Codiak San Herrell

Photos Courtesy Phenix Marble and Gary Galassi Stone & Steel 

Founded in 1821 by the son of a frontiersman named Daniel Morgan Boone, and named after our second President Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson City, Missouri encouraged the growth of local industries based on its abundant wheat crop, such as flour mills and distilleries. It eventually became the state capitol, and over time raised three structures to house the state government.  In 1917 construction was started on a new dome-topped building, by the New York architectural firm of Tracy and Swartwout. A majestic native-stone building was dedicated as the new Missouri State Capitol building in 1924.

Above: Construction on the Missouri State Capitol dome, c. 1918, and a replacement capital from the front portico. Below: inspecting and selecting slabs at the Phenix Marble quarry.

Above: Construction on the Missouri State Capitol dome, c. 1918, and a replacement capital from the front portico. Below: inspecting and selecting slabs at the Phenix Marble quarry.

This impressive building stands five stories high and is 437 feet long, and elegantly rests right beside a loop of the Missouri River. The Missouri State Capital is a symmetrical building designed in Roman Classical style. Its distinctive dome and two wings resemble the U.S. Capitol Building and it is one of the last state houses constructed in this formal style.

As you can imagine, after 100 years of wear and tear the exterior and substructure of the Missouri State Capitol Building has started to deteriorate. A major restoration project is slated to be completed in late 2020, and the main objective of construction is to make sure the building is properly preserved for many generations to come. The Carthage Marble exterior stone is from a historic quarry in Carthage, Missouri that is no longer being mined, and is being replaced by stone from Phenix Marble. All of the stonework on the interior of the capital is still up to standards after being completed in 1917 by Phenix Stone and Lime Company. Does the name sound familiar?

Phenix Marble, who supplied the original marble in the Missouri State Capitol back in 1917 under the name Phenix Stone and Lime Company, is still an active quarry and located only a few hours from the State Capital. So luckily, the restoration stone supplied by Phenix Marble has the consistency of stone color and pattern to match the pre-existing stone on the capital building.

Phenix Marble is located in Green County, close to the town of Walnut Grove, a town that thrived early in the 20th century thanks to its local, ambitious marble company, which at once employed hundreds of people – at its peak, about 500 local workers, and the company put its stamp on everything visible with its marble, including marble cladding on several businesses in town. The Walnut Grove cemetery is full of Phenix marble headstones, and if you look down while walking on a side walk in Walnut Grove, you will more than likely be walking on Phenix marble.

Above: Phenix Fleuri and Napoleon vein cut slabs

Above: Phenix Fleuri and Napoleon vein cut slabs 

Above: Walking on Phenix – Napoleon Fleuri tiles

Above: Walking on Phenix – Napoleon Fleuri tiles.   Photo by Brandon Roberts

Fossil shells in Phenix Fleuri are random and unique

Fossil shells in Phenix Fleuri are random and unique. Below: Shipping a load  of pre-cut slabs by flatbed. 

Photos by Brandon Roberts

Shipping a load  of pre-cut slabs by flatbed.

Although Phenix was inactive for some time in the mid-1930s due to the Great Depression, in the mid-1990s Phenix Marble was a small operation run by Freddie Flores, who was working old stone blocks left over from operations decades ago. To take operations to the next level, Phenix teamed up with Conco Companies in 2014, who dominates the production of construction aggregates and ready-mix concrete in the Ozarks region.  

Although Conco had little experience in this type of mining, it saw the historical value and overall potential of Phenix Marble, and the Phenix/Conco relationship was born. Conco brought Phenix Marble opportunities through a larger-scale mining process that they could not accomplish by themselves at the time, enabling such projects as the Missouri State Capital. 

The Green County, Missouri-based company of Phenix Marble offers two different cut options of marble: the historic Napoleon Gray, and Fleuri. Both are gray in color and are offered in three finishes: polished, honed or leathered, upon request. Both materials are used in the Missouri State Capital and have their own distinctive color and variation. Napoleon Gray is dependably directional, with veining flowing characteristically long ways across the slabs. In fact, this distinctive veining is one way to identity Napoleon Grey. 

