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Mountains and Architecture

The Devonian Period has had a visible impact on New Brunswick communities. During this period of subduction and mountain building, less dense components of melting ocean-floor crust rose upward and solidified near the surface of the Earth. These granitic intrusions were later exposed by erosion and used as building stone in the late 19th and early 20th century. Granite and related rocks were quarried throughout the province in the communities of Bathurst, St. Stephen, Bocabec, Welsford, Hampstead, and St. George. It was the St. George granite works around Lake Utopia and quarries near Spoon Island and Hampstead where the majority of the granite dimension stone was produced. Rivers eroding the mountains laid down red sandstone in many parts of southern New Brunswick. The red stone has also been used as a building stone in some communities. Many familiar buildings are constructed from Devonian rock.

The Utopia Medallion is a carved slab of granite that was discovered in 1863 by a stonemason, James Laney, who was in search of material for building construction. Since its discovery at the base of a granite cliff on the western shore of Lake Utopia in Charlotte County, N.B., the intriguing bas-relief portrait has been the subject of much speculation. There have been some claims that the item is Aboriginal and pre-dates European contact. Other claims insist that the stone was carved by one of the artisans of the De Monts-Champlain expedition of 1604-1605 when they wintered at St. Croix (or Dochet's) Island in the St. Croix River. Some doubt has even been raised at its authenticity, questioning whether or not the carving was done as an elaborate hoax. Some recent analysis has revealed that the stone bears most similarity to granite found at the northern end of Lake Utopia, relatively close to where it was originally found.