Unusual stonework of American Castles

I have been traveling all over America visiting castles and cathedrals (Among other things). And one of the things I have noticed is that a wide variety of stone has been used to make these buildings. Here on this page I write about some of the more unusual or more noticeable stonework buildings.

The Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church

Upon looking at this church you would think that the green tint is from moss or algae. But it isn't. This stone is a rare stone called Green Serpentine Metabasalt. And the trim is buff and red sandstone. This stonework, even though very rare is also not the best for centuries of wear. It does wear relatively quickly and needs repair.

This church is located in Baltimore Maryland at Mount Vernon Place.


Duke Chapel in Durham North Carolina

This gothic chapel on the grounds of Duke University is made of locally sourced stone called Duke Bluestone. It is also known as Hillsborough Hillstone because it was taken from a quarry in Hillstone North Carolina. The most unique thing about this stone is that it comes in 17 different shades of color yet it is still the same stone.



Castillo de San Marcos in Saint Augustine Florida - Fort made of seashells!

This is an interesting Stone Fortress on the Coast of St. Augustine in Florida. The stonework is quite unique. It is made of a sedimentary formed rock called Coquina which is a soft limestone of the broken shells of mollusks, trilobytes, bivalves and other invertebrates. It is quite unique in that it is rather easy to dmage on a small scale but it is very durable and resistant to cannon fire. Think of this composite of shells as being similar to the old bullet proof vests that had ground glass in them. The complex layers of coquina stops cannonballs from entering or causing large damage. Cannonballs, when they hit simply compress the coquina stone and bounce off! Some points of the fortress, on the water side are 19 feet thick!

A closeup look at the Coquina.


The Smithsonian Castle - Is made of Red Sandstone from the Seneca Quarry in Maryland. It stands in stark contrast to the marble buildings that fill up the Mall of American in Washington DC.

The red sandstone, while still in the ground is relatively soft so easy to quarry. Yet, after about a year after cutting it hardens to become a very durable and respectable stone for castle building.

There is a book about the Seneca Quarry and the building of the Smithsonian castle available on Amazon right here: The Smithsonian Castle and the Seneca Quarry





















































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