However, each Fleuri slab is also distinctive, with many different natural variations, and unlike vein cut Napoleon, Phenix Fleuri is known to show unique features like fossils and starfish in the face of the stone. There is actually a map In the state capitol building to guide you to all the unique fossils located in the stone around the building!

Phenix Marble does not fabricate all of the material for the State Capital, due to some of the intricate and complex stone work, which requires specialized machinery. Phenix Marble does directly fabricate the less complex pieces such as the pavers and stairs. For the more detailed pieces that demand precision machinery and programming, Phenix Marble ships slabs by truck load to a fabricator, where the slabs get cut to various sizes based on what section is being worked on. Mary Neely, Phenix marble  Director of Marketing, credited their success to their fabrication partners. “We’re fortunate to have good relationships with shops around the country, which really expands our capabilities.”

Located only one state over, one key fabrication partner is Gary Galassi Stone & Steel, located in Romeoville, Illinois. To date, Gary Galassi Stone & Steel has received approximately 167 slabs of Phenix Marble for the Jefferson City capitol project, or roughly 6,800 square feet. The company was founded and is owned by Gary Galassi, who brought the Missouri capitol job to the company, and is responsible for most of the job verification orders today. 

Processing a cubic block starts with roughing out the shape with a Breton 5-Axis CNC. Then, the workpiece gets finished by hand by one of the talented Galassi stone carvers.

Processing a cubic block starts with roughing out the shape with a Breton 5-Axis CNC. Then, the workpiece gets finished by hand by one of the talented Galassi stone carvers.   Photos by Brandon Roberts

replacement flower; the original, worn ornament is at bottom right.

Replacement flower; the original, worn ornament is at bottom right.   Photo by Brandon Roberts

The pieces destined for the capital’s exterior renovation are exquisite. The procedure as well as the quality that Gary Galassi Stone and Steel maintains seems to be a perfect fit for Phenix Stone and the restoration of the capitol building. The process within Galassi starts with original, removed carved pieces being sent to a lead Carver, who duplicates the original piece. It is three-dimensionally scanned, processed and converted into a CNC program that boasts less than 0.1mm error over the entire piece, so  the carved piece can be uniformly mass produced. The pieces are roughed out by their Breton 5-axis CNC and then finished by one of their very skilled carvers.

To keep projects moving and quality high, Gary Galassi Stone & Steel sends most pieces directly into fabrication after producing a purchase ticket, to ensure the best possible fabrication path for restoration projects. Once everyone involved, from draftsman to carvers, completes their portion of the fabrication, a note on quality is then presented to the Plant Managers to move each piece to the next step. This is to ensure that these pieces will meet the expectations of the customers – in the case of the capitol restoration, the customer is the state. According to Chris Galassi, Vice President and General Manager of Gary Galassi Stone & Steel, the strictest level of quality control is meeting their own shop’s standards.

After fabrication is done by Galassi, the material is then shipped directly to the State Capital to be installed by another Illinois company,  Bulley & Andrews Masonry Restoration Company (BAMR). Galassi and BAMR have been working together for about 15 years and have completed many high profile jobs in the U.S.. “Very good team communication between both our parties on this job and others in the past are what have made us so successful in jobs such as Missouri State Capital,” says Chris Galassi.

Phenix Marble also has their marble in the Oklahoma City Streetcar Building  where they matched historical Phenix Marble on the exterior of the Oklahoma City Union Station. Phenix stone also graces the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and the Pickwick Plaza, both located in Kansas City, Missouri. They have also completed  several projects for universities including Dartmouth in New Hampshire, and closer to home, the Missouri State University, as well as establishments and residences throughout Missouri. If you do not know who Phenix Marble is and you are living in Missouri, there is a good chance you have already encountered this beautiful Missouri-mined marble, and not realized it is “home grown”.

For more historical Information, visit or contact the Cole County Historical Society, 109 Madison Street, Jefferson City, MO, 65101;
Phone: (573) 635-1850. For a unique tour of the Missouri State capital grounds, visit