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Alabama firm to supply temple stones

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NAUVOO, Ill. — An Alabama firm has been selected to supply the stone for the Nauvoo Temple.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints picked the Russellville, Ala., subsidiary of Minnesota's Vetter Stone Co., to provide the stone facing of the temple currently under construction here.

Church officials said the quarry was selected because it will provide stone that is a close match to the limestone originally used.

Extensive stone testing was done in the beginning, and the hardness, durability, color, quantity and absence of blasting imperfections within the quarry were considerations applied to many limestone quarries throughout the United States and Canada, officials said in a written statement.

Stones were tooled and submitted according to the original design from various quarries and shipped to Utah, where church president Gordon B. Hinckley made the final selection.

Quarries around Nauvoo were considered, but the one that yielded the original limestone was out of the question because it is now mostly under water, having been flooded when the Keokuk Dam was built.

Vetter Stone Co. is one of the nation's largest stone suppliers.

The stones, each the size of a small car, will be carved by a several of contractors. Both hand carving and robotics will be used, church officials said.

Salt Lake-based KEPCO Architectural Cladding Systems Co. is the prime masonry subcontractor.

The largest single stone pieces will be the "sunstones," each weighing 2.5 tons. Utah-based 3D Art Inc. has been working on models of the originals, as well as on models of the "moonstones" and "starstones."

Work on new sunstones has already begun in Bedford, Ind.

A major portion of the dimensioning is to be done by Idaho Travertine in Idaho Falls, Idaho, then shipped to State Stone Co. in Utah for hand design work.