About the Candoro Arts & Heritage Center


What Is Candoro?
The Candoro Arts & Heritage Center is an historical property now dedicated to the preservation of the culture and heritage of East Tennessee, South Knoxville, and most specifically the surrounding neighborhood known as Vestal. The center consists of buildings and grounds that once belonged to the Candoro Marble Company and are now on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, art and art-related themes are the underpinning for all the creative goings-on at Candoro Marble’s main building. It is a setting that unites the power of art and the beauty of architecture.

While Candoro is open only by appointment currently, the Board of Directors is working to staff the site for regular visitors. Candoro can currently be booked for weddings and other events. The Candoro Marble Company building was designed by the famous architect Charles Barber in the architectural style known as Beaux Arts. The exterior of the building is marble and features carved marble and stonework by sculptor Albert Milani. The ornamental ironwork decorating the main entrance is by Samuel Yellin, the most notable artisan of iron during the 20th Century.

The Candoro Arts & Heritage Center is fortunate to have an exceptional Board of Directors. The following people serve Candoro by volunteering their time, talent, and resources:

  • Sharon Davis, President
  • Wendy Drummer, Vice President
  • Kenneth Pace, Treasurer
  • Molly Gilbert, Recording Secretary
  • Madline Hylton, Corresponding Secretary
  • Eugene Burr
  • Carson Dailey
  • Buddy Mulkey
  • Saul YoungFormer:
  • Charlie Richmond, Past President
  • Trudy Monaco, Founder


Tennessee Pink Marble is featured on the facade of the Newseum building in Washington, D.C. Photo Courtesy of Newseum.org

Tennessee Pink Marble
If one has the training and mindset of a geologist, it is important to note that the rock commonly referred to as Tennessee Pink Marble is actually not marble at all; it is limestone. Artists maintain that the stone polishes up beautifully and has all the outer characteristics of marble, so most people generally classify the rock as Tennessee Marble. Pink Marble is found throughout Appalachian Mountains, but Tennessee Pink Marble is unique to the Knoxville region. This particular limestone is very dense and highly prized by marble sculptors. Though once a very popular and sought-after stone, Tennessee pink marble of Knoxville is rarely used today. After World War II, there was a need for quick and inexpensive housing and homebuilders opted for low-cost building materials. In the year 1920, there were approximately 20 marble quarries surrounding Knoxville, TN. Today, there are only six active marble quarries in the Knoxville metro area. Most recently, pink marble from Tennessee was used on two projects of national significance: 1. the floor of the United States Capitol Visitor Center, and 2. the “First Amendment” tablet facade of Washington D.C.s latest museum entitled “The Newseum.”


A worker mills marble columns at the Candoro Marble Company. Photo courtesy of floridamemory.com

The Candoro Marble Company
Around the turn of the 20th Century, the East Tennessee region was one of the largest marble producers in the world. The John J. Craig Company operated several quarries in the vicinity of Knoxville, TN. The name “Candoro” is a combination of the first letters of each cofounder’s last names: John J. Craig III, grandson of the company’s founder, and three other investors — F.C. Anderson, W.J. Donaldson, and S.A. Rodgers. The marble industry once thrived in East Tennessee, and 100 years ago, Knoxville was commonly referred to as “The Marble City.” Candoro Marble Company was the largest producer of pink marble in the United States. Candoro Marble was needed as a showroom and a place to cut and polish the marble. Candoro Marble Company’s showroom, office, and grounds and buildings were completed in 1923. The building was designed by the famous architect Charles Barber with carved marble ornamentation by sculptor Albert Milani and ornamental ironwork decorating the main entrance by Samuel Yellin. The main building served as the company’s showroom and office while other buildings were constructed on the grounds for storing, processing, and polishing marble from local quarries. Candoro Marble Company’s role was so important that Ann Bennett, historic preservation planner of Knoxville Metropolitan Planning Commission for thirty years, once referred to The Candoro Marble Building as second only to Blount Mansion in terms of historical significance.

Learn More about Candoro and Tennessee Pink Marble with these links:
East Tennessee Marble History
“Marble Halls: The Story of the Craigs”