Rocco Masons has been rockin' and rollin' on Broadway Avenue at the Smith Block Building for one of Saskatoon's most excellent restaurants, CALORIES! We're right in our element since restorations happen to be our specialty, so Owners Ryan and Nicolene Watson felt privileged and honored when asked to be a part of another historical project early last year.
Our scope of work involves a total brick and Indiana limestone facade, a three piece hand carved Indiana limestone "Smith Block" and date sign that weighs in around 400 pounds, along with a colossal hand carved limestone pediment for the buildings entryway.
Now that the Smith Block sign is complete, our Stone Carver and Masonry Designer, Ryan Watson is hard at work carving the massive 800 pound pediment. Watson continues to use traditional stone carving methods and tools that date back to the early 1800's. Once complete, the facade will greatly mimic the facade from 1912 as shown below, along with some added details throughout.
Smith Block was built in 1912 by the Bugenhagen and Turnbullof, who were also the architects of the Farnam Block. Previous tenants of this building include, Early’s Seed and Feed Company (which is now located on Lorne Avenue), the Free Methodist Mission and a branch of the Public Library. The chief librarian at the time, James Stewart Wood, lived in the upstairs suite until his death in 1961.
In 2015, upon request from the current home owner, Strata Developments asked us to participate in the restoration of this landmark on Saskatchewan Crescent West, a home built in 1910 for Mayor William Hopkins. Since our company specializes in Heritage Restoration, Stone Carving and natural stone fabrication, we were definitely in our element and pleased to know that our unique and quality workmanship was being recognized and requested.
In the fall of 2017 I submitted an application to the City of Saskatoon and Municipal Heritage Advisory Committee Society for our scope of work on this restoration project. I'm excited to announce that Ryan and I received a Municipal Heritage Award in the Preservation, Restoration, and Rehabilitation categories at the Honour level on Tuesday, March 13th 2018.
The judges were impressed with our companies quality of work, and commented that the design and material selection are complimentary to the original materials. Myself, Ryan, and our crew are pleased to have been a part of ensuring that this Saskatoon landmark remains as part of Saskatoon's building inventory. For more on the history of The Hopkins residence CLICK HERE.
ROCCO MASONS scope of work included replacing the home's disintegrating concrete stair treads, with Indiana limestone, each tread weighing in at 650 pounds. Indiana limestone was used on the original structure in 1910 for all of the window sills, lintels, and plinth details.
We replaced all cement details including the home's sills, stair treads and capstones with Indiana limestone. We tore down the two brick posts at either side of the staircase, cleaned each brick piece by piece before re-using them to return the posts to their original state. Once the posts were rebuilt, we capped off each post with 1900 pound limestone caps.
We were very pleased when the home owner decided to use our recommendation of limestone for the bases of the home's ionic columns to replace the home's original rotten wooden columns.
And lastly, we laid limestone flooring throughout the patio which starts at the front entrance and wraps around to the back of the home.
2018 Municipal Heritage Award Winners with our Mayor, Charlie Clark
If you missed our Stone Carver and Masonry Designer, Ryan Watson on CTV yesterday here it is! CTV COVERAGE ON OUR GREAT WAR MEMORIAL and for more on this project CLICK HERE and HERE.
GREAT WAR HISTORY
On June 28, 1914, a young Bosnian nationalist in the then obscure Balkan town of Sarajevo shot and killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This violent but seemingly isolated act set in motion a series of policies that were to culminate in August 1914 in the outbreak of the most destructive war up to that time. The struggle, called by contemporaries “the Great War”, ended in November 1918, after nearly four-and-a-half years of fighting. In 1914, Canada was the senior Dominion in the British Empire and automatically become a belligerent when Britain declared war. This dependency relationship had been recognized by Sir Wilfrid Laurier when, as the Liberal Prime Minister, he had stated in 1910 that “When Britain is at war, Canada is at war. READ MORE HERE.
The Great War exacted a heavy human toll on the University of Saskatchewan. Of the 345 students, faculty and staff who enlisted, 69 "passed out of the sight of man by the path of duty and self-sacrifice." About 100 were wounded. 35 were awarded medals of valour.
It is with great honor that Ryan Watson, our Stone Carver and the Co-Owner of ROCCO MASONS accepted this opportunity. He designed and is currently carving a memorial bench dedicated to the men and women of the campus who served our country from 1914 to 1918.
For more on this project click HERE and for this projects progress see gallery below:
To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the University of Saskatchewan’s Great War Commemoration Committee is soliciting donations for this initiative. Any and all donations are welcomed!
Any funds in excess of their goal will be transferred to the general scholarship fund of the University of Saskatchewan. Donors will receive a charitable donation receipt.
Nicolene Watson, Co-Owner of Rocco Masons since 2013. "Nicolene is the brains behind the scenes at Rocco Masons. She naturally knows how to run a business. When she wants something there's no stopping her", says Ryan Watson, Nicolene's husband and the companies Founder & President. Since 2013 Nicolene manages the office and directs all aspects of the business including Accounts Payable/Receivable, Human Resources, Web Design, Marketing, Advertising and Social Media. "I finally found my dream career at fourty that fits me like a glove"!