Project of the Month
Last month, we featured husband and wife team Beau and Lisa McDaniel, who together run C.Mac Construction in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. But our interest is not limited to professional builders. We’d love to hear from all our customers about their home projects. If you’ve installed one of our mantels, overmantels or range hoods, please send us before and after photos and tell us about the process. Perhaps you’ll be our featured project next month!
Stonemasonry History and Summer Travel
We recently wrote a blog post about the history of stonemasonry. At Old World Stoneworks, we feel very good about being part of the modern expression of this ancient art. And one thing we love about history is how it is always around us.
Stonemasonry is fascinating because civilizations all around the world developed their own versions of this art at the same time. Around 10,000 BC, humans began to use fire to make plasters, mortars and quicklime. Within a few thousand years their skill had grown immensely. Stonemasons built pyramids, temples and palaces throughout the ancient world. Later, this art form evolved into the 11th century Norman cathedrals in Europe, and the many important castles.
If you are traveling this summer, chances are good that you’ll encounter some feat of stonemasonry. Whether you’re going for a weekend jaunt to the next county or flying to an exotic destination, keep your eyes open and you’ll see the stonemasonry history around you.
Let’s look at just a few popular vacation spots that feature great works of stonemasonry.
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
When vacationers think Yucatan, they’re usually picturing sun-drenched resorts, bikinis and drinks by a pool. But venture two hours inland from the high-rises of Cancun and you reach a high-rise of a different sort: the World Heritage site Chichen Itza. The famous stepped pyramid, the Temple of Kukulcan, is an amazing piece of stonemasonry. It’s been dubbed one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and draws thousands of visitors from around the globe to witness the vernal and autumnal equinoxes. At this time, the pyramid’s corner casts a shadow of the eponymous Kukulcan, a feathered serpent, who slithers down the pyramid as the sun moves.
Travelers who appreciate ornate carving as part of stonemasonry will want to spend all day checking out the details of the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral in Galicia, Spain. Construction started on this cathedral in 1075, though there have been many updates since. It’s famous for being the alleged burial place of Saint James the Greater. If you’ve seen the Martin Sheen movie The Way, you know that thousands of religious pilgrims still walk the old Camino trails through Europe every year to end their sojourn at the cathedral. Stone highlights include the ornate arched portico, and a representation of The Last Judgment on a side door.
Saint Augustine, Florida
Military buffs will enjoy a visit to Saint Augustine, Florida, to see the continental USA’s oldest masonry fort. At more than 315 years old, Castillo de San Marcos is also the oldest structure in the very old city of Saint Augustine. Visitors can imagine how soldiers lived, and even experience weekend cannon firings. Spanish stonemasons built the fort out of coquina limestone, the only stone available on Florida’s northeast coast. At first glance, the light and porous stone seems like a dubious choice for fortifications. But it had an unexpected advantage: While more solid stones, such as granite or rock, should shatter under cannon fire, coquina absorbed cannon balls. The National Park Service website likened this dynamic to shooting a bb gun into Styrofoam. The world’s only other coquina fortress is located 14 miles south, at Fort Matanzas National Monument.
At Old World Stoneworks, we make mantels and range hoods from manmade limestone. We fabricate our material to emulate Indiana limestone. Many of our nation’s most iconic structures were built from Indiana limestone, including the Pentagon, Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Center, the Lincoln Memorial and the Empire State Building. Our manmade limestone is a cost-effective alternative to the highly sought-after Indiana limestone.
So travel around this summer and appreciate historic feats of stonemasonry. Then, if you decide you want to install a modern take on the ancient art in your own home, give us a call.
Our very own Berkley, a modern take on an ancient tradition.