This is the untold history of the quarry owners and emancipated slaves who toiled there and the many people who work to this day to save seneca join author garrett peck as he traces the unlikely story of the smithsonian castle and the seneca quarry. British scientist james smithson 1765 1829 left his estate to found the smithsonian institution and his endowment was used to build the smithsonian institution building or castle the castles distinct red sandstone romanesque facade contrasts against the cool marble that dominates the national mall. History the castle was the first smithsonian building designed by architect james renwick jr whose other works include st patricks cathedral in new york city and the smithsonians renwick gallery also in washington dcthe building committee held a nationwide design competition in 1846 and selected renwicks design by a unanimous vote. This book tells the story of a until recently largely forgotten quarry in seneca maryland which provided the stone for the smithsonian castle and a host of other local landmarks as peck explains the quarry also proved to be a source of scandal for president us grant in the 1870s
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