In 1849, a 39-year-old mason stepped onto the docks of Chester, Pennsylvania after leaving a starving Ireland. Remaining behind were his wife and three sons as he struggled to plant roots in a land not entirely friendly to Irish laborers.
A year later, Charles Birney had managed to secure a home and pay for the passage of his family. The three sons went immediately to work in their father's trade. A few years later, another son was born. At four years old, James Taylor Birney must have watched as his three elder brothers went off to serve their adopted country in the Civil War. Little James followed the family calling into stonework.
In the 1880's, he built many of the bridges and culverts on the new B&O Railroad between Chester and Baltimore. Many are still in use today, a silent testimony to the strength and durability of natural stone. While working on the crossing of the Big Elk, he met a local young woman, a descendant of William Lasley. They married and the son of the Irish immigrant had found his place in the New World.
At Hiraeth Restorations, LLC, we take particular pride in our stonework. Laying stone, as we are told, is "in our blood". As with all trades, our offerings are constantly expanding.