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Philadelphia City Hall: One of the World’s Largest All-Masonry Buildings

Philadelphia_City_Hall_at_nightIf you’ve ever been downtown in Philadelphia, there’s no question that you’ve noticed City Hall. The remarkable, French Renaissance-style building is breathtaking and easily identifiable, thanks to William Penn gracing the structure’s top.

You may also know that when plans for construction began in 1871, City Hall was intended to be the tallest structure in the world at 548 feet tall. Unfortunately, construction of the Eiffel Tower ¬†and Washington Monument ruined that dream before City Hall’s construction ended. However, neither of those structures were used as buildings so Philadelphia’s City Hall remained the world’s tallest occupied building until 1909, when the Metropolitan Life Building was built in New York.

Traditional Stone Masonry

The reason that City Hall still strikes us at Petrillo Stone Corporation as legendary is the fact that is an all-masonry, load bearing building — and still one of the largest in the world. Most of the seemingly stone buildings we see today actually have a support frame built of steel and iron. This building, however, is made of brick and covered in white marble and granite. It has walls up to 22 feet thick at the base to support its immense weight.

Because this type of construction is so time-consuming and expensive, most designers have virtually abandoned load-bearing structures over the last century. City Hall took 30 years and over 24 million dollars to complete. This is a beautiful example of pure stone masonry that has rightfully earned its spot as the center of a historic city.

The Washington Monument Reopened

washington monumentThe following is a post we’ve shared from our other Petrillo Stone website:

In August 2011, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake rocked Washington D.C. and caused over 150 structural cracks to the 130-year-old Washington Monument. At 555 feet tall, the stone symbol required extensive, careful repair that cost around $15 million. In fact, teams worked on scaffolding for nearly 1,000 days to better work stone by stone.

Construction of the Washington Monument began in 1848 to honor our nation’s first president. On July 4th of that year, a team began to assemble the 80-foot square step pyramid foundation made of blue gneiss. They then used a system of pulleys to create a marble, obelisk structure roughly 156 feet off the ground by 1854. After architect Robert Mills died in 1855, the monument remained half finished for almost two decades. Building resumed in 1876, although builders had issues finding matching stone and incorporated stone and marble from three different quarries. Actually, three distinct stone patterns can still be seen by the naked eye today…

For the full post, visit PetrilloStone.net.