McDonnell & Sons / Stone Art Memorial Co.  - Table of Contents

History - McDonnell & Sons / Stone Art Memorial Co.
914 Ridge Road, Lackawanna, NY
Stone Art Memorial Co. - Official Website  (online April 2015)

On this page, below:



Illustration from historic sales brochure courtesy of Stone Art Memorial Co.



Illustration from 1927 sales brochure courtesy of Stone Art Memorial Co.



858 Main Street, Buffalo.
Illustration from 1927 sales brochure courtesy of Stone Art Memorial Co.



2007 photo of 858 Main Street, Buffalo, now part of the Granite Works complex.



2007 photo of 858 Main Street, Buffalo, now part of the Granite Works complex.



2007 photo of 858 Main Street, Buffalo, now part of the Granite Works complex.



Illustration from 1927 sales brochure courtesy of Stone Art Memorial Co.



West Seneca 1172 Ridge Road address changed to Lackawanna 914 Ridge Road.
Note the large McDonnell & Sons crane on right side of photo.

Illustration from 1927 sales brochure courtesy of Stone Art Memorial Co.



2012 photo of 914 Ridge Road.
Note the large McDonnell & Sons crane on right side of photo.



Detail - McDonnell & Sons crane. McDonnell name barely visible.



2012 photo of 914 Ridge Road.


1857
McDonnell & Sons
was founded in granite-rich Quincy, Massachusetts by Patrick McDonnell, an Irish immigrant once employed as a stonecutter in the local quarries. Patrick retired in 1881, handing the reins to his son John Quincy McDonnell.

1870s

The Limestone Hill Granite Company was located at 914 Ridge Road, Lackawanna (the current location for Stone Art Memorial). At that time, this area was known as Limestone Hill and was part of West Seneca.

1884
John Quincy McDonnell, son of Patrick McDonnell,  moved with his wife and seven children to Buffalo in order to open a branch office of McDonnell & Sons, which came to be located at 858 Main Street, between Allen and Virginia streets (Another son, stayed in Quincy to manage the family's business there).

Limestone Hill Granite Company purchased by McDonnell & Sons Granite Company. By this time, McDonnell & Sons was one of the premier memorial builders in the United States with a full staff of architects, designers and builders. In addition to their holdings in the Buffalo area they operated manufacturing and quarrying facilities in Quincy, Massachusetts and then Barre, Vermont.

1894
John McDonnell dies.  After her husband's death, Emily did something bold for a middle class, middle-aged Victorian widow with dependent children: She bought out her brother-in-law Thomas's interest in the company.

By 1900 McDonnell & Sons had two additional local branches, another two in central New York, one in Connecticut, and one in Indianapolis. Emily served as company president until her death in 1926. In a circa 1926 company brochure, McDonnell & Sons claimed to be the largest granite firm, by sales, in the country. Emily's obituary in the Courier-Express described her as a nationally-known businesswoman.

Late 1930s
After the closing of the McDonnell operation in Lackawanna, Chester A. Rowley, an experienced designer/architect who learned the trade while working for McDonnell & Sons, purchased the Lackawanna facility. Changing the name to Stone Art Memorial Company, Chester Rowley operated the business until his death in 1985.

1940s
At some point in the 1940s, with Emily's son James in charge, McDonnell & Sons moved out of 858 Main in Buffalo and into a comparatively plain brick building on nearby Main Street. James died in 1951, the last family member to head the operation. In 1968, after 84 years in Buffalo and 111 years after its founding in Quincy, McDonnell & Sons vanished from the Buffalo Polk Directory, the annual "City Directory" of households and businesses.

1986

John T. and J. Thomas Koch purchased the Stone Art Memorial Company from Mrs. Gertrude Rowley. Prior to the purchase of the Lackawanna business, John Koch operated a funeral business in Ulysses, Pennsylvania and served many years as the county coroner of Potter County in Northern Pennsylvania, 100 miles south of Buffalo. J. Thomas Koch began working in the family memorial business at 13 years of age and upon graduation from high school moved to Barre, Vermont to work in the manufacturing part of the business and attend the Barre Stone Trade School which was the only school of its type at the time.

Stone Art Memorial Company, Inc. is Erie County’s exclusive partner with the Rock of Ages Corporation of Barre, Vermont, which began business in 1885.

Sources:


McDonnell Family Monument


Holy Cross Cemetery Ridge Road entrance, located directly across the street from Stone Art Memorial Co.
The McDonnell Monument (not shown) is slightly off to the right.



McDonnell Family Monument, Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna, NY


McDonnell & Sons was founded in granite-rich Quincy, Massachusetts by Patrick McDonnell, an Irish immigrant once employed as a stonecutter in the local quarries. Patrick retired in 1881, handing the reins to his son John Quincy McDonnell.



John Quincy McDonnell, son of Patrick McDonnell,  moved with his wife and seven children to Buffalo in order to open a branch office of McDonnell & Sons



In 1894, John McDonnell dies.  After her husband's death, Emily did something bold for a middle class, middle-aged Victorian widow with dependent children: She bought out her brother-in-law Thomas's interest in the company. Emily served as company president until her death in 1926. In a circa 1926 company brochure, McDonnell & Sons claimed to be the largest granite firm, by sales, in the country. Emily's obituary in the Courier-Express described her as a nationally-known businesswoman.




Special thanks to Stone Art Memorial Co. President Thomas Koch and Sales Representative Cynthia Niziol for their cooperation and assistance in 2012
Color photos and their arrangement  2012 Chuck LaChiusa
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