Stone sculptor

Stone sculpting and stone sculpture is probably one of the oldest occupations in existence. Examples of stone sculpture abound in many museums and can be found world wide. It still uses the basic hand tools of a hammer and chisel and utilizes a wide variety of materials. The Minnesota Capitol building utilized stone sculpting in abundance, from ornate columns and other decorations to marble statuary.

For more information see:
United States Bureau of Labor Statistics/Craft and Fine Artists at:
Wikipedia "Stone Sculptors"at:
Northwest Stone Sculptors Association at:

Alfred Swanson


1900 Minneapolis City Directory and Newspaper reports. Alfred Swanson was a Swedish emigrant who died in a fall from scaffolding at the Capitol on April 27, 1900. He worked on the crew doing in-place stone carving. He was about 30 years old and unmarried. His grave is in the Pioneers and Soldiers Cemetery in Minneapolis.

Albert Swanson


Albert Swanson, a 20-year-old mold caster from Sweden, was killed in a strange accident.  A St. Paul Globe headline summarized, “Passing Wagon Drives Over Rope Used to Hoist Material, and Scaffolding, on Which Men Stood, Falls.”  Swanson and fellow worker Frank Thiery both plunged forty feet.  Swanson collided with timbers and died before hitting the ground.  But Thiery landed in a pile of sand and miraculously got away with only a broken leg and he checked himself out of the hospital and went home that night.

August Holz


1900 City Directory. August Holz was born in Minnesota in 1865. He worked for the ornamental stone carving firm, Purdy and Hutcheson as a stone carver. Like the other carvers he was a member of the Journeyman Stone Cutters Union and, according to a report in the St. Paul Globe, was accepted into the St. Paul Local from Chicago in May of 1900.

Annanias Nielson


1899-1900 City Directory. Ananias Albert Nielson was born in Norway in 1868 and emigrated in 1888. He worked for Purdy and Hutcheson as a stone carver at the Capitol. He soon moved to Minneapolis and was the superintendent of a marble factory there in 1910. In 1930 he was the foreman at a stone yard in Oak Park, Illinois.

George Schmid


George Schmid worked for the stone carving firm Purdy and Hutcheson. In the 1899 CD he listes his occupation as "caster" but in the 1900 Census he is a "stone carver." He was born in Germany in 1855 and came to St. Paul in 1882. An 1889 passport application reveals that in 1889 Schmid, who was a carpenter at that point, traveled to Munich to study to become a sculptor. He raised a large family in St. Paul. This address is from the 1900 Census.

Albert S Corwin


1899 and 1900 City Directory: Purdy and Hutcheson employee. Albert Samual Corwin (1861-1940) was an Irish born stone carver who came to this country with his family in 1864. He was active member in the Stonecutters Union. and the March 1898 Stonecutters' Journal notes that Corwin was in Tate, Georgia at that time. He came here in 1899 to work on the Capitol and stayed in St. Paul raising his family here though he traveled throughout the country and Canada for his work.

Albert Corwin (right), Herman Schlink (center) and Frank Schlink (left), brother to Herman and rough carver, on steps of the Swan J. Turnblad mansion, ca 1908. Herman Schlink was the master craftsman for all the exterior stone carving on the Turnblad home, which is now the American Swedish Institute.
American Swedish Institute
Albert Corwin and Schlink brothers, Turnblad mansion, ca 1908
Herman Schlink, stone sculptor for the Turnblad mansion, (left) with his brother, Frank Schlink (center), who helped with the rough carving, and carver Albert Corwin, (right), ca 1908.
American Swedish Institute
ulpture, keystone over main entrance by ALbert Corwin, 9-1-1900
Winged Victory sculpture carved by Albert Corwin for the keystone above the main entrance to the State Capitol.
Image courtesy of Thomas Blanck and Associates. Used with permission. Photograph by Haas & Co., Sept. 1, 1900
Corwin and others carvers, Parliament Building, Winnipeg, 1918
Corwin and other stonecutters pose with column capitals they carved for the Parliament Building in Winnipeg, Manitoba, 1918.
Stone Cutters Journal, May 1918
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