In the year 1920, there were approximately 20 marble quarries surrounding Knoxville, TN. Today, there are only six active marble quarries in the Knoxville metro area. Most recently, pink marble from Tennessee was used on two projects of national significance: 1. the floor of the United States Capitol Visitor Center, and 2. the “First Amendment” tablet facade of Washington D.C.s latest museum entitled “The Newseum.”
If one has the training and mindset of a geologist, it is important to note that the rock commonly referred to as Tennessee Pink Marble is actually not marble at all…it is limestone. This particular limestone is very dense and highly prized by marble sculptors.
Artists maintain that the stone polishes up beautifully and has all the outer characteristics of marble, so most people generally classify the rock as Tennessee Marble. Pink Marble is found throughout Appalachian Mountains, but Tennessee Pink Marble is unique to the Knoxville region.