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Pa. companies contribute to Smithsonian exhibit

December 22, 1998

Paul MellottBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




WARFORDSBURG, Pa. - A Fulton County quarry company has joined others across the country in putting up more than $1.4 million for a new exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution on the importance of stone in building the nation.

Paul C. Mellott Jr., 47, president and chief executive officer of H.B. Mellott Estate Inc. and MEI Mellott Enterprises Inc., said the two companies put up $30,000 toward the exhibit. It opened in the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., last month.

The exhibit, called the Rocks Gallery, was financed by the 675-member National Stone Association. Last year, NSA companies produced 2.4 billion tons of crushed stone sand and gravel.

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Mellott is a past chairman of the association.

The exhibit focuses on geology and the history of mining and uses of stone. It has displays of stones of the type used to make some of the country's most famous buildings, including the White House and U.S. Capitol.

"You can see the Capitol from the window of the exhibit room," Mellott said.

It also holds some of the world's most famous gems, including the Hope Diamond, Mellott said.

Additionally, the exhibit shows how crushed stone was, and still is, important to the building of the nation.

"It's in just about everything you see from making blacktop for driveways to interstates and for making concrete for buildings," Mellott said.

Mellott Estate gave $20,000 toward the exhibit and MEI put up $10,000, he said.

The exhibit will aid in the development of educational tools and classroom aids to help students and their parents better understand the science of geology and how crushed stone, sand and gravel are essential to civilization's progress, Mellott said.

One of the museum's first projects, with the support of the NSA, will be the creation of a virtual electronic field trip to the Rocks Gallery.

"Schools all over America will be able to connect to the Internet for a visit to the gallery," he said.

Robert Fri, director of the Museum of Natural History, said in a news release that the new exhibit will make it possible for people to see the Earth in new ways, adding to their sense of wonder as well as to their understanding.

Museum officials estimate that 54.5 million visitors a year will see the Rocks Gallery.

H.B. Mellott Estate Inc. was founded by Mellott's grandfather, H.B. Mellott, in 1936. It started out mining coal, then began crushing rock for the Pennsylvania Turnpike when it was built before World War II.

The company operates in states from Pennsylvania to Georgia and has 180 employees. It has stone crushing plants in Warfordsburg and Beaver Creek.

Mellott Enterprises was founded in 1992 and is the largest company of its kind, making, repairing and selling quarry equipment, Mellott said. It has 95 employees.

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