Building Materials - Table of Contents.........,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,....... Illustrated Architecture Dictionary

Medina sandstone

Medina Sandstone Society

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

Click on photos for larger size

Medina sandstone sidewalk in front of the Williams-Pratt Mansion on Delaware Avenue

Medina sandstone masonry and foliated capital ornamentation of Buffalo Psychiatric Center, designed by H.H. Richardson

St. Louis RC Church on Main St. in downtown Buffalo

One of Buffalo's best known landmarks: the 72-foot-tall St. Louis RC Church pierced spire, perhaps the only remaining pierced spire in the U.S.

Quatrefoil tracery in a round window on a spire of the endangered Asbury Delaware Avenue Methodist Church

Note the flying buttress of St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral on Church Street

The Connector: 
The Distinctive Sandstone of the
Richardson Olmsted Campus


See also:

Wicks House

Atwater House (DEMOLISHED)

H.H. Little House

Fred Eberhardt House

Connecticut Street Armory

Lafayette Presbyterian Church

James B. Craven/Charles K. Bassett House

Trinity Episcopal Church

Sidewalk: 51 Symphony Circle

Sidewalk: Sears House






Transportation to Buffalo: The Erie Canal ran through the middle of Medina.

Unknown Stories of WNY: Medina Sandstone
By WGRZ Staff
August 7, 2012

Buckingham Palace, The Brooklyn Bridge andBuffalo's Richardson Complex have a connection that is rock-solid, and that connection goes back nearly 2 centuries to fields across Orleans County.

"It was discovered when the Erie Canal was dug through Medina here in 1824", says Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin.

We are talking about Medina Sandstone. Lattin goes on to say, "By the mid to late 19th century, most of the quarries were actually in the Albion, Hulberton, Holley part of the county, but the first commercial quarry to open was here in Medina, started by John Ryan in 1837."

"We're not the only ones, it happened to be quarried here first, so naturally, it became Medina Sandstone," adds Bob Waters, the President of the Medina Sandstone Society.

And once you start noticing its tell-tale look, you'll see it everywhere, in its many colors; brown, pink, even grey. In fact, 3/4 of the stone used in public and residential buildings in the Buffalo area is Medina Sandstone. You'll find it in just about every old church in Buffalo, New York City's famous Brownstones, even London Bridge.

What was the most common use? Well, take a quick ride around the First Niagara Center and your car's shock absorbers will give you the answer, paving stones.

Lattin says, "Civil engineers particularly liked it because it always had grit, it didn't wear smooth like granite. So as paving blocks in streets, horses didn't slip on it." Medina Sandstone could be found paving the streets of Buffalo, Cleveland, even as far away as Havana, Cuba.

Sandstone also built a tremendous economy in Orleans County. By the turn of the 20th century, 43 quarries were operating throughout the county, employing over 2,000 men.

 But within 20 years, it was the beginning of the end. By the 1920's, cement had become a popular, inexpensive substitute for stone and the quarries soon started shutting down. Despite the fact that there is still plenty of Medina Sandstone out there, this is the only surviving quarry and even it is rarely used.

Special thanks to Jerry Bastedo and John Opera supplying much of the information of this page.
Photos and their arrangement 2002 Chuck LaChiusa
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