Ashlar is finely dressed (cut, worked) masonry, either an individual stone that has been worked until squared or the masonry built of such stone. Ashlar is the finest stone masonry unit, generally cuboid or less frequently trapezoidal. Precisely cut “on all faces adjacent to those of other stones”, ashlar is capable of very thin joints between blocks, and the visible face of the stone may feature a variety of decorative treatments from quarry faced to tooled to smoothly polished.
One such decorative treatment consists of small grooves achieved by the application of a metal comb. Generally used only on softer stone ashlar, this decoration is known as mason's drag.
Ashlar is in contrast to rubble masonry, which employs irregularly shaped stones, although sometimes minimally worked or selected for similar size, or both. Ashlar is related but distinct from other stone masonry that is finely dressed but not quadrilateral, such as curvilinear (Lesbian) masonry and polygonal masonry.
Ashlar may be coursed, which involves lengthy horizontal courses of stone blocks laid in parallel, and therefore with continuous horizontal joints. Ashlar may also be random, which involves stone blocks laid with deliberately discontinuous courses and therefore discontinuous joints both vertically and horizontally. In either case, it generally uses a joining material such as mortar to bind the blocks together, although dry ashlar construction, metal ties, and other methods of assembly have been used in the past.
The Bennington Battle Monument is a 301 or 306 ft (93 m) stone obelisk located at 15 Monument Circle, in Bennington, Vermont. The monument commemorates the Battle of Bennington during the Revolutionary War.
In that battle, on August 17, 1777, Brigadier General John Stark and 1,400 New Hampshire men, aided by Colonels Warner and Herrick of Vermont, Simonds of Massachusetts, and Moses Nichols of New Hampshire, defeated two detachments of General Burgoyne's British army, who were apparently seeking to capture a store of weapons and food maintained where the monument now stands. While the battle is termed the Battle of Bennington, it actually occurred about 10 miles (16 km) away, in New York; the Bennington Battlefield, a U.S. National Historic Landmark, is entirely within New York State.
In 1877 a local historical society began to plan a monument for the battle's centenary, and considered many designs. One which called for a slender stone column only 100 feet (30 m) tall was showcased during the battle's centennial celebration, which was attended by President Rutherford B. Hayes. The committee eventually accepted J. Phillip Rinn's design with some changes. The monument's cornerstone was laid in 1887, and it was completed in November 1889 at a total cost of $112,000 (including the site). It is constructed of Sandy Hill Dolomite from present day Hudson Falls, New York, a blue-gray magnesian limestone containing numerous fossils. Dedication ceremonies were delayed until 1891, when President Benjamin Harrison attended the ceremonies and held a reception at the nearby Walloomsac Inn. Today the Bennington Battle Monument is a Vermont State Historic Site.