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TITLE: Rocks Build Cities

Throughout history, cities have been built with rock. Egypt’s pyramids and Sphinx are made of limestone. India’s Taj Mahal is built from marble. New York’s Empire State Building is faced with granite and limestone. What makes a good building stone? It should be attractive and easy to work with—but not crack, crumble, or weather too easily.

[Photograph: Workers set stone in top of facade of National Museum of Natural History building facing National Mall (black and white).]

On May 11, 1909, after five years of construction, workers set the last stone on what would become the Museum of Natural History. Like most of the exterior stone, it was a piece of granite.

  • The Rock That Built Washington
  • A City Made of Rock
  • The White House Gets a Facelift
  • A Capitol Built of Stone
  • Our Museum’s Rocks

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    Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Mineral Sciences website Credits