MAGIC IN STONE: The Heart of Sylacauga
Brief Summary: Sylacauga—Alabama’s “Marble City”—is blessed with an abundant natural resource that nurtures both its economy and its culture. This crystalline, white marble is frequently compared to the Parian marble once treasured by Greek sculptors and to the Italian Carrarra often chosen by Michelangelo. This is the story of quarry pioneers in Talladega County, of investors, artists, and artisans, and also of the families in places like Gantt’s Quarry who fondly remember living on the edge of “the hole” that provided for them. It is also the story of the evolution of a resource—from tombstones and architecture to an industrial product called GCC and finally to today’s blending of industrial, artistic, and community support for the annual Sylacauga Marble Festival.
Bio: Ruth Beaumont Cook is a graduate of The Ohio State University. She has lived in the Birmingham area since 1970 and is the author of three books of narrative non-fiction history—North Across the River (1999), Guests Behind the Barbed Wire (2007), and Magic in Stone (2019). Her second book, about the German POW camp in Aliceville during WWII, was awarded a bronze medal for outstanding historical writing by the Independent Publishers Group in 2008. She is the author of numerous articles on history, business, and the arts for Birmingham magazine, Alabama Heritage, and other regional and national publications.
Her Facebook page, Cook’s Book Nook, currently features virtual tours of outstanding sculpture collection pieces at the B. B. Comer Memorial Library in Sylacauga. She also maintains a regular blog, Road Trips, which highlights off-the-beaten-path adventures around Alabama.