History

 

Name Origin

The name “Candoro” is a combination of the first letters of each cofounder’s last name. John J. Craig III, grandson of the company’s founder, and three other investors— F.C. Anderson, W.J. Donaldson, and S.A. Rodgers—
  • John J. Craig III, grandson of the founder of The John J. Craig Company
  • F.C. Anderson
  • W.J. Donaldson
  • S.A. Rodgers

Company Beginnings

Around the turn of the 20th Century, the East Tennessee region was one of the largest marble producers in the world. The John J. Craig Company operated several quarries in the vicinity of Knoxville, TN. The marble industry once thrived in East Tennessee, and 100 years ago, Knoxville was commonly referred to as “The Marble City.” Candoro Marble Company was the largest producer of pink marble in the United States.
  • Candoro Marble was needed as a showroom and a place to cut and polish the marble.
  • Candoro Marble Company’s showroom, office, and grounds and buildings were completed in 1923.
  • The building was designed by the famous architect Charles Barber
  • Carved marble ornamentation by sculptor Albert Milani
  • Ornamental ironwork decorating the main entrance is by Samuel Yellin
The main building served as the showroom and office. Other buildings were constructed on the grounds for storing, processing, and polishing marble from local quarries. Candoro Marble Company also processed marble that was imported to the United States.

Operations

The company was widely known as “Candoro Marble Works.” It was in operation as a marble cutting and polishing facility for about 50 years. In 1996, the main structure and other buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Eventually, other independent marble fabricating companies occupied the space up until the early 2000s. The South Knox Arts and Heritage Center gained site control of the Candoro Marble showroom and office building in 2002 thanks to a generous loan by five members of the Knoxville community. In 2005 the name was changed to Candoro Arts & Heritage Center to reflect the broader importance of the Candoro Marble Company on Knoxville as well as on capitol cities throughout the United States. The history of Tennessee marble is a story yet to be heard by many. There was even a time when Knoxville was called “Marble City.”

More information about Knoxville’s role in the marble industry can be found in Jack Neely’s book, “Marble City.” Candoro Marble Company’s role was so important that Ann Bennett, historic preservation planner of Knoxville Metropolitan Planning Commission for thirty years, once referred to The Candoro Marble Building as second only to Blount Mansion in terms of historical significance. The organization in place today is known as “Candoro Arts and Heritage Center.”

The architecture and grounds stand today as a unique neighborhood icon. The famous Knoxville-based architect Charles Barber designed the structure in the Beaux Arts style. The space is a fittingly elegant venue for hosting exhibits and a popular annual fundraising event entitled “Vestival.” The beautiful main building serves as hub for the neighborhood known as “Vestal” in Knoxville, Tennessee. Vestival is special time of year when South Knoxville focuses on how it has shaped itself — its design, its future. Vestival reflects the pride of South Knoxvillians who enjoy gathering at their very own beautiful historic place.