Stonework at Mountain View Cemetery

mtnvwpost.jpgThere is an old tradition in Berkeley and the northern Oakland foothills of building with stone and using local stone. A fantastic book, Berkeley Rocks (Ten Speed Press), is full of lush photos and lore connected with the hillside stones. This example is in Mountain View Cemetery.

Nowadays lots of people put boulders in their yards, but little of it is locally sourced. Of course, there are no local quarries any more either. The biggest ones I know of were on the south side of Hiller Highlands, at Broadway and Pleasant Valley Avenue, and of course the huge Leona quarry near Mills College. At the same time, stonemasonry has declined too. When I finished my geology degree, I contemplated becoming a stonemason. I thought that was romantic—actually I still think so. Watching the “wallers” at work in the Andy Goldsworthy documentary “Rivers and Tides” appealed to me for personal as well as artistic reasons.

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