Shoptalk—deciphering architectural and historic preservation jargon one word at a time!
Caen stone plaster
a type of plaster mixed to look like the limestone quarried in northwestern France near the city of Caen, Normandy; a blend of colored sand, pigment, mica and quartz that reproduces the sparkling look and texture of limestone (Sources: Cyril M. Harris, Illustrated Dictionary of Historic Architecture, Dover Publications, Inc., 1977.; Specialty Plaster LLC, Caenstone, accessed Feb. 4, 2016, http://www.specialtyplasterllc.com/.)
Caen stone plaster was created in an attempt to replicate the yellowish color and rippled-figure texture of the Caen stone used to build churches and prominent buildings in the medieval period. The plaster was popular from the late 1800s to the early 1900s and was applied over either lath or masonry as the finish coat or in all three coats of plaster. (Source: Association of the Wall & Ceiling Industry, Wachuwannano, accessed Feb 4, 2016, http://www.awci.org/cd/pdfs/0203_wac.pdf.)
First, let's look at an example of Caen stone.
The Church of Saint-Pierre, constructed between the early 13th and 16th centuries in Caen, is an example of a building with Caen stone. Note the light, creamy-yellow color of the limestone. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, Martin', https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Caensaintpierre.jpg, accessed Feb. 4, 2016.)
Now for an example of Caen stone plaster.
Caen stone plaster is present in the Great Overland Station's main waiting room. Drawings from the 1927 building, located in Topeka, Kan., show where "imitation Caen stone" should be installed.
Caen stone plaster was use to decorate a portion the waiting room walls.
This original elevation of the main waiting room clock indicates where "imitation Caen stone" should be used.
The main waiting room clock wall after restoration.
This original elevation of the main waiting room wall facing the street indicates where "imitation Caen stone" should be used.
The main waiting room after restoration.