Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology

Most people do not think to look for geology from the sidewalks of a major city, but for David B Williams any rock used as building material can tell a fascinating story All he has to do is look at building stone in any urban center to find a range of rocks equal to any assembled by plate tectonics In Stories in Stone, he takes you on his explorations to find 3.5 billioMost people do not think to look for geology from the sidewalks of a major city, but for David B Williams any rock used as building material can tell a fascinating story All he has to do is look at building stone in any urban center to find a range of rocks equal to any assembled by plate tectonics In Stories in Stone, he takes you on his explorations to find 3.5 billion year old rock that looks like swirled pink and black taffy, a gas station made of petrified wood, and a Florida fort that has withstood 300 years of attacks and hurricanes, despite being made of a stone that has the consistency of a granola bar.In Stories in Stone, Williams also weaves in the cultural history of stone He shows why a white, fossil rich limestone from Indiana became the only building stone to be used in all 50 states how in 1825, the construction of the Bunker Hill Monument led to America s first commercial railroad and why when the same kind of marble used by Michelangelo was used on a Chicago skyscraper it warped so much after 19 years that all 44,000 panels of the stone had to be replaced A love letter to building stone, from New England brownstone and Morton Gneiss of Minnsota to the limestone of Salem, Indiana from granite and travertine to Carrara marble, David Willilams brings to life the stones you will see in the structures of every city, large and small After reading his book, you will forever look at stone buildings with new eyes.
Stories in Stone Travels Through Urban Geology Most people do not think to look for geology from the sidewalks of a major city but for David B Williams any rock used as building material can tell a fascinating story All he has to do is look at bu

  • Title: Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology
  • Author: David B. Williams
  • ISBN: 9780802716224
  • Page: 321
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology”

    1. I like pop science books a lot. I enjoy learning about things I've either avoided in the past or simply never thought thing one about. This subject is one of the latter.Williams has an extra-interesting (to me) chapter on brownstone(s) I'm a few miles from Brooklyn, and a former resident of a brownstone-clad building in Manhattan, I've seen a lot of stuff about them. I've noticed, for example, a fact that Williams explores at some lengthe rotten condition of a lot of brownstone facadesd always t [...]

    2. Williams, David B. STORIES IN STONE: Travels Through Urban Geology. New York: Walker & Company, 2009. For anyone interested in deepening their experience of cities, seeing beneath the skins of urban architecture, or learning more about the how these skins were formed and came to be used in cities, I recommend the book, STORIES IN STONE: Travels Through Urban Geology. The ten chapters on Brownstone, Granite, Carmel Granite, Minnesota Gneiss, Florida Coquina, Indiana Limestone, Colorado Petrif [...]

    3. Beginning with the Brooklyn brownstone and ending with the travertine on the walls of the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Williams traverses the country on a geologic expedition to explain the origins of the urban American landscape. A few of the outstanding moments along the way include poet Robinson Jeffers granite masterpieces, Tor House and Hawk Tower, in Carmel, California; a gas station fashioned out of petrified wood in Lamar, Colorado; an art deco telephone building with the ground floor fa [...]

    4. I really liked this. It was a neat way to look at different types of rocks and I'll be looking at old buildings in a different way now (not that I'll be able to identify anything but it will be fun to pretend that I can).

    5. I read a review of this book in an archived Earth magazine. The basic idea is: 1. A stone and its recent architectural history, 2. The stone's geologic history, 3. People who interacted with the stone.I found myself looking up images of the various structures mentioned as I read. I have been to many of the places and seen the stones in their contexts, but would like to see many more. I like the variety of stones presented. I will be holding on to this book for a while.

    6. This turned out better than I expected.First off, there is no way I would have ever picked this up had it not been for QuestScouts. This month's theme is "Rockin'" and the reading challenge was this book.I am no geology nut. The intensive geological discussions were not the highlights for me. What I enjoyed was how the rocks were woven into the story of whatever place was being described. The epitome of this was the discussion of the Florida Coquina. But also enjoyable were the discussions of Br [...]

    7. A great read even though it is uneven having both fascinating parts and areas that are slow. I highly recommend "Stories in Stone" for all the wonderful information presented on the rocks used in our man-made environs.

    8. An interesting though rambling look at the geology and history of ten major building stones. Some stones discussed, such as Carmel Granite and Florida Coquina, seem only to provide segues to the author's favorite poets or historical anecdotes, but most have surprisingly interesting back-stories.Boston Granite (actually quarried in Quincy, Massachusetts) led to both the first commercial railroad in the US (in 1826) and the modern rediscovery of the "plug and feather" method of breaking apart hard [...]

    9. I would actually go with 4.5 for this book, which I wish had been around when I had Geology 101 class in college. In Geology 101, the stone we studied seemed dead, whereas Williams brings stone to life and gives life to stone.Williams does a terrific job of tying stone to people and injecting social history into Geology. And for this I thank him, because I can't really connect to a subject without this relationship. This book isn't just about geologic forces that happened millions of years ago, [...]

    10. I had expected this book to be more about the use of stone in design and construction; although it IS about that, it delves much more into the geology of stone used in buildings. The author uses a particular building or type of building (the Getty Art Museum or brownstone row houses, for example) to discuss the building material of choice and how it came to be. So in the first chapter you learn all about the sandstone known as brownstone and how it came to be, as well as how it became the stone [...]

