The first major quarry operations date back to 1838 and Knoxville became known as the polishing and distribution center for this popular stone. Once you can identify Tennessee Pink Marble, you will see it everywhere throughout the region. It was so abundant that many local public schools and churches have marble hallways, restrooms and window sills. The use of Tennessee Marble declined after World War II when cheaper building materials became widely available.
Technically, it’s limestone. The stone occurs in the belts of Ordovician-period rocks known as the Holston Formation. Tennessee Marble is actually a type of crystalline limestone, but it resembles marble when polished. Long esteemed by architects and builders for its pinkish-gray color, its hardness and the ease with which it is polishes, Pink Rose is the most well-known, but is also occurs in gray, dark burgundy “cedar” and variegated shades.