New England in general, and Vermont in particular, is known for its rocky soil. Thousands of miles of stone walls, piled-up over the years by early American farmers clearing, and planting their fields, remains a testament to this work. Such walls mark the western and northern property lines here at the October Country Inn. In addition to stone walls, the quarrying of Vermont’s extensive marble and granite deposits have supplied regional stoneworkers for centuries, and still supply them today. Consequently, there is a lot of really beautiful stonework in the neighborhood
A common use for granite, often overlooked, is for street curbing. Not usually seen in the western and central U.S., granite curbing predates the use of cast concrete, the most commonly used material. Although initially more expensive than cast concrete, granite lasts many times longer. Granite curbs don’t wear out. And even when they are removed in order to reconfigure a street or some other reason, the used curbing is in high demand for use as stone steps, decks, pathways, or other landscaping features. Among industry experts, granite curbing is superior to cast concrete in strength, abrasive resistance, durability, cost of maintenance, reusability, and aesthetics. Although granite is the best choice for virtually every curbing application, over the past 25 years there has been a significant increase in the use of cast concrete curbing due entirely to an assumption that granite curbing is expensive relative to concrete. Based on research studies the facts are clear that granite is the superior choice when long-term costs of maintenance, repair, and disposal or resetting expenses are calculated along with initial costs.
It’s for this reason that street curbs in Washington D.C. are made of granite instead of cast concrete. There are plenty of things to gripe about when it comes to the federal government. But at least they made the right choice when it came to curbs. It’s not just money or longevity that justifies the use of granite. Stone just looks better. Washington D.C.’s street curbs should be as stately as the rest of its grand exterior.