The “Stone Whisperer”

As the renovation architect for the the Old Cathedra Basilica of Saint Louis, Mackey Mitchell’s project team has been fascinated by the work of Speweik Preservation Consultants. Founder of the company John Speweik is a fifth generation mason from a family of masons (1870) from Prussia. John believes that buildings have a voice and communicate clearly through visible patterns. He has developed a passion for replicating historic masonry materials in both design and application, using the building itself as his model.

Pieces of broken stone used on the original Old Cathedral building have been ground down and used for mortar in this masonry restoration project. John has worked on castles with fellow Scottish stonemasons to gain personal insight into vintage masonry walls, and has brought back that knowledge to American stone masons.

In addition to stone restoration and window replacement, the renovation includes interior upgrades, restoration of wood floors, removal of the finishes from a 1960’s renovation and repair of the mosaic tile floor around the altar. The project potentially includes the rebirth of a museum, which will provide an additional attraction on the St. Louis Arch grounds.