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Fact Sheet 2012–3044

Famous Building Stones of Our Nation's Capital

By U.S. Geological Survey

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The buildings of our Nation’s Capital are constructed with rocks from quarries located throughout the United States and many distant lands. The earliest Government buildings, however, were constructed with stones from nearby sources because it was too difficult and expensive to move heavy materials such as stone any great distance without the aid of modern transportation methods, including large cargo ships, trains, and trucks. This Fact Sheet describes the source and appearance of three local stones commonly used in building Washington, D.C.

Revised April 3, 2012

First posted March 28, 2012

For additional information contact:
U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Science Quality and Integrity
912 National Center
12201 Sunrise Valley Drive
Reston, VA 20192


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Suggested citation:

U.S. Geological Survey, 2012, Famous building stones of our Nation’s Capital: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2012–3044, 2 p., available at

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