specialize in water features for homes including ponds, fountains and waterfalls.

J.C. Nichols 63rd and State Line Fountain- An Expedition in Time with Kansas City Fountains

Kansas City Masonry  / The Masons Co is revitalizing yet another majestic fountain in Kansas City!

J.C. Nichols‘ remarkable development of the Country Club residential district was unique in that he used irregular lots with shapes that were defined by curving streets that followed the terrain, instead of the usual grid plan of rectangular blocks. Landscape architect George Kessler provided a street plan that incorporated small parks and triangles into his Nichols’ ideal design.

On one of those triangular plats, the enchanting Stratford Garden Park Fountain still sits today. In 1927 the Nichols Company placed an antique Carrara marble horse trough there as the main focal point of the historic fountain.  The relic was reportedly first used in a public square in Rome. Affixed to an upright wall surface, a smaller rectangular basin is placed above it. This piece was originally used to  refresh humans waiting on their animals to drink.

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Both basins are carved with ornamental fluting. Two openings in this upper basin allow water to stream into the larger trough. The water flows out of a spout in the center of the horse trough and then it is carried through a stone-lined channel approximately thirty feet to terminate in a circular reflecting pool which is six feet in diameter.

Kansas City Masonry / The Masons Company is a custom contractor that restores, repairs, preserves, designs and builds residential and commercial fountains with a passion for architecture detail and absolute function.

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These historical fountain repairs are complex projects,  because they’re both works of art and works of engineering that are constantly at the mercy of mother nature. The Craft.

63rd st fountain

63rd street
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(913) 203-0685

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The Cosby Building
107 W. 9th St.
2nd Floor
Kansas, MO 64105

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Root Cause Analysis – Forbidden Knowledge and the Understanding of Failure

Feeling incomplete because of missing stones or bricks? Troubled by bowing or bulging walls? Plagued by mortar joints or vertical corner cracks?

The answer is to hire an experienced, reputable and smart Kansas City masonry company. But the answer is two-fold and the second part of the answer is to make sure that the contractor has the knowledge and esoteric masonic understanding to analyze the root cause of complex masonry problems and act accordingly.12931006_1127885283930143_6081715739747114832_n

Many masonry repairs fail prematurely because they do not address the primary cause of distress or failure. And where repairs fail, they tend to make deterioration worse. If you only fix the symptoms – that is what you see on the surface – the problem will almost certainly return, and need fixing over and over again. If you look deeper to figure out what’s causing the problem, you can fix the underlying systems and processes so that it goes away for good.

Kansas City Masonry / The Masons Co. is the region’s preeminent leader in looking deeper and determining the crucial steps in masonry repair and historic restoration.

Office Location:  Country Club Plaza

KCMasonrycontractors@gmail.com

(816) 500-4198

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The Treasure of Terracotta: Chalk, Charcoal and Clay

The Preservation of Historic Glazed Architectural Terracotta from the medieval associations of tradesmen.

Terracotta was treasured as a design component for centuries because of its durability as a construction material and its beauteous and opulent demeanor. Weighing roughly one tenth as much as stone, terracotta can be molded and fired at high temperatures to a hardness and compactness comparable to that of  brick. As styles evolved and manufacturing costs increased, terracotta was used less often. In the late 1800’s, there were more than 100 terracotta manufacturers in the United States. Today, there are fewer than 10.The scarcity of qualified manufacturers and skilled craftspeople can present threats to the ongoing maintenance and restoration of historic terracotta.terra-cotta

An array of challenges await the restoration contractor , especially when the project calls for historical preservation. Kansas City Masonry/ The Masons Inc. has the experience, expertise and architectural knowledge to cautiously remove the existing historically important elements, record their position in the facade, rebuild the unit if distressed, and work closely with a recognized terracotta manufacturer to fabricate a replica of same dimensional size and glazing finish.

It is critically important to use a contractor who intimately understands all facets of terra cotta in a masonry aspect. Kansas City Masonry is that company.

Office Location:  Country Club Plaza

KCMasonrycontractors@gmail.com

(816) 500-4198

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The Repointing of Masonry Restoration in Kansas City – A Craft Lost in Time

There is nothing freer than chalk, the slightest touch of which leaves its trace.

