The challenges of moving marble from the Marble Quarry to a re-building Washington in the early part of the 19th century demonstrated exactly how valuable the C&O Canal would be. The quarry, discovered near here by architect Benjamin Latrobe, contained “limestone breccia” marble suitable for columns in the House of Representatives and Senate chambers.
Getting the marble to Washington wasn’t easy, as the great blocks of stone had to be boated down the Potomac River utilizing skirting canals around the rough stretches of water. In fact, Latrobe lamented about the entire process of mining marble, writing that “…every species of difficulty has been encountered. In opening the quarry, in collecting laborers, quarries and marble masons, in providing dwellings, shops and tools, and in organizing a great undertaking on the banks of a river where no habitation before existed.”