This is one of the most interesting, stirring and remarkable sights to been seen in this city of active factories. Mr. E. F. Regenhardt, during 1901, purchased five acres, a bare, barren hill west of the Normal campus. People wondered, and were disposed to chide him for his apparently reckless investment. A short time after a gang of men were set to work running deep drills into the rocks, and giant powder soon revealed a solid body of the finest white marble to be found nowhere outside this county, and to the surprise of some, he commenced to ship large blocks to Mephan & Kline of St. Louis. This brought the marble into notice and the Regents of the Normal, after investigation determined to erect the new Science Hall of this marble and awarded the contract to Mr. Regenhardt, who without machinery, broke the beautiful marble to pieces by giant powder, and by absolute muscular power shaped the fragments into > that now constitute the white walls of that glistening edifice.
After the destruction of the old Normal by fire, the Regents concluded to erect a Practice Hall, same size as Science Hall, 114 X 67 feet: three stories high, and gave the contract to Mr. Regenhardt, who at once set up a small fifteen horse power engine and one gang of saws to shape the marble for the new building; and was so successful that the regents awarded him the contract to build the new Academic Hall, a building 260 feet front by 197 feet in depth and three stories high. This new departure >tested new labor saving methods to prepare the marble for the walls, and he at once secured the necessary machinery, consisting of a new 125 horsepower boiler, a 75 horsepower engine, two 20th Century gang saws capable of cutting 900 cubic feet of marble daily. All this new and improved methods required an out-lay of eighteen thousand dollars, which includes the buildings, sheds, etc.
It is an interesting sight to look down on the fifty-foot level of the quarry and watch the steam chandler cutting grooves in the floor of the solid marble four to six feet in depth and fifty feet in length, cutting out solid blocks ten feet long, four feet in width and four and a half in thickness. Then to watch the giant steel jaws of the derrick seize a block that weighs eighteen or twenty tons and raise it from its bed at the bottom of the quarry, and lay it down gently on the truck at the door of the mill ready to be pushed under the saws. Entering the large building we find the machinery and wire-cable drums that lift those enormous weights and drives the iron frames that hold six saws each that cuts the blocks into slabs ready to pass to the benches of the rock-cutters, who dress them into window sills and caps, building blocks and lintels eight feet long, eighteen inches broad, eight thick and many other shapes and sizes.
The marble raised from the fifty-foot level is the finest yet brought to light. It is solid, free from fissures, flaws, or defects and of a fine, white and bright texture, and thus assuring a structure that will be an ornament for ages to come. Including superintendent and engineers, there are now engaged at the quarries and dressing yard over forty men and their monthly payroll foots up the handsome sum of $2,532.00. No part of this sum is included in the payroll at the building, which will be given later on.
This marble business is now a permanent enterprise, one that will bring untold wealth to this city. Now it is just in its infancy. Mr. Regenhardt deserves great credit for his tenacity of purpose and sound judgment, which was pitted against obstacles that met him daily and were very discouraging. All of which he has overcome.
-- from the Weekly Democrat, 30 July 1904, Page 1.
Located August 1983 - Cape Public Library