Petrillo Stone made an exciting return to the McShane Building at Fordham University this past summer – a building our team has worked on a time or two before. This time, we had the honor and pleasure of installing a hand-carved, 24-karat gold-leafed dated stone.
A History of Petrillo & Fordham University
The McShane Building – and Fordham University – has been at the top of our project list for the past several years. One of the first projects we did for Fordham University – located in the Bronx – was to hand-carve two custom Limestone designs. One was a cross and the other was the university seal.
Honoring the Past with Gold-Leafed Stone
The latest project Petrillo was commissioned to complete was this beautiful gold-leafed stone. This 24-karat gold-leafed stone was dated and named in honor of the former President of Fordham University, Father Joseph McShane. It was carved into Portuguese Limestone – a very dense stone. Unlike other Limestone options that we have used in the past (such as Aegean which comes from the Mediterranean), Portuguese Limestone is cut straight from the earth and contains darker veins and a lighter background – making it a sharp, beautiful contrast perfect for exteriors.
A Legacy Left in Stone
We hope this custom, hand-carved gold-leafed stone preserves the legacy that Father McShane left. While pictures only show so much – it is worth the drive to Fordham University’s Rose Hill Campus to view it in person.
As the middle of 2023 grows closer, we wanted to take the opportunity to feature some of the amazing projects we were able to work on last year. Our industry is fortunate because we get to come face-to-face with history and help preserve or restore the beauty that has been lost for centuries. From Fortune 500 companies to universities and hotels – we have worked on some really incredible projects. Here are a couple of our favorites.
Custom Carved Tracery Window at Fort Washington Collegiate Church in Manhattan
For Washington Collegiate Church is part of five ministries across Manhattan, New York. With its long-standing history going back to 1907, this church building is one of the oldest Protestant congregations on the continent. Petrillo Stone hand-carved a tracery window out of Indiana Limestone and paired it with beautiful stained glass. Learn more about this job and the interesting timeline of the church.
Accenting the Palace Hotel with Historic Brownstone Carvings
The dust hasn’t even settled on one of our absolute favorite projects of 2022. The Palace Hotel in New York City has an incredible past – and so does the material we were commissioned to carve – brownstone. A popular stone for many custom works and architecture back in the 1700s, brownstone was even used to carve dates and names on headstones and used in old Quaker mills all across Pennsylvania and the Northeast. In the last 300 years, however, brownstone has faded into the history books. It was our pleasure to bring it back to life in one of the most beautiful buildings in all of New York City! Check out the project.
Why We Loved These Projects
Our team at Petrillo Stone loves history and preserving the nature of historical architecture like the Collegiate Church in Manhattan and the Palace Hotel in NYC. Whether we are called to preserve what was already there or commissioned to create a custom-carved work of art, the ability to bring history back to life is as exciting as if we jumped into a time machine and saw it created for the first time.
Keep History Alive with Custom Stonework
If you are a business owner, head of a company or university, or church leader looking to preserve or add custom stonework to your building, contact us at Petrillo Stone Corporation. We would be honored to work with you on a project.
Our team at Petrillo Stone Corporation was excited to take on another fantastic custom carving for the Palace Hotel in New York City! As history buffs, being asked to contribute to a hotel with such a rich history was an honor. Here is some background on the job!
The Use of Brownstone
A historical element in its own right, Brownstone (sometimes called ‘freestone’) was often used in early American construction by Quakers. Much of the old mill houses and mills around Pennsylvania were in fact built using Brownstone. In the 1700s, headstones were crafted out of Brownstone because of how easy it was to carve dates and names into the stone. It was found, however, that Brownstone did not withstand the elements and was highly susceptible to erosion – so its use in building was phased out.
As new methods and materials were discovered and used for construction, Brownstone became a prized stone used in historical buildings as accents or elegant features – rather than in the construction of the building itself.
