From the early 19th century, skilled workers were recruited from Canada and Europe to meet market demand for marble to build a new nation. The Green Mountains were at the heart of the thriving stone industry. Vermont marble was shipped around the country and world for buildings, monuments and sculpture. Many employment opportunities existed for quarrying, fabricating and carving stone, as well as in related supportive infrastructure. By 1900, the Vermont Marble Company, headquartered in the Rutland Region, owned and operated most of the quarries in the U.S. Our main building in West Rutland was built in 1855, and functioned as the Company Store. Most of the 3,000 workers would buy their family goods here, which were then recorded in a ledger against their earnings.
In 1987 the Carving Studio and Sculpture Center was founded by B. Amore, a sculptor then based in Boston, at the Vermont Marble Company in Proctor. Initially comprising two three-week summer workshops, the program was inspired by the sculpture studio environment in Carrara, Italy. The environment created by artisans working alongside beginning and professional sculptors inspires all participants.
The organization moved to West Rutland in 1989 at the invitation of the late Stanley Gawet, who owned the property. Students and supporters renovated the former Company Store building, and program expansion soon followed. Our storefront gallery on Marble Street was established in 1999, in cooperation with the Rutland County Community Land Trust. We purchased our main building and metals shop, with 5.5 acres of land, in January 2002. The goal of year-round programming is nearing reality with the acquisition, in 2009, of a third building, the former Vermont Marble Company Coping Shop.