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    Using it all: The State Capital’s not so environmentally friendly past

    Denver Capital building
    Denver Capital building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The Colorado State Capitol building cuts an impressive figure, clad in white marble and peaked with 200 ounces of 24 K gold. Standing atop capitol hill in downtown Denver, the 13th step of the building stands exactly a mile above sea level.

    The beautiful park surrounding the Capitol building exudes environmentalism, with wide expanses of grass and trees mellowing the grays of the inner city.


    But the capitol has a secret. A pink one.

    "Beulah red" marble. Photo Courtesy of the Colorado State Capital
    “Beulah red” marble. Photo Courtesy of the Colorado State Capital

    Way back in 1893 a strange pink stone was found in the The Beulah Red Marble Quarry. It was suggested to the Capitol Building Commission that they use it instead of hardwood for the wainscoting on the inside of the State Capitol. The council liked the look of the stone so much that they used a lot of it. They used all of it.

    Well, the Capital building didn’t use quite all of it, but what was left was quickly gobbled up by the old McClelland Library and the Pueblo County Courthouse who wished to have fireplace trims made of the stone.

    Now the only place in the world to see “Beulah red” is in one of these three locations.

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    • J

      Jon BroomeJul 6, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      I cannot see the relevance of your argument that using all of this marble is somehow a dirty secret. Yes, the capital used nearly all the marble from my little quarry, but so what? It comes from a very small valley that I now own. It created a beautiful visual addition to our capital, one that tens of thousands of people have found pleasure in viewing over the last century. We can be proud that our capital is such a place. Finding fault with that takes imagination that might be better used in a positive way, had you that inclination.

      • J

        JamesOct 31, 2014 at 1:15 pm

        I’m moving to CO in Spring, and I completely agree with the above statement and furthermore I find this to be just one of the many auspicious things about CO. You should really change the heading, no offense but your kinda off the map with this one sir/mam. Your hearts in the right place it seems though! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • P

        PeteSep 4, 2015 at 10:50 am

        Dear Jon, I just came across this discussion, and wonder if you will see this post. Each year my wife (Jane Dianich) and I teach an annual one-day class for teachers, Geology of Building Stones in Downtown Denver, a walking tour with credit through Colo. School of Mines Continuing Educ., in which of course we visit the State Capitol and see & talk about the Beulah Marble. We have always wanted to visit Beulah and to see what is left of the quarry, in person. And as it happens, a year or so ago we met a teacher from Beulah, who said she might be able to contact the property owner–which I presume, is yourself–and obtain permission for us to visit the site. I had just–this past week–been talking with this teacher, Kris Allen, and asked her if she could try to contact you to see if we might able to visit the quarry this (Labor Day) weekend. Jane and I are planning to spend the weekend down near Pueblo–to go to the State Fair, visit the “Bishop Castle” (we’ve been there once, probably 15 years ago, and have always wanted to make a return visit), and hopefully, visit Beulah and the quarry too. So, if it is possible, I would very much appreciate it if you could write back to me! Kris may have already contacted you–or tried to–on our behalf. Thank you very much. And by the way, I agree that it’s no “dirty little secret” about having quarried marble at Beulah for use in the Capitol and elsewhere (I did not know, till reading this, that it had been used elsewhere too, in Pueblo). — Dr. Peter Modreski, geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, Denver CO. You may contact me at, or (I’ll not be able to access my USGS email over the weekend) at or, mobile phone, 720-205-2553. Thank you again, I’ll hope to hear from you, and I’ll recheck this discussion forum, too.