Sourcing the right stone for a project

Veterans’ memorials and iconic American projects

American landscape architect Lawrence Halprin selected Carnelian granite for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C., because of its similarity in color to the reddish gray fieldstone used on the Roosevelt estate at Hyde Park in New York. Photos courtesy Coldspring
American landscape architect Lawrence Halprin selected Carnelian granite for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C., because of its similarity in color to the reddish gray fieldstone used on the Roosevelt estate at Hyde Park in New York.
Photos courtesy Coldspring

For veterans’ memorials and other iconic American projects, a domestic stone can be a high priority for stakeholders desiring to demonstrate patriotism. However, certain situations may arise when the decision-making committee does not realize the stone comes from another country. This sticky situation can occur when the fabrication facility does not own the quarry. The fabricator may be domestic, but it may import the stone from a foreign source. Good communication and asking the right questions can help decision-makers ensure their values for the project line up with the stone source.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial

Domestic stone was a high priority for the Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. For this project, nothing but stone from an American quarry could symbolize the patriotism of one of the country’s greatest leaders. The memorial consists of 4-m (12-ft) high walls of rugged, split granite from a Milbank, South Dakota, quarry. The walls encompass four outdoor ‘rooms’, signifying the four terms of Roosevelt’s presidency. Dedication of the FDR Memorial in 1997 marked the culmination of a 20-year effort and building project of massive scope.

American landscape architect Lawrence Halprin selected Carnelian granite because of its similarity in color to the reddish gray fieldstone used on the Roosevelt estate at Hyde Park in New York. Of the 3 ha (7.5 acre) comprising the Roosevelt Memorial, 12,542 m2 (135,000 sf) of surface area is covered with granite.

Korean War Memorial

Granite from Clovis, California, was used for the Korean War Memorial’s wall in Washington, D.C. Bands of polished granite accross the memorial’s ground suggest the tilled terrain in parts of Korea.
Granite from Clovis, California, was used for the Korean War Memorial’s wall in Washington, D.C. Bands of polished granite accross the memorial’s ground suggest the tilled terrain in parts of Korea.

The Korean War Memorial is also located on the National Mall and incorporates domestic stone as a symbol of patriotism. Dedicated in 1995, the Korean War Memorial honors Americans who served in the war. Granite from Clovis, California, was used for the memorial’s wall. Etched with a symbolic mural, the wall stands 50 m (165 ft) long and ranges in height from 3 to 1 m (11 to 4.5 ft) as the terrain rises. The sandblasted mural incorporates more than 24,000 faces, computer-copied from anonymous photographs at the National Archives. Bands of polished granite across the memorial’s ground suggest the tilled terrain in parts of Korea.

Victory Memorial Drive

More than 418 m2 (4500 sf) of granite was used for the Victory Memorial Drive project in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo courtesy Landmark Photography and Design
More than 418 m2 (4500 sf) of granite was used for the Victory Memorial Drive project in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Photo courtesy Landmark Photography and Design

Like the Korean War Memorial, the Victory Memorial Drive in Minneapolis is a tribute to the men and women who gave up their lives in service to the country. The landscaped, tree-lined boulevard is part of the Grand Rounds, an 80-km (50-mi) tour of parkways and parks around Minneapolis. The names of 568 men and women from Hennepin County, who died in the war, are also inscribed on bronze crosses and stars.

The flag plaza includes balustrade walls, a flag base, benches, and large gateway monuments at the entrances to Victory Memorial Drive, all in granite. For the memorial, more than 418 m2 (4500 sf) of granite was used.

“We knew granite would be the main material from the beginning because of its longevity,” said Jason Aune, landscape architect at LHB. “The Lake Superior Green granite was quarried in Isabella, Minnesota, meeting the project’s native material requirement.” More than 427 m2 (4600 sf) of Carnelian was used to pave the 24-m (80-ft) diameter plaza. Additionally, over 14 m2 (150 sf) of Sierra White from Raymond was incorporated into the plaza surface to create contrast. Radiant Red from Fredericksburg, Texas, was used on the service banners on the gateway monuments.

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