    11. As a geologist I was very interested to read this book. As I study marine sediments, I spend most of my time locked in a cave like office staring at a microscope and not interacting with geology in the field. I loved the concept of this book of being able to reconnect with the earth through observing the buildings around us. I also really enjoyed reading interviews with people I know! It definitely made the book feel more legit to have expert opinions. Now for the review: This book focuses on te [...]

    12. A very enjoyable journey. "Slow down and look more carefully" says Mr. Williams and that's what he does as he visits and examines several classic stone building materials. You know these materials (brownstone, slate, etc.) because we have all seen them. But you may not have really experienced them until you have looked deeper. This is what this fine book provides. I enjoyed the wonderful connections that Mr. Williams orchestrates with these stone building materials. For each type stone he weaves [...]

    13. I'm a First Reads winner! Happy June to me! I'm so excited about this book!!!My Review:This book reminded me of all the reasons I love Geology. David Williams did a great job of mixing the modern world with the mysteries and wonder of the natural Earth. All said and done, I spent a lot of time thinking about how geology integrated into everyday life and everyday life being connected more to nature and history. The writing style was light and engaging while still being educational and descriptive [...]

    14. A pleasant surprise. I listened to this book on my Audible account. I found myself listening to chapters more than once as I found the information interesting. The author's dry wit was an added bonus to this book. I have recently visited the Castillo de San Marcos which is profiled in this book due to its unique construction and utilization of coquina stone. The information I gleaned from this book as a perfect primer for the visit. I would like to visit many of the other buildings profiled. As [...]

    15. Historical use of stone in architecture,the geological terms of the types of stone. More importantly I learned stories behind the stone. This book helped me to realize there is more to the stones surrounding a building, on the street, at a graveyard,and fossilized of things that has happened centuries ago locked forevermore inside the stone. The book helped me to think of the people behind the laying of these stones, the hours they put in building these archtecture wonders of the world. Also hel [...]

    16. Williams' style is very human and even funny in parts. I loved my Geology 101 class in college, and this book is aimed pretty much at people like me, non-geologists who still are interested in the underlying structure & story of the rock we see all around us.The book could benefit from some figures to illustrate some of the geological processes described (I kind of remember them from 101, but other readers might not), and from better-quality photographs (and possibly color photos). (I have a [...]

    17. I haven't been able to make it through this book, so I'm putting it down for a bit to try again later. It's an interesting approach to the geology all around us in buildings, and I will definitely give it another go in the future. I have an advance review copy, so perhaps this issue is resolved in the production copy, but I really wanted many more color photographs to go along with the text, and perhaps some additional figures - in many instances a single good figure or photo would have done won [...]

    18. Focuses on ten different stones used in contemporary and ancient buildings and then follows their geological and human-use history. Everything was interesting: how the stones form, how they're quarried, how they are (and were) transported, why they were chosen for the various architectural projects (their strengths/weaknesses and/or human's preferences) and even the back stories of the people and places he researched. It's not uber technical so even if you're not a geology geek, it's still a fun [...]

    19. I've never given much thought to the stone used in buildings, and I am enjoying reading about the different types of stone and the differences in various geographic regions. The structure of the book makes it very easy to pick it up and read any particular chapter of interest. For example, I'm familiar with the term "brownstones" in New York, but I had no idea what that was based on. I started with that chapter and it was a great introduction to the book.

    20. This unusual book is an interesting mix - a bit of geology, a bit of architecture, a bit of history, a bit of cultural anthropology. The author takes a look at the use of various types of stones used as building materials and considers the circumstances and people that made different types of stones popular as building materials in several different places. No particular knowledge of geology is necessary in order to enjoy this book.

    21. Tons of information you never knew you were curious about. I meant to skim this book, just picking it up at the library on a whim, but it was too fascinating to give it up so lightly. It only loses one star for not having any good pictures or maps - too much visual information to rely on my imagination.

    22. New York brownstone (turns out to be sandstone), Boston granite, Caramel granite, Morton gneiss from Minnesota, St. Augustine coquina (clams just barely on their way to limestone), Indiana limestone, fossilized wood, Carrara marble (a terrible building stone), slate, and Roman travertine - the geology and examples of building use of them all

    23. This is a book about the stones that are used in buildings. It talks about where they come from, how they were formed, why they are used and the people associated with them. There are a few black and white pictures to help the reader visualize the rocks but I think more pictures would have helped me understand what the author was talking about better.

    24. This is a great book - makes walking down a city street that much more interesting when you know a bit about the building materials! I got lost a few times in the descriptions of quarrying, but that is more how my mind works than with how the author described the process. Very good and makes me wish I could take one of his urban naturalist walks in Seattle!

    25. My favorite chapter was on coquina, in which the series of predecessors to the fort of San Marco at St. Augustine Florida read just like the Herbert's father's castle in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

    26. This is a nice blend of history, geology, and architecture. And, as a result, I've been paying more attention to buildings. I also stopped in an old quarry on our vacation in Florida. Probably never would have done that if it hadn't been for this book.

    27. The first couple of chapters were really interesting - when the author was talking directly about the origins of the building stones. However, when he started getting bogged down in the poet's storyI lost interest. I may try to pick it up again and just skip that chapter.

    28. Yet another book demonstrating how much fun one can have in ordinary settings. Look at what things are made of, and enjoy. Any masonry building is a novel in itself.

    29. This was not quite as general as I would have liked, but I did pick up some interesting and generally applicable bits.

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