Within the fabric of every stone building is a wondrous story of geological origins, architectural aesthetics, and cultural history.
You probably don’t expect to make geological finds along the sidewalks of a major city, but when natural history writer David B. Williams looks at the stone masonry, facades, and ornamentations of buildings, he sees a range of rocks equal to any assembled by plate tectonics. In Stories in Stone, he introduces us to a three-and-a-half-billion-year-old rock called Morton gneiss that is the color of swirled pink-and-black taffy; a 1935 gas station made of petrified wood; and a fort in St. Augustine, Florida, that has withstood 300 years of attacks and hurricanes, despite being made of a stone (coquina) that has the consistency of a granola bar.
Williams shows us why a white, fossil-rich limestone from Indiana became the only building stone to be used in all 50 states; how the construction of the granite Bunker Hill Monument in 1825 led to America’s first commercial railroad; and why Carrara marble - the favorite sculpting material of Michelangelo - warped so much after only 19 years on a Chicago skyscraper that all 44,000 panels of the stone had to be replaced. From Brooklyn to Philadephia, from limestone to travertine, Stories in Stone will inspire readers to realize that, even in the most modern metropolis, evidence of our planet’s natural wonders can be found all around us in building stones that are far less ordinary than we might think at first glance.
©2009 David B. Williams (P)2013 Audible, Inc.