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Hummelstown Brownstone

Photograph of Building made of stone from Hummelstwon Brownstone

A study of the Hummelstown brownstone industry and its contribution to the American building arts

by Ben F. Olena

At the turn of the last century, brownstone was a preferred masonry material of architects and builders throughout the United States. Nearly every hamlet, town and city was graced with brownstone guildings. It was so pervasive in some areas that Edith Wharton in her novel The Age of Innocence, was prompted to complain of "brownstone the uniform hue of which coated New York like a cold chocolate sauce."

The Appalacian Mountains from New England to the Carolinas had a plethora of working brwonstone quarries supplying stone as fast as they could to urban areas. Not all of this stone was of the best quality. However, just south of the borough of Hummelstown in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, on fo the finest stones of its kind was being quarried and sent throughout the Commonwealth and from up state New York to Florida and as far west as Indianapolis, Chicago and St. Louis. This is the story of that industry and its contribution to the American building arts.

Unfortuately, many see these quarries today and have no idea of the scope of their importance. Suburban development has crowded around the rim of the pits and the processing buildings have long since fallen and been reclaimed by nature.

Worker witn monolith being lifted from the Quarry

Worker with monolith being lifted from the Quarry

Workers posing in stoneyard.

Workers posing in stoneyard.

Title Description
Cover Page Cover page to documents on this page
Dedication A dedication “to all those who labor extracting rock from the earth as well as to those who process and
transport it.”
Table of Contents This a menu for most of the documents divided into eight chapters and several appedixes and other sections including a glossary and bibliography. Note the linked documents are in PDF form. This was done to keep the documents in the same format in which Mr. Olena wrote them. The large files will be noted since they may take some time to download.
Illustrations Documents all illustrations in the files presented here.
Forward Opening remarks about the study

Motif of Angel on a Building

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