Masonry, which includes stone, brick, terracotta, and  block, is found in some capacity on almost all historic buildings and many historic homes. Although customarily considered steadfast, masonry is subject to deterioration, especially at the mortar joints. Repointing is the process of removing deteriorated or distressed mortar from joints between masonry units and installing new mortar into the joints. Proper Kansas City masonry repointing can last 25 to 30 years, however, improper repointing will do little to extend the life of the masonry and may lead to irreversible damage to masonry units.cropped-lime-mortar.jpg

Kansas City Masonry/the Masons Co is adamant about historically accurate restoration and preservation. Masters in the art of evaluating the masonry needs of historical homes and buildings, the contractor has an esoteric understanding of how old and new products and methods react with each other over a period time. We determine the areas needing repointing, choose the proper techniques for mortar removal, select the appropriate mortar and execute the repointing work as skilled tradesmen who take great pride in their craft.

Properly done, repointing restores the visual and physical integrity of the masonry, thus standing up to time and it’s elements. Kansas City Masonry /  The Masons Inc. is the regions premier masonry company, providing service to both residential and commercial clients in the fields of design, installation, repair, restoration and preservation. Everything from historical properties to brand new builds and all that lie in between, our appreciation for true architecture never wavers.

Office Location:  Country Club Plaza

KCMasonrycontractors@gmail.com

(816) 500-4198

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The Magic Fountain of Water Features

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it” ~ Roald Dahl

Fountains and water features are magnificent and oftentimes seem magical for those who wish to see, and yet, they are multifarious systems whose keeping presents daunting and often contradictory challenges. The play of water over sculptured forms is compelling, with its delightful operas of light and sound and cooling spray but these same features threaten a fountain’s stability.  Water erodes delicate surfaces, invites biological infestation and represents environmental conservation challenges.

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Kansas City Water Features

“Just because an old fountain gives no more water, it cannot be despised because with the water it provided once, many trees grew up, many thirsty has quenched their thirsts!”  ~ Mehmet Murat ildan

Balancing a fountain’s material preservation with its operation and water conditioning needs is very complex. Kansas City Masonry, the Masons Co, works with structural and mechanical engineers, architects, owners and maintenance crews to treat deterioration and devise long term effective strategies to maintain and preserve fountains in parks, major buildings and private residences. Historical restoration and modernization are the foundation of our company’s foresight when these showpieces  are placed in our hands.

Office Location:  Country Club Plaza

KCMasonrycontractors@gmail.com

(816) 500-4198

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Reviving KC History With The Vanderslice

For one who indulges in a love of all historical structures constructed with brick, block or stone, reviving a masonry majestic to its former glory satiates the craftsman’s passion for stonework.

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Restoring the historic Vanderslice mansion was one of Kansas City Masonry’s finest accomplishments in 2016.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the mansion was built in 1896. The red brick, three-story mansion exemplifies 19th century Queen Anne style architecture with a grandiose air and a sublime manner. It was originally built for the August Meyer family who lived there for 31 years. In 1927, trustee Howard Vanderslice arranged for the purchase of the home and surrounding 8.5 acres as a new location for the Kansas City Art Institute.

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Now known as Vanderslice Hall, the building houses the college’s admissions department and multiple offices as well as serving as the epicenter for festive social, enrollment and administrative activities of the college.

With a continuous dedication and true appreciation for the craft of masonry, Kansas City Masonry looks forward to its next piece of yesteryear that is eagerly awaiting its revival.

vanderslice1….

KCMasonrycontractors@gmail.com

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The Art of Masonry, or the Craft.

What is an art? What is a craft? What’s the difference?

The definitions of art and craft are not uniform, but in Western Europe crafts predate the arts. A time long ago when there was a focus on the beauty in the world, and if you had the talent to make something beautiful, or at least the ability to learn to make something beautiful, you apprenticed at a trade guild. Metalsmiths, architects, weavers, carpenters, these were the artists of their time, each forming into a guild of tradesmen under a master craftsman, who designed the craft..oasis1

Masonry is the art and craft of building and fabricating in stone, clay, brick, or concrete block. Construction of poured concrete, reinforced or unreinforced. The craft of stonemasonry (or stonecraft) has existed since humanity could use and make tools- creating buildings, structures, and sculpture using stone from the earth. They were beautiful, made to exact, repeatable designs and specifications from the master, meeting all standards set by the guildmaster, created by the craftsmen, and assisted in their craft by their apprentices. The value of it was that it was recognizable. It carried the master’s trade mark.

