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October 3, 2009 10:13 AM CDT

Stories in Stone


I was introduced to another fantastic book recently, “Stories in Stone: Travels Through Urban Geology” by David B. Williams (Walker & Co., Here’s an excerpt from chapter five, which talks about Castillo de San Marcos, a famous fort in St. Augustine, Fla., nicknamed “the clam.”

Carolina Governor James Moore was the first to discover the power of the clam when he lay siege to the Spanish colonial town of St. Augustine in 1702…As the siege progressed, Moore’s circle tightened. By November 24, he had located four of his biggest guns only 750 feet from the castillo…The cannon fire could not break the walls of the clamshell.

Moore’s men continued to dig their trenches closer to the fort, supplemented by erecting rows of gabions, rock-filled cages that provided a protected shooting site for gunners. They also burned the southern end of St. Augustine. By December 19, they had advanced to within pistol shot of the castillo, and still their artillery did little damage to the massive, spongy walls. They would get no closer.

Now that’s a story in stone.

About the Author

Jennifer Morrell was the editor of Masonry magazine. She has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry as a writer and editor, covering such topics as real estate and construction, insurance, health care, relationships and sports. A graduate of The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in magazines and is an award-winning newspaper columnist.


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