Boulders to Building Blocks

Stone cutting
PIPE SPRING, OCTOBER 1870 to APRIL 1872— The sound of hammers striking steel drills and chisels rang out on this hillside for more than a year as the walls of Winsor Castle went up. Master stone masons Elijah and Elisha Averett were sent by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the new construction site. As many as 40 men helped build the fort during the 19-month-long effort.

Large sandstone boulders that had broken off from the cliff above provided material for the fort walls. First the boulders had to be reduced to manageable building block sizes. Then newly split blocks were hauled downhill to the job sites, riding on a lizard, the fork of a juniper trunk used as a sled.
Stone Cutting Techniques
Stone cutting methods - (left)Wooden pegs with water and (right)Steel wedges being used to split the sandstone.

Masons hand-drilled holes into sandstone blocks on this slope. You can still see drill-hole scars today on the walls of Winsor Castle. Wooden pegs were then driven into the holes, and drenched with water. As the wet pegs expanded, the fine-grained sandstone split into blocks.


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Pipe Spring National Monument
HC 65 Box 5
406 Pipe Springs Road

Fredonia, AZ 86022


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