051. Stonecarver's Shop

A walk through any cemetery will reveal the beautiful and intricate artistry of anonymous stone carvers who worked in shops like this one, which belonged to Henry Miller. Built on a bed of limestone, Naperville had no shortage of the material and because of this surplus attracted both stonecutters and carvers—like Miller, who learned his trade in Germany before immigrating to America. Pieces of local limestone, or marble and granite brought in from other areas, could be found leaning against the shop walls. Carvers, depending upon their artistry, worked freehand or used a pattern to shape the figures. Most headstones and monuments were carved in cool weather, leaving the warmer months free for cutters to fill orders for builders, and for carvers to meet the demand for ornately decorated mantles, cornerstones and signs.