The Vermont Marble Museum historic mill building at 52 Main Street, Proctor, has a new owner, Zion Growers, a Vermont-based industrial hemp processing company.  On September 12, 2022, the Preservation Trust of Vermont announced the transfer of the former Vermont Marble Company finishing mill to Zion Growers.  As part of the transfer, the Preservation Trust secured a 99-year lease for the Vermont Marble Museum.  “The Vermont Marble Museum shares the important story of the marble industry in Proctor, Vermont, and the nation. We are excited to have secured our home at 52 Main,” said Vermont Marble Museum Board Co-Chair, Bob Young.  The museum was founded in 1936 as the Vermont Marble Company Exhibit and has operated in the same location since then as a museum and gift shop.

“Our partnership with ZION Growers achieves the goals that the Trust identified when it stepped in to purchase the 52 Main Street building,” said Preservation Trust of Vermont President Ben Doyle. “As a result of our efforts, the building and collections of the Vermont Marble Museum will be preserved so that residents and visitors alike can understand the important history of the marble industry in Vermont. In addition, the Trust is proud to bring economic opportunity to Rutland County with a promising new business coming to Proctor.”

The Vermont Marble Museum board is thrilled that Zion is bringing an industrial use back to the historic mill building.  ZION Growers plans to use much of the 84,000 sq. ft. building for processing locally sourced industrial hemp into fiber for use in a variety of value-added products, including paper, textiles, and green building materials.

“The emerging industrial hemp market is an opportunity for Vermont,” said ZION CEO Brandon McFarlane. “The fact that this opportunity can be realized while honoring the industrial heritage of the site is why we are excited to work with the Preservation Trust of Vermont, the Town of Proctor, and regional economic development partners.”

Proctor Town Manager, Michael Ramsey, is equally excited. “The Town is very happy to see more activity at 52 Main. Combining the history of the site with new industry is a win-win for Proctor.”

In 2012, when the building and museum collections were at risk of being sold piecemeal, the Preservation Trust of Vermont stepped in to secure an option.  In 2014 they purchased the building and collections and began the process of securing the museum’s future.  In 2016, a new nonprofit, the Vermont Marble Museum, Inc. received its IRS 501(c)3 designation. With its future secure, the board of the Vermont Marble Museum is bringing new life to the museum.  With the transfer of the building, Ben Doyle recognized the combined efforts that brought us to this point, “I want to acknowledge and thank the many donors who helped make this project happen. By working together, we’ve preserved a historic building, a wonderful museum, and an opportunity for the future.”

Featured photo: BRANDON MCFARLANE, LEFT, and Travis Samuels, right, pose in front of the future home of ZION Growers in Proctor. Photo Credit: Preservation Trust of Vermont