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A Brief American History of Building with Stone

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stone-buildingPeople have been building with stone for ages. It’s one of the oldest building materials used by mankind. Early Americans saw the versatility in its use. A natural choice for its hardness and durability, there are many examples of stonework used throughout American history. It was used on a vast scale for building everything from houses and dwellings in towns, bridges, retaining walls, mills, furnaces, etc.

Examples of American Stone Building

The Durability of Puebloan Communities

Some of the oldest stone structures in America history are seen in the native Indian dwellings of the Ancestral Puebloans. Their villages are well preserved throughout the southwestern United States. Many buildings were constructed directly into the cliffs while others were freestanding. The Puebloans were well known for their adobe houses and their use of drystone and rock rubble walls. Today the buildings are a testament to the durability of stone in building construction.

Practical Stone Walls and Bridges

During the Revolutionary period between 1775 and 1825, stone was readily available, especially in the Northeast where farmers would come across it in the fields while farming and clearing the land. Stone that is found in its natural form and used in building is called fieldstone. Upon finding it, it became a common practice to pile fieldstone to form walls for property boundaries. It was also extensively used in chimneys, retaining walls, bridges, and other practical uses.

Beautiful Pennsylvania Fieldstone Houses

The image of stone farmhouses on a hill is an icon of northeastern, and especially Pennsylvanian, history. 18th and 19th century farmhouses and mills were commonly made with irregular fieldstone. Each farmhouse and mill had its one-of-a-kind look that exhibited the beauty and quaintness of stone workmanship.

Versatile Construction Projects

The availability of stone and use in construction projects changed significantly with innovations in heavy equipment, mining, transportation, and other technology. Stone became more versatile in architecture with more lightweight products and economical methods for obtaining it. Newer technology produced better ways to cut and size stone more consistently and evenly. By the late 1800s, thin stone veneer made its debut and helped revolutionize how stone was used on the exterior and interior of a home or business. It became commonly used for facades, storefronts, and building interiors. And with improved transportation since the 1950s and 1960s, it has become more efficient to ship so more people can afford it.

Today, with an ever-increasing demand for greener building products with lower production and transportation costs, stone building materials are increasingly popular. Fieldstone Center offers a wide selection of stone including thin stone veneer for your next construction project. To find out more about our selections, contact us at (770) 385-7708.

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