History of Stone Art Memorial
Stone Art Memorial Company’s roots can be traced to the 1870s with the Limestone Hill Granite Company that was located at our Ridge Road location. At that time, this area was known as Limestone Hill and was part of West Seneca. In the 1880s the original location was taken over as a branch office of the McDonnell & Sons Granite Company headquartered in Buffalo near Forest Lawn Cemetery. McDonnell & Sons were one of the premier memorial builders in the United States with a full staff of architects, designers and builders. In addition to their holdings in the Buffalo area they operated manufacturing and quarrying facilities in Quincy, Massachusetts and then Barre, Vermont. Prestigious memorials can be found from Boston to the Midwest that were contracted and completed by the McDonnell organization.
In the late 1930s, after the closing of the McDonnell operation, Chester A. Rowley, an experienced designer/architect who learned the trade while working for McDonnell & Sons, purchased the Lackawanna facility. Changing the name to Stone Art Memorial Company, Chester Rowley operated the business until his death in 1985. In 1986 John T. and J. Thomas Koch purchased the company from Mrs. Gertrude Rowley. Prior to the purchase of the Lackawanna business, John Koch operated a funeral business in Ulysses, Pennsylvania and served many years as the county coroner of Potter County in Northern Pennsylvania, 100 miles south of Buffalo. J. Thomas Koch began working in the family memorial business at 13 years of age and upon graduation from high school moved to Barre, Vermont to work in the manufacturing part of the business and attend the Barre Stone Trade School which was the only school of its type at the time.
Currently, Stone Art Memorial Company has a full staff of 18 employees and prides itself on being one of the northeast’s premier memorial companies. Throughout Western New York and beyond, you will find everything from beautiful, hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind memorials to prestigious, custom built family mausoleums and numerous historical and civic monuments, all handcrafted by local artisans in quality materials, to stand for all time.