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Tennessee State Rock

Limestone Adopted: March 13, 1979
Tennessee state rock
Tennessee State Rock: Limestone
Photograph: National Institute of Standards and Technology

That Davy Crockett was born in Limestone, Tennessee, may be enough to name limestone the official state rock of Tennessee! But, there is more to limestone than a birthplace.

Limestone, found just about everywhere in Tennessee, was declared the official state rock in 1979. Tennessee marble, as the metamorphic version of limestone is known, is widely used in public and private buildings.

Tennessee Department of Education

Limestone is most abundant through middle Tennessee and is found in scattered areas through eastern Tennessee.

Historically, Tennessee limestone was used for building stone. All of the early government buildings, including the state capitol, in Nashville were built of local stone.

Tennessee state capitol
Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville
Prints and photographs

Limestone was also for smelting (extracting) iron from iron ore in the iron mining operations in western Tennessee.

Notable Tennessee artist William Edmondson used limestone for sculpting.

Today, limestone is still mined, but it now mostly seen as crushed rock or used in cement or to neutralize acidic soils in agricultural endeavors.

Some high-quality stone is marketed as "Tennessee marble." You can find Tennessee marble in the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials as well as the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.


The State of Tennessee. Tennessee Code Annotated. Nashville: The State of Tennessee, 2011. Web. 18 Aug 2011.
Tennessee Department of Education. Tennessee Symbols. Nashville: The State of Tennessee, 2011. Web. 15 Sep 2011.
Shearer, Benjamin F. and Barbara S. State Names, Seals, Flags and Symbols: A Historical Guide Third Edition, Revised and Expanded. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 3 Sub edition, 2001.

Additional Information

Tennessee Marble: Marble vs Limestone from Wayne G. Powell, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College.

William Edmondson, a down home artist forging beauty from stone: Entry at the African American registry.

The Art of William Edmondson: Desciption of exhibit at the Tennessee Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville.

State rocks: Complete list of official state rocks from NETSTATE.COM.

More symbols & emblems: Complete list of official Tennessee state symbols from NETSTATE.COM.

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