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‘Working with stone like they work with wood’

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After years working to get stone out of the ground, Robert Congdon is turning his focus to what happens next.

Mystic Eagle Stone takes its name from a sculpture in Congdon’s in-limbo alabaster quarry, but isn’t dependent on it. Located between County Road 154 across from the H Lazy F trailer park, the facility has been ramping up production over the summer after more than two years of preparation.

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Much of the machinery is secondhand, but far from dated. Indeed, it’s tech that wouldn’t even have been available 15 years ago. With it, the folks at Mystic Eagle Stone can cut thin veneer that’s cheaper and requires less structural reinforcement than traditional stone facing, complete with corners.

“We’re working with stone like they work with wood,” Congdon said. “There’s really nothing we can’t do.”

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The automated systems don’t take a lot of people to run, but the Mystic Eagle staff is growing, with several employees coming out of recovery from community corrections.

“They need a chance — someone to believe in them,” Congdon said.

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A showroom is in the works to illustrate various applications of the tech (fireplaces, water features, floors, countertops, etc.) as well as the 30-odd varieties of stone brought in from Meeker and Marble to obscure quarries in the midwest.

Congdon sees each one as precious, pointing out the swirls of color or tiny fossils that make them unique.

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“You never know what’s in a rock until you cut it. To me, they’re pieces of art,” he said. “I love taking something raw and turning it into something finished.”

Nothing gets thrown away. The scraps are sorted and piled outside, available for home projects at $100 a truckload. The water is recycled through one of the facility’s most imposing machines, and the leftover clay is collected in hopes that someone might eventually use it for adobe or pottery.

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The business is all about partnerships, with custom stone carving just next door.

“This little area is becoming like the stone hub of the whole Valley,” Congdon observed.

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He thinks the industry is only going to grow as folks wise up to the warmth and sustainability of stone in comparison to concrete.

“Nature’s doing it already — just a grain of sand at a time,” he noted of the quarrying process.

But before the Western Slope could see a new mining boom, it needs the infrastructure in place to process it.

“If you’ve got a big stand of forest but no sawmills, there’s no industry,” Congdon pointed out.

In the meantime, Mystic Eagle will continue expanding and refining its facility.

“We’ve always got another project,” Congdon noted. “One of the benefits of being a coal miner is that you learn to do it all.”

For more information or to set up an appointment to stop by, contact mysticeaglestonesales@gmail.com or 230-9196.

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