The museum includes samples of marble leftover from the highly successful marble industry that once had a heyday in the East Tennessee region. Tools are on display…tools that were once used for quarrying and processing marble. Photographs and drawings adorn the walls. The museum features a special exhibit area dedicated to showing the work of Albert Milani, the creator of the marble sculptures adorning the Candoro Marble Company.
The Candoro Marble Company building was designed by the famous architect Charles Barber in the architectural style known as Beaux Arts. The exterior of the building is marble. Inside, visitors find inlaid marble walls and floors. The structure features carved marble and stonework by sculptor Albert Milani. The ornamental ironwork decorating the main entrance is by Samuel Yellin, the most notable artisan of iron during the 20th Century. Yellin’s family ironwork business continues operation to this day.
The marble industry once thrived in East Tennessee, and 100 years ago, Knoxville was commonly referred to as “The Marble City.” In the early 1900s, Knoxville was home to nearly 20 marble companies. From the 1920s through the 1970s, Candoro Marble Company served as one of the largest marble processors in the United States. Candoro was affiliated with The John J. Craig Quarries.
Marble from the Craig quarries was processed at Candoro and used in many historically significant building projects, including the beloved pair of lion sculptures entitled “Patience” and “Fortitude” at the entrance of the New York Public Library. Marble quarried from Craig Quarries and processed through Candoro Marble Company adorns the exterior of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. Candoro Marble Company was the largest producer of pink marble in the United States.