Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Durham Marble Works

I'm always on the look out for printed books and pamphlets from 19th century Durham. Pamphlets and advertisements are particularly hard to find and so I was excited to run across an 1889 booklet distributed by the Durham Marble Works now in Duke's off-site storage.

The booklet contains a list of some 156 suggested epitaphs for the company's gravestones. Nearly all of them present a rather maudlin cheeriness somewhat jarring and unfamiliar to us (or at least me) today.

As the booklet mentions (above), the marble company was located in five points, it continued to function at that location until at least 1915. By the early 1900s, perhaps as a result of increased construction and growing population, there were two rival marble companies also located in the vicinity of five points including T.O. Sharp's marble company (below - from an excellent piece on that area at Endangered Durham) where the downtown loop and parking lot behind the book exchange are today.