Founded here in Newport in 1705, The John Stevens Shop, is the oldest stone carving shop in the United States, crafting each headstone by hand with the same techniques utilized by their founders. Their lettering can be seen on some of the most famous memorials in the country including the the JFK Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, the World War II Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.
The John Stevens Shop specializes in the design and execution of one of a kind inscriptions in stone. Their architectural and memorial lettering is generated by hand with a broad edged brush in the manner of the great Roman inscriptions. Refined and developed for centuries this standard is based on the practiced work of hand and eye directed by a keen grasp of form and aesthetics. Letters are carved by hand in a broad range of materials with hammers, mallets and chisels. Through these methods graphic and calligraphic designs can be given true sculptural form. The application of computer science is also used in their work in the design and execution of custom graphics and typefaces required by contemporary production methods.
The John Stevens Shop clients range from families whose gravestones have come from the shop for generations, to architects who need distinctive, legible and well designed lettering or inscriptions for universities, hospitals, memorials and museums. The same attention to detail is given to all jobs. Clients come to them because they have seen their work in a churchyard or cemetery, on a building, in a museum or on a house.
The shop has worked with well known families, institutions and architects on projects that include inscriptional work for Brown, Yale and Harvard Universities, Smith College, The National Gallery of Art, The Frick Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Washington National Cathedral, The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and most recently the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.