
August 15, 2003

MARBLE, Colorado -- A second block of marble cut at a quarry near here has been deemed unsuitable to replace the cracked Tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument outside Washington.

Rex Loesby of Sierra Minerals Corp. said Thursday the 55-ton block cut last month at the Yule Quarry initially looked good. But more research revealed small, dark gray spots that could show up on the surface.

The monument at Arlington National Cemetery was completed in 1932 to honor soldiers killed in America's wars whose bodies were never identified. It is made of marble cut from the Yule Quarry in 1931.

Two horizontal cracks in the tomb's walls, first noticed in the 1940s, have spread. Last year, Arlington officials asked Loesby to start looking for new marble. A block cut last summer was also deemed unsuitable.

Loesby said his crew will return to a part of the quarry under a 250-foot ceiling carved by miners a century ago and begin looking for the stone directly below where the original tomb marble was found.

He said it could be next summer before another massive block of stone can be culled. A retired car dealer from Glenwood Springs has pledged to pay for the cost of the stone for the tomb.

"I think we're going to take our time and get the very best stone we can produce," Loesby said. "The hunt goes on."

Posted: 23 August 2003