Parochial Schools - Yellow Brick

I have a question that I hope some of you may be able to answer.

The building that I work in, in Newton (please visit my blog entry today - and scroll down to lower photo set) is similar in style to many of the Catholic parochial schools in Boston, which I assume were mostly built in the 40's & 50's. That is, they share the yellow bricks and low-slung institutional styling. The bricks also show up in quite a few housing project constructions.

Do any of you know the architects and/or contractors of these buildings, or any other information concerning them? Reasons for the materials used - that is, are these bricks amazingly inexpensive or something like that? Any info you can point me to, about any history concerning such buildings, would be appreciated.

(I tried a Google search of "parochial schools" "Boston" and "yellow bricks", but came up with little of use.)

Thanks!

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Trends and Styles

The yellow bricks were first used in "architecturally worthy" buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright. he prized them for their earthiness, as they were the kind of bricks made from local clay in the Chicago area. After Wright's influence manifested in mainstream architecture, the yellow bricks became popular for their style and practical for their cost. I suspect they were part of a standardized school building package, complete with plans and material specifications, and not just for Catholic schools.

I think the grossest ones are the glazed yellow ones that also form many institutional buildings - like some of the university buildings in Lowell and Salem. Ick.

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I may be wrong but I believe

By on

I may be wrong but I believe it is called Roxbury Puddingstone.
Roxbury Puddingstone
Native, brownish stone that was carved into large blocks and used to build large public buildings in the 19th century (frequently under the direction of architect H.H. Richardson). Examples include Trinity and Old South churches in Copley Square, one of the Chestnut Hill Reservoir pump houses and the Framingham train station. An outcropping of the stone has been preserved on West Street in Hyde Park.

Roxbury Puddingstone against the backdrop of the Hancock Building:

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No, look at the photos...

By on

...the stuff on Suldog's building is yellow, and they're molded bricks. It doesn't look like Roxbury puddingstone.

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Different beast

By on

Brick =/= stone

Roxbury puddingstone is a conglomerate rock. It's brown and veiny and full of little rocks (hence the "pudding" - it looks like fruit in a boiled pudding). You can see outcroppings in many hilly areas of Boston, such as Savin Hill or the Arboretum area.

It may be the state rock of Massachusetts, and plentiful hereabouts, but a lot of it is too crumbly for building, and certainly wouldn't take intricate carving. And, FWIW, the Trinity Church is not puddingstone but pink granite and sandstone.

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Different stones, different emblems

By on

According to Mass. General Law, Chapter 2, there are no less than 4 different types of official stones:

*Roxbury Puddingtone (rock or rock emblem)
*Plymouth Rock (historical rock)
*Dighton Rock (explorer rock)
*Granite (building and monument stone)

Also, don't forget

*Paxton Soil Series (official soil)

If you have a second, follow the link to learn about our official berry, cookie, donut, heroine, tartan, reptile, polka song, muffin, beverage, or insect. In all, we have over 50 official things.

Beacon Hill at its finest.

myDedham.org - a community since 1636 and online since 2007!

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One of my long-standing peeves

By on

Aw, geez, now you've gone and made me want to go off-topic on my own topic.

I've always been amazed that the General Court finds time for this bullshit. If I had been elected in 1992 - and (off-topic again, but...) we all probably caught a break when I wasn't - the first thing on my agenda was to file a bill calling for a ban on silly proclamations of such-and-such as the state's official whatever.

(I have always harbored a suspicion that my campaign was done in by the cranberry cartel.)

Suldog
http://jimsuldog.blogspot.com

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The Bowditch grammar school

By Mark B on

The Bowditch grammar school in Jamaica Plain was built of a yellow brick in 1892. The architectural style is very different from the buildings you refer to, but I think it was just a matter of style. In many places, red brick became associated with business use - factories, warehouses, etc. They started using brick for fire safety - the older schools were all wood frame. Much later - the 1950s and '60s - they started building schools with fewer floors, for fire safety as well.

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Not just Boston

By on

Those yellow bricks are used in parochial school architecture everywhere. At my elementary school there were red chunks mixed in with the yellow brick. We called them "barf bricks."

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