From the community

Union Historical Society program on Thomaston Black Marble

Posted Aug. 21, 2013, at 2:40 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 28, 2013, at 1:46 p.m.
Parlor Mantelpiece of Black Marble in Historic Thomaston Home - Peg McCrea of Thomaston will present her program at 7:30 PM, Wed. Sept. 4 at the Old Town House in Union. FMI call 785-5444
Parlor Mantelpiece of Black Marble in Historic Thomaston Home - Peg McCrea of Thomaston will present her program at 7:30 PM, Wed. Sept. 4 at the Old Town House in Union. FMI call 785-5444

UNION, Maine — Union Historical Society will meet at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 4, at the Old Town House on Town House Road, just off Union Common.

Margaret S. McCrea of Thomaston will give an illustrated presentation titled “Lime and Marble: A brief history of the Quarrying Industry that Placed 19th Century Thomaston on the Map.”

Early Thomaston was well known for its production of limestone, an industry responsible for supporting a major percentage of the population. Little is known, however, about the production of black marble from Thomaston quarries. Marble is a metamorphosed form of limestone which will take a high polish. Early state geological reports referred to local Thomaston marble as “unusually dark and when at the mill, even darker, and makes a good marble.”

The presentation will cover the origin and early introduction of black marble quarrying, manufacturing and its commercial history, as well as the identification of a few black marble mantelpieces in various Thomaston homes.

Margaret S. McCrea, born in upstate New York with roots in Maine, is past president of the Thomaston Historical Society and an independent historian/researcher. She was a longtime active member of historical societies in Newport and Portsmouth RI, and was employed by the Newport Preservation Society before relocating to Thomaston in 2000. History, architecture and sailing were important factors in the decision of Margaret and her husband Peter to retire to Thomaston.

McCrea immediately developed a passion for Thomaston history, spending many hours researching old deeds and records to learn more of Thomaston’s past. Prompted by multiple and diverse inquires received while involved with the Thomaston Historical Society, she found one of the most intriguing mysteries to be Thomaston’s black marble industry, about which little is written.

Also a watercolor artist and author of Maine Sail – an Artist’s Journal of a Cruise Down East published by Down East Publications, McCrea currently exhibits work at Art of the Sea in South Thomaston.

Following the program refreshments will be served by hosts Lynda Cassidy and Marion Gray. All meetings of Union Historical Society are free and open to the public. Union Historical Society owns and maintains the Robbins House on Union Common, the Cobb’s Ledge historic site on Town House Road, and the Old Town House, also located on Town House Road and available to rent for functions. Membership is $5.00 per year. For more information, call 785-5444 and leave a message, or visit www.unionhistoricalsociety.org

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