New York City has 8,250,000 people and 975,000 buildings.
It also has the only high school program in the country for hands-on masonry preservation, building conservation and green sustainable construction.
This blog offers a glimpse into that program.

The textbook developed from the curriculum and lessons: "Masonry History Integrity An Urban
Conservation Primer" is a free download at this web site:

The recent entries are in the LinkedIn Group: Masonry History Integrity & Urban Conservation.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Masonry, History, Integrity

At risk youth receive basic training in masonry construction, preservation practices and green technology, along with life skill and U.S. History lessons, to build self confidence, integrity and an appreciation of craftsmanship.


  1. Tom

    You mentioned that There where only a number training programs in America. How did you gain this info? What was your research. Do you have quantifiable info that can be presented? the below statment is a clear indication that we have been on the wrong track...



  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. Hello Simeon,

    Many thanks for being the first to respond to my blog.

    I hope my brevity and the simplicity of design has not already caused complications.

    The blog title announces that New York Cit has but one hands-on program focusing exclusively on masonry preservation training. The text below the title continues to explain that there are no trade, high school or college programs in the city providing this training. The orgnaization RESTORE does offer masonry conservation training and Local #1 of the Bricklayers, Mason's and Plaster'r's Union offers courses in the subject; but these are not for high school-age students.

    To answer your most poignant question, my thesis research provided startling facts about the absence of high school masonry training programs in NYC. Not only is there not one high school masonry training program IN the city, there's not one withinn 50 miles of its perimeter. (Thesis, Chapter 2.)
    Furthermore, the recent correspondendence from Andy Ferrel (blog posting 9-27-09) provides verification that there is but one high school hands-on masonry preservation training program in the United States. That's the ADC program.
    By no means what-so-ever is the posting of this information intend to gloat or showboat. So, please let me know if you have any information to the contrary that I might not be aware of.
    As you know there are many individuals and organizatons on the right track. It's just that in the U.S, we're still laying the track as we travel along, slowly. Off to work we go!

    Sincere thanks,and please continue with questions and encouragement.


  4. From: Simeon Warren
    Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 9:17 AM
    To: 'Tom Russack'
    Subject: RE: TR blog reply to Simeon

    …My statement “a clear indication that we have been on the wrong track...”
    I meant that if there are no programs training people we have not been going down the right track for the last 100 years. As we have lost culturally the understanding as to why training is important. If we had been going down the right track we would have education programs in every city in America producing trades people. Your statement about the lack of programs just astounded me. It made me reassess how far ahead we are in thinking about trade education and how technical colleges have just vacated their initial calling and left a vacuum, this never struck me before.


    Hello Simeon,

    Per your statement, “…we have been going down the right track for the last 100 years.”
    Actually in New York City it’s been the last 40 years. My research shows a tremendous upswing in public school education for the trades during the early 1900’s. But then they were ALL shut down during the 70’s and 80’s; and replaced with programs in computer technology.

    To note the realization of how far we have drifted and, “…lost culturally the understanding as to why training is important.” Note the importance of the recent book: “Shop Class as Soul Craft, An Inquiry into the Value of Work” by Matthew B. Crawford.

    “If we had been going down the right track we would have education programs in every city in America producing trades people.” I agree with you 100 %. Preach it, Brother!

    My statement about the lack of programs is scary, isn’t it?

    FYI - Upcoming blog entries will provide even more explanation as they will be a synopsis of each class during the upcoming semester.

    To be continued!...



  5. Rich said...
    With so many historically significant structures in the city, a program like this is essential! The architects and builders of these fine buildings need someone who has been educated in preservation and restoration so that their masterpieces can be preserved for future generations! Good luck with this endeavor!!
    Rich R.

    September 22, 2009 9:23 AM

    Thank you, Rich.

  6. ----- Original Message -----
    From: Hole, Bill
    To: Russack, Thomas ; Simeon Warren ; Tom Russack
    Sent: Friday, September 25, 2009 5:04 PM
    Subject: RE: TR blog reply to Simeon 9-23-09

    Alright you blogoids. I'm swamped in the blog.

    I'm in a regular quandary about facts and data used to defend the new one at ITES from Bob Ogle that there are only 3 CC programs in the country. I've thought there must be some that we don't know about, yet he has made the research circuit and it seems possible. There are many training programs within the business world because so many tradesfolks have to train their own workers to specialize in what they do themselves for that "niche".

    I remembering when I decided in 1990 to enter into vocational teaching in construction, believing that I can make a difference in the trades by training apprentices, since the unions had all but cut out their programs (at least it seemed like that around CA). Here almost 20 years later I know through observation and local research that almost all vocational programs are gone, and even new administrators into Deanship, VPship, Presidentship are mostly clueless what is entailed in Vocational (now Career Technical) education programs. Along with Art, Music, and Drama, the CTE programs are so cut in budgets and staffing the we will be all building from scratch by the time the social pendulum swings back to paying attention to the near 80% of society that don't earn a 4-year degree.

    I know of no holistic carpentry program in CA schools that teaches building material conservation and rehabilitation (other than what I've been doing). This said because it pains me to think how sheep-like we've become to be guided down the rosy path of closing down our life-blood and heart of humanity...creativity, hands-on expression.

    OK, I'm out of this blog to rewrite, program review report to submit, certificate of achievement to submit again...somewhere I'll get my tools in my hands and make a mess again.
    Great weekend to you both...