ST. CLOUD -- For a century now a family-owned company has been making granite memorials and monuments. Rex Granite is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year in the same location they've always been along Lincoln Avenue.

Rex Granite, submitted photo

It started in 1921 by Axel Martinson who was later joined by Emil Zniewski and August Wicklund. The second generation of three sons of Emil (Earl, Neil, and Carl) later took over the company and today the third generation, four grandsons of Emil (Mike, Kurt, Gary, and Eric), are running the company.

Rex Granite, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

Co-owner Kurt Zniewski says while they've maintained their St. Cloud roots, their reach spans the world starting with where their granite comes from.

Blue Pearl from Norway, Black Granite that comes from India and China.  Throughout the United States, we have Vermont, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, South Dakota, and California.

Once the roughly 15,000 to 25,000 pound blocks of granite arrive at their facility they are cut, polished, sandblasted, and more into specialized memorials and monuments.

Rex Granite, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice

Their main mission has never changed making granite memorials and monuments. Zniewski says you can find their headstones in cemeteries all across the country.

From West Virginia to Oklahoma to Montana and Wyoming.  The logistics are shrinking some of that to be in more of the seven to nine state area as our target area.

The way they make the headstones have changed a lot over the years with machinery doing a lot of the work now, those machines pretty much all come from France.

It typically takes four to six weeks for them to make a headstone

At one time there were 40 to 50 granite monument companies here in St. Cloud alone.

Rex Granite, submitted photo

Rex Granite is planning to hold an open house and other 100th anniversary celebrations later this year.

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