Monday, July 4, 2011

PROJECT SPOTLIGHT: America the Beautiful (and Natural!)

As we celebrate the Independence Day this July 4th, Kirby Stone Company, LLC wants to focus on the most renowned national landmarks and memorials that have had, and will always have, on the formation of the United States. The handful of landmarks and monuments discussed are only a few that use natural stone, and each possesses the same benefits characteristic of natural stone: unique, enduring, timeless and beautiful.

Arlington National Cemetery

Located in Virginia, Arlington National Cemetery was established during the American Civil War is a military cemetery. The land used for this reminder of all those who have served in the United States Armed Forces was originally the estate of the family of Confederate general Robert E. Lee's wife Mary Anna (Custis) Lee. The cemetery is situated directly across the Potomac River from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and also serves as the burial grounds for many other individuals and Presidents influential to what America is today. For more information on Arlington National Cemetery, please visit the official site HERE.

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a World Heritage Site located in northwestern Arizona, and it is renowned for its geological significance. The Colorado River snakes through the Grand Canyon, cutting the ravines to an average depth of 4,000 feet. These large incisions create a tremendous record of up to four geological periods, displaying a wide array of geological features, rock types and fossils…a geologist, paleontologist, archaeologist and biologist’s dream!! For more information on the Grand Canyon, please visit the official site HERE.

Lincoln Memorial

Sitting amidst the National Mall in Washington D.C., the Lincoln Memorial was built to honor Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. Built in the design of a Greek Doric temple, the Lincoln Memorial utilizes Yule Marble, a sedimentary stone located in Colorado. The marble is known for the consistency of its pure white color. It does not possess the gray streaks typically found with quarried marble in Vermont and other areas of the country. The Lincoln Memorial has been the site of many famous momentous speeches, including Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. For more information on the Lincoln Memorial, please visit the official site HERE.

Mesa Verde

Similar to the Grand Canyon, Mesa Verde is also designated as a World Heritage Site. Located in Colorado, Mesa Verde was the first national park set aside to preserve the works of man. The location includes some of the most well kept cliff dwellings in the world as well as many geological features. Most of the stone consists of sandstone and shale, and some rock formations date back 90 million years. Well known for the cliff dwellings, these structures, built within the cliffs, were occupied by the Anasazi people between 550 and 1300 AD. Cliff Palace is located within Mesa Verde and is considered the largest cliff dwelling found within North America. For more information on Mesa Verde National Park, please visit the official site HERE.

United States Capitol Building

The United States Capitol is one of the most recognized structures in the landscape of United States history. Located in Washington D.C., on top of Capitol Hill amidst the National Mall, the building is used as the workplace for Congress, and the name “Capitol” is latin for “city on a hill”. Freemason and the first President of the United States, George Washington laid the cornerstone of the structure, and while the original structure consisted sandstone, quarried in Virginia and ferried to Washington D.C., additions to the United States Capitol Building were built using marble. For more information on the United States Capitol Building, please visit the official site HERE.

Mount Rushmore

Situated within the Black Hills of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore is one of the most visited national landmarks, hosting over three million visitors annually. The name derives from New York City attorney, Charles E. Rushmore, who, in 1855, was appointed to find the title of ownership to the property on which the monument was carved. Sculpted by Gutzon Borglum and later by his son Lincoln Borglum, the sculptures include 60-foot heads of the former Presidents of the United States in granite. The project’s construction began in 1927 and continued until funding expired in 1941. For more information on Mount Rushmore, please visit the official site HERE.

Washington Monument

The Washington Monument is an obelisk, a tall four-sided tapering monument, located near the west end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and due east of the Lincoln Memorial in the National Mall. Built to commemorate George Washington, the monument is constructed of marble, granite, and bluestone gneiss, much of which was donated from states throughout the Union and foreign dignitaries. The Washington monument is both the world's tallest stone structure and the world's tallest obelisk, standing 555 feet 51⁄8 inches, and until the Eiffel Tower was completed in 1889, the monument was the tallest structure in the world. Construction of the monument began in 1848 but was not completed until 1884. The monument was finally dedicated in 1885. For more information on the Washington Monument, please visit the official site HERE.

Rainbow Bridge

Located within the feet of Navajo Mountain in southern Utah, Rainbow Bridge is considered to be one of the world’s highest natural bridges at 290 feet. Consisting of sandstone formed during the Triassic and Jurassic periods, Rainbow Bridge was known for centuries by Native Americans as sacred. They referred to the structure as Nonnezoshe or "rainbow turned to stone”. It was not until 1910 when the structure became known to the public, as President William Howard Taft deemed it a national landmark to preserve this "extraordinary natural bridge, having an arch which is in form and appearance much like a rainbow, and which is of great scientific interest as an example of eccentric stream erosion." For more information on Rainbow Bridge, please visit the official site HERE.

From all of us at Kirby Stone Company, LLC, we wish you a safe and memorable Independence Day. Remember all those who have come before and blazed a trail to what the United States is today. God Bless America!

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