Medicine, while founded in science, has long been called an “art.” Likewise, the delivery of medical care is known as “practice,” though it will likely never be made perfect. Medicine is part science. Part art. The relationship between physicians and patients is at the core of healing.

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Over time the world changed, and  the emphasis shifted from the work to the worker. The artwork was absolutely valuable, but more because it was a unique expression of the experiences of the artist or an interpretation of the beauty the artist saw. The crafts sliped away to be repeatable to exacting, high standards.

1.Art is a work created by the accumulation of experience, skill, expressible point of view, and is entirely unique.

2. Craft is work created by the skills and experience of a skilled artisan meant to meet and conform to exacting standards of the Master.

Stonemasonry is one of the earliest craft in civilization’s history. During the time of the Neolithic Revolution and domestication of animals, people learned how to use fire to create quicklime, plasters, and mortars. They used these to fashion homes for themselves with mud, straw, or stone, and the CRAFT masonry was born.

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Dr. Logan Clendening Memorial Fountain. The Baker Street Irregulars

 

“Life is short, art long, opportunity fleeting, experience treacherous, judgment difficult.” This phrase comes from the first two lines of  Aphorismi , which was written by the Ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates. What he meant by these lines is:  “It takes a long time to acquire and perfect one’s expertise (in, say, medicine) and one has but a short time in which to do it.”

Much celebrated and most distinguished physician, scholar, and writer, Dr. Logan Clendening, was recently once again honored posthumously with a fountain on the campus of the KU Medical Center in Kansas City.

Two years after Logan Clendening’s untimely death in 1945, 600 people gathered for the dedication of a fountain which was placed in the KU Medical Center courtyard as a memorial to the prominent KU physician and benefactor of the world renowned Clendening History of Medicine Library. The interior wall of the fountain was inscribed:  “Life is Short – and the Art is Long to the memory of Logan Clendening, 1884-1945, from his friends.”

Sixty-seven years later, in 2014, the irreparable Clendening Fountain was dismantled and carefully placed in storage.

 

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In 2016, Kansas City Masonry/ The Masons Co created, built and erected a custom fountain in front of the entrance to Murphy Hall, KU Medical’s oldest building, where the first fountain stood. The words, ‘Life is Short and the Art is Long’ is engraved into real limestone caps on the fountain. Distinctive Caduceus symbols are on each of the two columns with Scottish thistle at the top of each serpent. Custom tile adorns the fountain’s facade.

The project was a labor of pride and respect for the team. With a fierce dedication to the art of masonry and a passion for the craft’s beauty, the company took it as a tremendous privilege to have a hand in honoring Dr. Clendening as one of the ‘greats’ in Kansas City history.

Upon his death, many were saddened by the loss. “It is hard for those who knew him to realize that the blithe spirit that was Logan Clendening is gone,” the Star pondered. “No one could have enjoyed life more than he. Few have contributed more to make life sparkle for others in conversation and writing.” “It seems difficult to think of Logan as gone,” Landon Laird wrote in the Kansas City Times. “The happier imagination is that he is just around the corner, waiting to greet one with his hearty laugh and his offer of ‘Let me show you the sights around here.’” And Vincent Starrett, years later, pronounced the final word on the subject: “Logan Clendening was one of the finest human beings I ever knew.”

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Kansas City Masonry/ The Masons Co is immensely proud to add the Logan Clendening Memorial Fountain to its impressive portfolio of projects. The company revels in not only being able to contribute to the historical restoration of some of region’s finest properties, but also in creating lasting tributes and timeless structures to carry Kansas City and and the city’s surrounding areas boldly and eloquently into the future.

The possibility of a future discovery in a time capsule greatly exists. Maybe the Baker Street Irregulars or Logan Clendening’s love for Sherlock Holmes will some day Reveal It…

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The Masons Trade Unions. Corn, Wine, Oil.

Definition of ‘Trade Union’:  Labour unions or trade unions are organizations formed by workers from related fields that work for the common interest of its members. The key phrase is ”common interest of its members” with little to no mention of  quality  and workmanship .  Workmanship has been moving further and further down the supply chain since the  Trade Union Act of 1871, which had given the unions legal status and thereby allowed them to take over the training and social functions which the Guild had previously enjoyed

Masonry projects are a balance between cost, time and quality. It is possible to have high quality and low cost, but at the expense of time, and conversely to have high quality and a fast project, but at a cost. If both time and money are restricted, then quality is likely to suffer.

