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.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Session #1: Introduction

· Outline semester's 10 training lessons
· Mr. Russack's Rules
· Expectations for hard work, knowledge, attitude
· What is masonry? Masonry preservation?
· Description and use of a mason's tools
· Work site safety
· Guild history
· Making a personal Guild crest

Masonry: Explained the parts and use of a trowel and hammer
Described and practiced use of a spirit level
Defined the word “plumb” to determine vertical straightness
Defined masonry work as: “hard, dangerous, dirty and fun”
Discussed proper work attire, and its necessity for safety
Exhibited and demonstrated a scaffolding safety harness

Masonry and Preservation: Explained with illustrations, the restoration of "The Speakers House Historic Site” in Trappe, PA done by restoration mason Andrew deGruchy, and the stone work/artistry of Mr. deGruchy’s home.

History: Discussed European Guilds emphasizing teamwork, unity, high standards of craftsmanship, personal integrity and the symbolism of Guild crests.

Integrity: Students were given time to think about their expectations for the upcoming semester. They then wrote a paragraph about their expectations and designed or drew their own personal Guild Crest illustrating those goals.

Guildcrest of The Worshipful Masons of The City of London

Life Skills: Students practiced writing and public speaking skills by sharing their goals and expectations for the year and by explaining the art work and meaning of their Guild crests.

• Students worked together exhibiting cooperation, initiative and determination.
• The Guild crest activity brought out unseen talent of individuals via drawing and writing.
• Explaining how the Latin word for lead (plumbum) is used to define a “plumb bob,” for vertical straightness. “Plumb meaning lead. The Romans used lead pipes. What’s a plumber do?... Pick plumbs?"

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