Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cavendish's Verde Antique Marble

When you walk through the rotunda of the National Art Gallery of Art in Washington, D. C, did you know you were walking on Cavendish? The Verde Antique marble in the floor is from the Proctorsville Quarry. It was chosen because it was a match of the columns of the rotunda, which are made of Italian Verde. Report of the State Geologist on the Mineral Industries ofVermont 1939-1940.

In 1836, the Black River Marble and Soapstone Manufacturing company was established for extraction of the green serpentine rock -Verde Antique. The original quarry was located on the Black River, near Winery Road at a place formerly called Hart’s Bend. It was moved to its present location, off of Twenty Mile Stream Road, in 1931 when Antonia Moriglioni operated the Quarry

Antonia Moriglioni was born in France, on route to the United States from Italy. He came to Rutland, VT in the early 1900’s and discovered the Verde Antique Marble in the early 1930's. He owned and operated the quarry until the local mill owners squeezed him out of the business during World War II. With the mills, and other area businesses having military contracts, they needed the power and viewed the quarry as a “luxury item,” and not necessary for the war effort. Moriglioni never re opened the quarry. Instead he went to work in a quarry in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, where he died as a result of injuries he sustained from an explosion.

In 1989 the Ruby brothers, from Fair Haven, attempted to open the quarry but did not have the equipment to do so. In late 1990’s Vermont Quarries (owned by an Italian company) bought a 20-year lease to remove stone. The quarry was worked for 3-4 years and then work ceased. During this time,  stone was shipped for cutting to Italy, Spain and Brazil.  

This past week, members of the Moriglioni family-Lucille Moriglioni Evens, her brother James and his wife Barbara-presented the Cavendish Historical Society with pieces of the Verde Antique marble from their father's quarry. These are currently on display at the Museum. 

The Museum is open on Sunday's from 2-4 pm. until Oct. 13. 

On Oct 13, there will be a guided cemetery tour of the Old Revolutionary and Coffeen cemeteries. Meet at the Museum at 2 pm. FMI: or call 802-226-7807. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Follow up to Phineas Gage Program: Area Resources for TBI

One of the questions that often occurs when the Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) has a program about Phineas Gage is where to go for treatment and rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Below are resources to consider:

Getting What You Need in Cavendish: A checklist for those affected by chronic/life threatening condition and aging. 

• Rehabilitation-There are currently 16 funded TBI Model Systems Centers, with the closest one to Vermont being Spaulding-Harvard TBI in Boston

 Brain Injury Association of Vermont  (BIAV)
-       - Facebook Page
-       - Website 
-       - Annual Conference Oct. 8 at the Sheraton inn and Conference Center Burlington. Keynote speaker Kevin Pearce, snowboarder, ESPN commentator, TBI survivor. 

• Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor: A Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist who experienced a severe hemorrhage in the left hemisphere of her brain in 1996. On the afternoon of this rare form of stroke (AVM), she could not walk, talk, read, write, or recall any of her life. It took eight years for Dr. Jill to completely recover all of her functions and thinking ability.
-       - TED Presentation 
-       - My Stroke of Insight 
-      -  Taylor’sWebsite

• The Crash Reel: Competitive snowboarder and Vermonter Kevin Pearce’s story of recovery after a traumatic brain injury he sustained while training for the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

165th Anniversary of Phineas Gage Accident

On September 13, 1848 Phineas Gage, a foreman, was working with his crew excavating rocks in preparing the bed for the Rutland and Burlington Railroad in Cavendish. An accidental explosion of a charge he had set blew his tamping iron through his head. It entered under the left cheek bone and exited through the top of the head. The rod, covered with brains and blood, was found approximately 30 yards from the site of the accident.

Sitting on the back of an ox cart, Gage was brought to the boarding house where he was staying on Main Street in Cavendish. Dr. John Harlow treated his wounds, along with Dr. Edward H. Williams. The large wound at the top of his head was closed with adhesive straps and a wet compress covered the opening. No surgery was involved.

Within days of the accident, an infection developed and Gage lapsed into a semi comatose state. Fearing that he was about to die, a local carpenter prepared a coffin for him. Two weeks after the accident, Harlow released 8 fluid ounces of pus from an abscess under Gage’s scalp. By January 1, 1849 (approximately 4 months) Gage was functional.

It is remarkable that Gage survived this accident, let alone lived for 11 more years. Fortunately Dr. Harlow and Dr. Henry J. Bigelow, a professor of surgery at Harvard University, tracked Gage as much possible, thereby documenting one of the first cases of traumatic brain injury in medical science. It was also the first understanding that different parts of the brain have different functions. With this knowledge, the first brain tumor removal operation became possible in 1885.

According to Gage’s family and friends, his behavior was significantly altered by the accident. In 1868, Harlow wrote in the “Bulletin of the Massachusetts Medical Society” His contractors, who regarded him as the most efficient and capable foreman in their employ previous to his injury, considered the change in his mind so marked that they could not give him his place again. He is fitful, irreverent, indulging at times in the grossest profanity (which was not previously his custom), manifesting but little deference for his fellows, impatient of restraint of advice when it conflicts with his desires, at times pertinaciously obstinent, yet capricious and vacillating, devising many plans of future operation, which are no sooner arranged than they are abandoned in turn for others appearing more feasible. In this regard, his mind was radically changed, so decidedly that his friends and acquaintances said he was “no longer Gage.”

Not able to work as a foreman, Gage held a variety of jobs. He worked in the livery stable at what is now known as the Hanover Inn in New Hampshire. In 1852, he boarded a boat in Boston and sailed to Valparaiso, Chile.  While he was there for approximately seven years, and was thought to have driven coaches and cared for horses, little is know about what he did there. According to his mother, many ill turns while in Valparaiso, especially during the last year, and suffered much from hardship and exposure.”

Around 1859, in failing health he went to San Francisco to live with his family.  He worked on a farm in  Santa Clara County but returned to his family when he started having seizures. He died May 21, 1860 from epilepsy.

Rumors circulated that Gage appeared at Barnum’s American Museum in New York. It would take another Cavendish doctor, Dr. Gene Bont, almost 160 years later to find proof that Gage did in fact promote himself as a curiosity. Bont found a poster advertising Gage’s appearance at Rumford Hall.

To mark the anniversary of Gage’s accident, the Cavendish Historical Society will hold a special presentation on Sunday September 15, 2 pm at the Cavendish Historical Society Museum. As part of this program, there will be a walking tour of the various sites related to this historic event. FMI: 802-226-7807