Stones from Storeton Quarry on the Wirral helped build the Empire State Building

Did you know there’s a little bit of the Wirral in the Empire State Building?

Sevenstreets’ David Lloyd dropped us a line the other week with a link to a blog he had come across, written by Gerry Corden, explaining that some of the cladding on the Empire State Building was built with the creamy sandstone quarried from Storeton Ridge.

Gerry’s spot on. The same stone was also used to build Birkenhead Town Hall and other institutions around the Wirral including St. Andrew’s Church. It’s another nice little link between us and New York City; Central Park is said to have been heavily inspired and modelled on Birkenhead Park after Frederick Law Olmstead, an American architect, visited Birkenhead in 1850.

Storeton, Wirral, in the autumn by Tim Dutton

Storeton was home to three sandstone quarries heralding back to Roman times, and it took workers three weeks to transport the stone two and a half miles between the quarry and the docks on the River Mersey on horse-drawn wagons.

It was eventually replaced by a tramway in 1838 at a cost of £12,000 (much to the relief of several Wirral horses). We can’t imagine the effort needed in getting it all the way to New York, though; it’s an incredible achievement in hindsight.

The quarry has since been filled in and the tramway gone, but the Empire State Building still stands as strong as it ever has done.

(Storeton image: CC BY 4.0 Tim Dutton)