Yes, I am behind schedule. Its been one of those weeks. But I have a beautiful building for you today, built in 1904, out of porphyritic granite. After doing my granite research and verifying the many colors ranging from white to black, I believe this to be Dakota Mahogany, from Milbank, South Dakota. This granite bed is 2.6-2.7 billions years old and that in itself is amazing. This being Iowa, that makes more logic sense that the granite on the east coast, but I am no expert.
The building is still used as a high school and will soon be crawling with teenagers. As I pass by it going home from work, I see the marching band is already practicing, getting ready for football games. Football means fall and I am more than ready to be rid of this 90 degree heat.
In reviewing a lot of the columns you see on buildings today, you see them polished and shinny but these they left in their natural block form that was ground into rounded shapes where they came out from the building. You can see the individual blocks and enjoy their wide variety of color.
But when you look close, you can see the cuts in the stone where they shaped the columns plus making their colors more prominent. Even the feet of the columns are cut and sanded into shape.
Above the doorways on the east and west sides of the building are beautiful arched windows with a masonry balcony above them that has interesting metal grillwork. Here I want to tie in with Monday Window and Ludwig’s challenge of beautiful windows for these are indeed striking.
The north side door is not as artistic but still amazing to look at with scroll work and stone columns at the roofline.
The south side of the building is where the school has expanded down through the next block making a quite large school. And while the extension is made of brick, it just doesn’t have the artistic heart of the older building. So I remind all to look at older buildings with a different eye and see the beauty of architects of old. You could not afford to build buildings of this artistry today. So I remind you before destroying an older building, check to see if there is any soundness left to the structure and if so, find a use for it and let its beauty remain among us.
In closing I remind you of always being kind. Kindness can open doors thought to be closed and let light in through windows once thought dark.