Thursday, June 28, 2018

Vermont - Day 22 - Proctor

Country Village Campground
Friday, 22 June 2018

This is yesterday's map and I can't seem to find the photo I took of day's route.  But if you look northwest of Rutland, you'll see Proctor, which is where I went today.

Google refuses to give me a route using the state routes unless there's no alternative, and I've gotten lost often enough on them that I decided to stick with US Rt 7, which I'm getting to know fairly well.  So I went down to Rutland, went west a bit, and drove north to Proctor.

Proctor's claim to fame is the Vermont Marble Museum, which is well worth the visit.  The whole Rutland area was put on the map originally because of marble quarries, which still operate in the area.  Rutland is still Vermont's 3rd largest town, with 16,000-17,000 residents (which shows that "large" is relative up here).

This plaque explains a little of the background.

This building is across the street from the museum and I think may be a warehouse.  It's just that it's made of marble, as you can see in this closer view on the right.
Inside the museum (also made of marble, duh), I learned that marble is your basic limestone.  It starts a gazillion years ago as countless trillions of sea creatures leaving their shells on the ocean floor when they die.  Those are eventually stressed by shifts of tectonic plates, forming limestone, which gradually softens and reforms into marble.

Mt. St. Helens
Mt. Fuji
I learned that there are several different types of volcanoes, and that Earth's most picturesque volcanoes are called composite cones and are formed by alternate layers of lava and ejected loose fragments; they include Mt. Fuji in Japan, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier in Washington state, and Mt. Shasta in California.  (I didn't understand why they had a big display about volcanoes, or why they had a triceratops skeleton from North Dakota, in the marble museum, but they were interesting.)

There was also an exhibit about VT buildings that I skimmed through (not being specifically about marble), but I thought this sign was interesting.  An entire state is a national treasure?

But for me the museum had 2 star attractions: several statues they had that were carved out of single pieces of marble, and an exhibit on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, made of marble milled here in Proctor.

First the Tomb.

The marble itself came from a quarry in Colorado that's 10,000' above sea level.  It was then shipped to Proctor, VT, where it was milled - shaped and decorated - and then it went to Arlington, VA.  Since this was done in the 1920s, it's hard for me to imagine the technological challenge the logistics must have presented.  The finished statue is 16' long, 10' wide, and 11' high.

It was first used for the body of an unknown soldier from World War I, and later for ditto from World War II and the Korean War.  Then there was the interesting situation of the soldier who'd been entombed representing the Vietnam War.  His identity was unknown when he was buried but subsequent DNA tests learned who he was and he was disinterred so he could be buried properly.  But they've left that crypt empty since then - I'm guessing they don't want to have to go through that again.

Now for the happy stuff.  Just look at these statues.

I hope you can blow them up enough to see the texture of their garments and the other details.  Just stunning.  And each from only one piece of stone.

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