By Victoria Woodcock,
Historical researcher with the "Who Built the Minnesota Capitol Building" project
Over the last three years, a team of researchers has been uncovering the stories of the men and women who built the Minnesota State Capitol building between 1896 and 1907. We have researched not only on-site tradesmen, such as carpenters and stonecutters, but quarry and railroad workers who supplied the materials for the statehouse.
We found that the marble covering most of the building was quarried in the Amicalola Quarry near Tate in Pickens County. We also discovered that a number of men traveled north to Minnesota to work on shaping, polishing, and finishing the stone. Among these workers was a young man named Phelix Arthur who was the first man to be killed while working on the St. Paul construction site.
This research is in the process of being turned into a documentary and a website. To help give our viewers a better idea of what quarrying marble and life was like in the late 1800s and early 20th century, two members of the research team, Randy Croce, award-winning video producer and Dave Riehle, a well known Minnesota historian, will be coming to Pickens County to film and gather more research from October 23-25. We are interested in any information about community life or quarry work during the period around 1895 to 1910. We are especially interested in the following individuals:
Phelix Arthur and the Arthur Family of Grassy Knob,
If you are the descendant of any of these men or if you have any information about the Georgia Marble Company, the marble industry in general, the construction of the local railroads that serviced the quarries, or any other stories or photographs of this period that you would like to share, we would very much like to speak with you.
Please contact us (prior to October 22 if possible) at:
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota