Rock of ages

Thumbnail image for dean.jpg

You won’t have much difficulty finding examples of McFarlane family stone carving in the Twin Cities. The results are visible on dozens of buildings including the Foshay tower, above, where I snapped a picture of Dean McFarlane recently in downtown Minneapolis.

You can hear my newest Minnesota Sounds and Voices report telling the story of McFarlane stone carving this afternoon as part of All Things Considered on the network news stations of Minnesota Public Radio.

The McFarlanes have been master stone carvers for ten generations. In fact, Dean recalls his grandfather carving the curling stones used for matches at the St. Paul Curling Club.

It was all done by hand then, but that’s all changed.

Machines have taken over. As far back as his great grandfather who came to this country from Scotland and started the family stone company in 1916 in south Minneapolis, Dean says stone carving has become more mechanized.

Dean says there were 40 or so master stone carvers in Minnesota when he started in the business four decades ago, and now there are three.

The McFarlane line of master stone carvers ends with Dean; there’s no family member waiting in the wings to carry on the craft.

However, the Indiana limestone and other rocks they carved for the Foshay and dozens of other structures will be around for a long time.

Comments are closed.