Why Use Stone?
Why is it important to use the original granite when remodeling or adding to old structures? Why is it important to use granite when building new structures? There is one answer to these great questions, and it can be divided into three levels: practicality, history, and tradition. The one answer: modern design, historic material.
On a practical level: it matches. No other material in the world will match the current structure so perfectly. Over time, the granites, although quarried in different centuries, will come to look near exactly the same.
It will last forever and is a natural product. What could be greener than utilizing the Earth’s own product; a material that is energy efficient to harvest (we use wire saws) and costs mother nature nothing. Building structures out of mother nature’s own material is as green as it gets. With no habitats are disturbed, no harm is done.
On the historical level, historic structures were designed and built by those who came before us. Continuing their footsteps, we should carry on their legacy. History is alive. When constructing monumental structures we need to honor our past and recognize its importance.
By using the same materials from the same quarries to build modern structures we develop our past into our present. We harmonize our nation’s timeline. With our choice comes our obligation; if we in the present do not chose to use these historic granites, those after us will not know of their importance. Like the quarries buried before them, these too will be forgotten. If the present does not preserve its history no one after them can.
I have specialized my career in preserving these historic quarries that have built the greatest monuments and buildings of this nation. Too many quarries have been sold to developers and buried under malls and housing lots, forgotten forever, livelihoods lost. I ensure my 19 historic quarries are kept alive and well by renewing their permits, quarrying their blocks, and promoting their stones.
Quarries hold a significant place in this nation’s history. Look to the small towns where these quarries are. You will see the stone everywhere, as the structural material of the church, town hall, steps, town walls, benches, graveyards, and war memorials. Many of the locals will tell you how generations of their family proudly worked their whole lives as stone cutters and quarrymen. The local quarry built the towns’ economies and was the center of its citizens’ livelihood. How proud those men must have been to know those stone pieces they quarried and hand cut were headed to build the great structures of their country in all its huge metropolitan cities. Let us make those towns proud today. Our nation is one melting pot. What a grand opportunity we have before us; to use a natural resource from a beautiful small town to build magnificent structures in our famous cities. Let your structure be a testament to our nation’s history, our national community, and our national pride.
Just as within a granite piece a geologist can see a frozen history of the earth, with our monumental structures we can see our nation’s timeline, harmonized by granite. How amazing for citizens and tourists alike to come before our beautiful museum and see the same granite, quarried from the same mine, comprising designs from architects years apart, and so beautiful, so amazing, so harmonized and complete; a nod of respect for the great role granite quarrying has played in our nation’s history. And a nod of respect for tradition. We are not young fools who say “out with the old and in with the new.” Granite was used for a reason; it is strong, it is long lasting, it is natural. Look at all of the ancient Roman structures still standing. We are wise professionals who say “transform the old into the new.” Let us transpose this gorgeous natural material into our new design and show our nation we are one; from small town stone cutters to big city architects. Modern design, classic material.
Stone has been building our nation since its founding. Indeed, stone has built so many world wonders, from the Egyptian pyramids to the Great Wall of China, to most of Ancient Rome.
From the stunning Deer Isle® quarry in Maine came the granite that graces the Empire State Building, the Pulitzer Fountain, Rockefeller Center, and pretty much all of Manhattan! From the Jet Mist® quarry in Virginia came the stone that comprises Time Warner AOL Headquarters, the National Airforce Memorial, the paving around the White House, the 9/11 Memorial in NYC, and so much more. From the Kershaw® quarry in South Carolina came the granite that built the WWII Memorial, the Moynihan Courthouse in NYC, and so much more. The Milford Pink granite from Massachusetts is the granite all around the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial, the Perry Monument in Columbus, OH, and the US Post Office on 8th Ave in NYC. From the stunning Tapestry quarry in NH came the beautiful and proud buildings on the USMA Westpoint campus. All of these quarries are open, running, and producing stone. Should any of these, or any other older granite structure, need a match- it can be done! I am sure you have seen new work done on or near beautiful older buildings in many cities, but with a different stone- it looks unprofessional and sloppy. And while you consider designing a new structure; consider granite’s strength, beauty, eco-friendliness, and history. Morphing a natural product to your design as we bring art and nature to life is true beauty and a testament to our national pride, our architectural and engineering skills, and our dedication to eco-friendly materials.
How fantastic would it be to say “this new building/park/monument is built from the same granite that creates Copley Square in Boston (Deer Isle®), The Mellon Bank in Philadelphia and the Empire State Building in NYC (Deer Isle®), or the Whitney Museum in NYC (Jet Mist®), and the Air Force Memorial in DC (Jet Mist®), 300 and 383 Madison in NYC (Midnight Grey and Deer Isle®, respectively), or the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (Deer Isle®)!”
I extend my sincere gratitude for your time and thoughts on this important matter. Thank you for reading; I hope to hear from you soon.
-written by Tony and Toni Ramos