Carving Brownstone thrusts us back into the 1700s. Not only is this a beautiful stone, but using it in historical buildings only adds to the aesthetic. We felt like time travelers as we carved these beautiful Brownstone features that will soon be added to the Palace Hotel in New York City – a hotel that offers stories more than 100 years in the making.
We can’t wait to update our blog and social media with pictures of this project after it is installed at the Palace Hotel in NYC. Make sure you follow us and stay in the know so you don’t miss out on other beautiful hand carvings in and around New York.
Our work takes us to the most beautiful and serene locations – both in and near New York City. This time, we were at the Fort Washington Collegiate Church in Harlem. Founded in 1907, it is part of the oldest continuous Protestant congregations in North America. With the incredible history of the building, it was only fitting to hand-carve a tracery window out of Indiana Limestone.
It’s All in the Details
Every aspect of our work focuses on the intricate details of the existing stonework and the purpose of each building. For the Marble Collegiate Church, the details were derived from the late Gothic period of architecture.
Beautiful detail in many old churches, tracery windows are divided into individual glass sections supported by stone bars or molding. This glass can then be stained, frosted, or left clear. In most churches, this style of architecture provides an unmatched serenity for patrons of the faith.
A tracery window can be supported by the use of different types of stonework or ribs of molding, but a popular option for many buildings – including colleges and churches – is Indiana Limestone. Known for its durability and strength, Indiana Limestone adds a hint of elegance when combined with historical architecture.
Because this project was hand-carved by our stonemasons at our facility in Mount Vernon, New York, it took several weeks to produce the finished product. It took us just a few days to install, and now it is posed to impress generations to come.
Take a look at our pictures below.
As part of our contract with Fordham University, we finished up these limestone carvings depicting Ignatius Loyola’s life.
To create these carvings, we used Indiana Limestone and the original molds from the 1950’s.
The finished carvings can be found in their home at a monastery in Shrub Oak, NY. Ralph Petrillo is pictured standing next to the last carving.
We were excited to take on this restoration project at the St. Regis hotel in New York City. The Regis is a chain of luxury hotels that was started in New York in 1904 by American businessman John Jacob “Jack” Astor IV.
The St. Regis of NYC is a 5-Star hotel overlooking 5th Avenue in Manhattan. It’s home to the famous King Cole Bar, where you can order their signature drink, the Red Snapper. One of the most coveted amenities of the hotel is their butler service. Each guest is assigned a butler who can accommodate anything they want, from ironing their suits, to digging up personalized reading material.
We wish we could have stayed at the Regis just a little longer…
Learn more about the St. Regis of NYC.
We recently restored this interior wall of one of the Gucci stores in NYC. We were excited for the chance to work with one of the most successful luxury fashion brands in history.
Guccio Gucci was an Italian immigrant working at the Savoy Hotel in London. While working there, he was inspired by the high-end leather luggage that some of the guests brought with them. He visited the plant that produced many of the goods, H. J. Crave & Sons.
Later, he traveled back to his hometown in Florence, Italy to start his own luxury handbag and luggage company, which remains today as one of the leading luxury fashion houses. The word “Gucci” has become synonymous with quality ever since Lenny Kravitz described his bedroom as “very Gucci” in a 1999 article in Harpers Bazaar.
We recently had the chance to work on this project, a custom fabricated limestone fireplace.
We recently flew out to Colorado to pick out blocks for our current project at the Knickerbocker Club in New York. In the gallery below, you can see pictures of Ralph Petrillo with the architectural team, the owner’s representative, the fabricator and the installer of the project. The Rocky Mountains are visible in the background.
The Lincoln Quarry is an underground quarry, which is unusual as most quarries are above ground. It is so named as it was the source for the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
In our last post, we described some of the work we’d been contracted by Fordham University to complete. In addition to those carvings, we’ve been working on a new seal for the Lincoln Center Campus. You can find photos of this work in the gallery below. All artwork is owned by Fordham University.