Case Studies

Eden Stone Company Inc.

Leading limestone production, natural stone building materials and design

Not all stone is created equal. It takes strength, character and durability in natural stone, coupled with knowledge and design expertise, to deliver a truly beautiful, time-resistant installation. Harvesting from an area known as the Niagara Escarpment, Eden Stone Company, one of the oldest privately held, four-generation businesses in Wisconsin, has exclusive access to superior quality material. The mineral composition of stone from this region, as well as tight compaction of layers, results in an extremely dense, high-strength limestone known as Type III high-density dolomitic limestone.

Eden Stone Company Inc.With this material in its backyard, Eden Stone has become a leader in commercial, high-end residential, government, recreational and retail natural stone applications with products that span a broad range of colors, finishes and textures. To date, the company has completed numerous award-winning projects involving fabrication and stone shaping to clients’ specifications.

The source remains the same

Emil Gesell founded Eden Stone as Gesell and Sons in the 1950s, but the company’s acquisition of Valders Stone and Marble Inc. (Valders) in 1992 stretched its legacy back to 1906, when the Valders quarry operation began producing lump lime for local masons. “Originally, Valders was involved in the production of lime for the plaster and cement industry,” recounts Michael Schumacher, LEED AP, director of business for Eden Stone and Valders.

Valders mined limestone and operated kilns to produce lump lime from its quarry until the 1950s, when advancing technologies made lump lime obsolete in the face of ready-to-use soluble lime products. The business was forced to diversify and in 1957, Valders shifted gears and began producing limestone riprap used in shoreline protection and stabilization efforts.

The business then began producing dimensional-cut stone and two of Valders’ first projects were for the Kohler Company and Lakeland College in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. While the company has evolved over the years, the source of stone remains constant. “The stone we quarry and fabricate is mainly dolomitic limestone, but we also operate two quarries in central Wisconsin that are quarzitic sandstone as well,” says John Schnell, director of operations for Eden Stone and Valders. “All of the eight quarries we operate are in Wisconsin and each of them has its own unique characteristics.”

Stone from the company’s various quarries is transported to the Eden Stone processing facility in Eden, Wisconsin, where it is transformed into a variety of building products. Eden Stone’s complete line of building products runs the gamut, including full- and thin-veneer building stone and landscape stone.

Eden Stone CompanyThis is in addition to cut architectural stone products, such as paving, cut stone trim, fireplaces, mantels, stairs and balustrade, outdoor furniture, dimensional wall cladding and coping, as well as many other products produced at the Valders facility. “As a single-source supplier, customers come to us and they can get virtually anything in natural stone,” says Schumacher.

Each product can be custom cut for a smooth, refined finish, split for a more natural look, tumbled for a worn and weathered texture, or a more chiseled surface can be created through rock facing by machine or by hand. The stones are split-faced using a hydraulic splitter, which exposes the interior of a stone to yield a more consistent product that capitalizes on the untouched, natural beauty of the stone.

 Custom design and installation

Today, Eden Stone ships these products around the world. “Most of our customers are in North America, but we have shipped stone to Japan, Mexico, Paraguay and beyond,” says Schumacher.

While united under Eden Stone, Eden Stone and Valders target different markets. Eden Stone’s client base represents a mix of distributors, dealers, contractors and landscaping professionals. In contrast, the team at Valders works directly with general contractors, architects, landscape architects, engineers and institutional clients.

Eden Stone CompanyThe Valders team works with clients on a primarily custom-project basis and in a wider geographical area. In recent years, the company has supplied projects at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Harvard, Yale, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Michigan, as well as many federal and state courthouse facilities.

“We’re currently working on the General Academic building at UMass Amherst,” says Schumacher. “This is our third project with the university, which really speaks to the quality of our staff, our materials and our company in general.”

At the John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Valders Stone delivered a custom architectural wall panel system incorporating its signature dolomitic limestone. “This was an intricate process, aligning our stone professionals and the architects who work specifically for John Hopkins,” explains Schumacher. “We hosted the John Hopkins team at our facility in Valders so they could hand-pick the slabs that would go into the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center. This was an important step because the client had a specific vision of what color tonality and movement they wanted within the stone. This was a very collaborative project and our design team worked with the client to ensure everything selected blended seamlessly.”

Award-winning accomplishments

Eden Stone’s collaborative approach is something that has garnered the company many repeat customers and industry accolades. Valders Buff limestone was featured in an award-winning restoration of the 100-year-old façade at O.C. Tanner in Salt Lake City. The team fabricated radial wall panels, chamfered column bases and washed pier caps to add to the grandeur of what has been named, “The most beautiful jewelry store in America.”

O.C. Tanner’s east entrance is comprised of a glass curtainwall that is flanked by laser-engraved Valders Buff limestone with a honed finish. In the interior installation, Dovewhite limestone with a honed finish was selected to compliment rich finishes. Stone tile, ornate patterned paving inlays and an immaculate spiral staircase work together to complete the astounding architecture.

Upon completion, the project received two renowned industry awards — the Tucker Design Award sponsored by the Building Stone Institute and the Pinnacle Award of Excellence by the Marble Institute of America. “We recently won another Tucker Award for our work at the Bass Library at Yale University,” notes Schumacher.

The Tucker Design Awards are recognized as one of the most prestigious architectural design awards in the country. Presented biannually, Tucker Awards honor those who have achieved excellence in design through the incorporation and use of natural stone in a building or landscape project.

“The Marble Institute of America honored us with a Pinnacle Award of Excellence for a residential project in Long Island as well,” adds Schumacher. “Along with Valders Stone, other Marble Institute member companies worked with us on this intensive project.”

The intricate design incorporated stone in nearly every application from wall panels to pedestal paving and pool features, including a vanishing edge. “This was another instance where the architect came to our facility in Valders to hand-select the material for the high-end façade,” says Schumacher. “There was a certain pattern in mind for the façade. The veining in the stone is random so every piece was hand-picked and placed precisely to create the proper pattern.”

A sustainable future

Eden Stone continues to deliver award-winning natural stone products, now with a greater focus on sustainable solutions. “We’re continuously setting more sustainability benchmarks and goals for what we want to achieve,” says Schumacher.

Soon, Valders will be one of the top five green-certified quarries and fabricators in the U.S. through the Natural Stone Council and NSF International (National Standards Foundation). “This involves a NSF audit in order to become one of only a handful of companies that have achieved this certification,” explains Schumacher.

Eden Stone CompanyCompany wide, Eden Stone is recycling nearly 1 million gallons of water per day by utilizing an aquifer that employs a capturing and treatment system. “Our Eden production facility is also using geothermal heat through radiant tubing,” says Schumacher. “There’s often a misconception that there is a lot of waste in this business, but we don’t throw anything away in the production of our products. Most cutoff material gets sent to our corporate headquarters, where it’s made into landscape stone, adhered stone and other saleable products. At the very least, the stone is broken down and used for erosion control or a base for forms of civil construction.”

“Working on sustainability is key because our community is important; along with family and future generations,” says Schumacher. “We’re working on building a legacy and we want to help make a difference wherever we can.” For Eden Stone Company Inc., this is a philosophy that’s set in stone as the company continues to build on its longstanding name as one of the nation’s leading producers of natural stone.

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