Workmanship has come under particular scrutiny recently as building regulations, and trade union wages have become more onerous and the standard of specification has increased. As a result, low-quality workmanship and materials are the norm.

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Operative Wages:  Corn Wine Oil. Corn, wine and oil were the Masonic wages of our ancient brethren.

Corn, wine and oil were the wages paid our ancient brethren, they were the “master’s wages” in the days of King Solomon. Masons of this day receive no material wages for their labors; the work done is paid for only in coin of the heart and for the craft, but those wages are no less real. How much we receive today and what we do with our wages depends entirely on our Masonic work.

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The Masons Co Inc is resurrecting Guild masonry before all of the secret methods, traditions and practices are lost forever. Our focus is on preserving  the strong links between medieval operative masonry and today’s Craft masonry which should be preserved.

For all of us then, corn, then wine and then oil are symbols of sacrifice, of the fruits of labor, of wages earned.  No doubt the charge administered to all Masons and which contains the following clause accounts for the loss of many members of our Society in today’s Trade Unionism.

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Historical Background of Lime Mortar. Burning The Bones Of The Earth.

Lime mortar is a type of mortar composed of lime and an aggregate such as sand, mixed with water. It is one of the oldest known types of mortar, dating back to the 4th century BC and widely used in Ancient Rome and Greece, when it largely replaced the clay and gypsum mortars common to Ancient Egyptian construction.

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The Mix

Lime mortars were the norm for centuries, and the secret of the perfect mix for any given situation was passed from father to son and from craftsman to apprentice over generations; the techniques also varied considerably across the country to suit the nature and performance of predominantly locally-sourced materials. There were few textbooks and no formal training. It was a matter of tradition and instinct supplemented by generations of experiment and sound experience.

This chain of knowledge was severely interrupted by the First World War and the near-universal adoption thereafter of stronger, faster-setting and consistent (but not always appropriate) cement-based mortars. To a large extent, today’s craftsmen have had to rebuild that knowledge base from scratch. But what if we have placed too much trust, and not enough understanding, in surviving texts, rather than analyzing the sound evidence of centuries-mortar— http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/mythmix/mythmix.htm

Is there anything freer than chalk?

Where does one get one’s Cement?

That Cement is  Brotherly Love and Affection comes from “Heart Work.” This is a major focus of the operative . With its focus upon Values, Morality, Divestment and Investment, Masonic Cement is slowly but surely created by the Masons so doing this Work.

But isn’t Cement just “Symbolic?” Speculative Speaking  

Masons might assume that all this Masonic Cement talk is just Symbolic.  They might assume that a literal translation would ever readily present itself should Masons try to find it within some Ritual.  And should such Masons ever assume that Masonic Cement is just Symbolic, they would be very wrong.

Investigating the compounds necessary to bring about Cement requires exploration into the many types of Cements commonly used over the years.  There are multitudes of mixtures that have been used in the past with the most widely spread formula being those used in Ordinary Portland Cement.  The basic compounds that produce OPC come from limestone, alumina, silica and ferric sources.  When properly prepared and appropriately mixed together with water, it creates a viscous fluid that readily hardens into solids with the utmost of Integrity.

Interestingly enough, the compounds required to create Cement are mentioned within Lectures throughout the World.  Moreover, it is amazing to this Mason that it is a rare operative mason who knows this, especially since the Cement of Brotherly Love and Affection is such an overly emphasized articulation echoed throughout Masonic Work.

Let’s explore the making of Cement and see if you might guess where the “ingredients” are hidden within Operative Ritual.

One step toward making Cement is to take Limestone and remove Carbon Dioxide from it.  This is usually done by breaking the material up and subjecting it to an intense heat source.  At temperatures of 900 degrees centigrade, lime is created. Removal occurs more quickly at 1000 degrees though.  Higher temperatures are counterproductive since something called, “dead-burn” lime is created which is nonreactive for Cement production purposes.

 

Coincidentally, charcoal burns at 1100 degrees centigrade. With this temperature being achieved, it can easily be used to raise the temperature of limestone to the necessary tipping point where it gives up its carbon dioxide. Doing so creates a compound called “Lime” or Calcium Oxide.  This compound is used to create Lime Mortar, Roman Cement(1) and OPC.

For those of you who might not make the connection, Limestone is common Chalk.

Chalk, Charcoal, and Clay Chalk by Anthony A Reyes

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