Sullivan Stoneworks of St. Paul, MN has been an integral part of the Will Steger Wilderness Center. Master stonemason, Jim Sullivan, comes from a long line of stone workers and has been a master mason himself for more than 30 years.
Like Steger, Sullivan is an alum of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, majoring in Geology.
For the last five years, Sullivan has been leading the stone masonry apprenticeship program at the Will Steger Wilderness Center, teaching groups of 8-10 apprentices the craft of stonework for stone walls, foundations, and the incredibly impressive conservatory area of the Center.
The conservatory sits beneath 3000 square feet of glass and Douglas Fir timber-framing. The stonework includes the Center’s foundation, walkways, gardens, wading pools, and small waterfalls that will continually flow through the heart of the Center’s first floor.
All of the stone is locally harvested granite.
Stonework for Sullivan is a family affair. His brother Tim is also a Master stonemason and has been heavily involved in the construction of the Center.
Jim Sullivan has five daughters, some of which have followed in his steps. Caitlin, the youngest of the five and son-in-law Ian, have worked at the Center in recent years.
Caitlin recently led a group of apprentices and completed a stone surround and apron for the entrance to the ice house.
- Apprentices in the various programs work at the Center for up to six weeks at a time, learning the craft and leaving their permanent signatures behind.
- Participants learn skills in stone selection that best reflect the physical and aesthetic beauty of each rock placed, and how it fits into the larger picture.
- They also learn mortared and mortar-less design for stonewalls and other structures.
Program Director:Jim Sullivan, Sullivan Stoneworks, St. Paul, MN.
You can see more of Jim Sullivan’s work on his blog: Sullivan Stoneworks