Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cobblestone Buildings Outside of New York State


The Gifford-Davidson House, also known as “Stone Cottage,”  at 363-365 Prairie St., Elgin, Illinois, was built by James Gifford  in 1850. However, if so, it's clearly a retrofit of the Second Empire style popular I the 1860s through 1880s. It was placed on the National Register in 1980. The house was designed by Edwin F.
Reeves, a native of New York. It is within the Elgin Historic District. Gifford was a native of central New York and was one of the founders of Dundee, Yates County, N.Y. He moved west to Kane County, Ill. in 1835 and was one of the founders of the town of Elgin, Ill. He was a prominent businessman, built roads
and furnished wood used to fuel steamboats.

The Herrick  cobblestone house at 2127 Broadway, Rockford, is believed to be the oldest residence in that city. Very little is known of its builder, Elijah L. Herrick, who came from Massachusetts in the mid 1830s. The stones were taken from the nearby Rock River. Herrick may have learned about cobblestone construction while passing through New York State on his trek west. It was placed on the National Register in 1980 and the Illinois Historic Sites survey in 1978.


Cobblestone Buildings of Washtenaw County, Michigan
                           By Grace Shackman
    Cobblestone Farm on Packard Road is one of at last seven cobblestone houses in Washtenaw County. Highly distinctive but incredibly laborious to build, they're examples of a folk art that flourished between the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 and the Civil War.         
    Cobblestone houses first appeared in western New York State immediately after the canal was completed. Their creation was due to a fortunate combination of circumstances: a labor force of skilled masons looking for work after the canal's completion, an abundance of glacial stones, and a population eager to build new homes with profits from the canal. 
    Most of the known examples (700 in all) are in New York, but as New Yorkers moved west, they took the craft with them and built scattered cobblestone houses in southern Ontario, southern Michigan, Illinois, and Wisconsin--wherever they found the style's namesake building materials, glacial stones, formed during the Ice Age, small enough to hold in one hand.
    The city-owned property known as Cobblestone Farm, built in 1844 for naval surgeon Benajah Ticknor, is today the site of many community activities.
Even the most informative book on cobblestone architecture, Cobblestone Landmarks of New York State, by the late Olaf William Shelgren, Jr., Cary Lattin, and Robert W. Frasch, is unable to trace an inventor of the style. The authors assume that most masons did only three or four cobblestone houses and that "they learned the cobblestone technique from each other or by examining finished buildings."
    Cobblestone houses' exterior walls were constructed with the stones arranged in neat rows, usually either vertically or horizontally but sometimes in fancier designs, and held together with cement that formed ridges between the layers. The simple lines of the prevalent architectural styles of the period, such as Federal, Classic Revival, and Greek Revival, lent themselves perfectly to this type of construction.
   The masons experimented, and the homes became more involved and elaborate as the years went by. But even the simplest style was very labor-intensive, requiring hand placement of each stone. In the earliest homes, the stones were embedded right in the cement, forming an integral part of the outside wall. Later, the stones were more of a veneer, with just an occasional longer stone poked all the way into the cement. Toward the end of the era, the houses became very fancy, with tinier stones used merely for a veneer and arranged in elaborate patterns.
    The cobblestone houses in Washtenaw County fit in with what is known about the homes in general: all were built in the 1830's and 1840's; all are in places where western New Yorkers settled; and all are of simple design, either Classic Revival or Greek Revival. Where the building time is documented, it runs from two to seven years, showing how laborious the work was. While two of the homes may have been done by the same mason, the other five seem to have been done by different individuals. All are located either on the Huron River or near streams, where stones were easier to find.
    Cobblestone houses, built from stones small enough to hold in one hand, are very labor intensive because the construction process entails putting in the stones one by one.


Cobblestone Farm on Packard Road

    Cobblestone Farm, built in 1844 at 2781 Packard Road, is now a city-owned museum. Both the owner and the builder had New York origins. Heman Ticknor, who bought the farm for his brother, Dr. Benajah Ticknor, had farmed in Pittstown, New York, near Troy; the probable builder, Steven Mills, learned to be a mason in Phelps, in western New York.  


                                             Orrin White House

    Ann Arbor's other cobblestone house, at 2940 Fuller Road, across from Huron High School, was built in 1836 for Orrin White, the first settler in Ann Arbor Township. White migrated here from Palmyra, in Wayne County, New York, the county with the largest number of recorded cobblestone houses in that state.    
    Present owners Nan and Robert Hodges believe that their house was also built by Steven Mills because it is very similar to the Ticknor-Campbell house: both are Classic Revival, and they have identical herringbone patterns of angled stones and similar interior layouts.

 Lester Jewett House, 10725 Jerusalem Road, Lima Township.

    Lima Township's cobblestone house, at 10725 Jerusalem Road, is similar to the Ann Arbor cobblestone houses in size and design. Original owner Lester Jewett, who hailed from Seneca, New York, was, like Benajah Ticknor, a medical doctor. According to stories that have been passed down, the house took seven years to build. Dr. Jewett had two brothers who also settled on Jerusalem Road. They, too, built stone houses, but used larger fieldstones. Family legend is that the stone houses brought them luck.

                                  Rufus Knight home

    The Rufus Knight home at 4494 Scio Church Road also has a similar look except for smaller upstairs windows. Knight, a miller who arrived in this area in 1826 from Wheatville, New York, was a pathfinder who, according to the 1891 Washtenaw County Portrait and Biographical Album, "ground the first grist which ever went between the stones in this county." He set another record - the first marriage to be entered in the county archives, when he married Sallie Scott in 1827. The 1891 book's description of Knight ends, "The old cobble stone house is still in use and as good as ever although it was erected as long ago as 1849."
    The Orrin White house across the street from Huron High School is believed to be built by Steven Mills, the same mason who constructed Cobblestone Farm.

                                      Goodale House, 3555 West Delhi Road, Ann Arbor.

    A Greek Revival-style cobblestone is found at 3555 West Delhi Road, just a little to the west of the Delhi settlement. The house was built by Norman Goodale, an important mill owner during Delhi's days of prominence, for his mother, Harriet Church Goodale. Goodale settled in Delhi in 1838, so the house must have been built sometime after that. After the Goodale ownership, it passed through several hands, including Henry Ford's. He used it for a retreat, especially enjoying it when the peach trees on the property were in bloom.
    A second Greek Revival house at  3562 W. Huron River Drive in Scio Township was the home of farmer Morris Richmond, who hailed from New York and built his house in 1847, taking more than two years to do it. The house was obviously built by someone who knew about architecture, since it features classic Greek Revival attributes: gable entrance, symmetrical windows, and even a raised area under the beams forming a frieze.
    The most rustic of the seven Washtenaw County cobblestone homes is probably the only owner-built house in the group. Located on the corner of Baker and Shields just south of Dexter, it was built by Obed Taylor, who, according to information researched by his great-great-grandson, Welton Chamberlain, had been a surveyor and a road builder in Northbridge, Massachusetts, before coming west. After his arrival in Dexter, he was hired by Vrelan Bates to dig out a mill race for the Bates Saw Mill on Mill Creek. Taylor worked for three years, digging with pick and shovel, for which he was rewarded with 40 acres of nearby land.
    He used the stones that he dug out to construct his house, burning the larger pieces of limestone for cement and using the smaller stones for the walls. Records indicate that he must have finished his home by 1844 because in that year he was hired by Judge Samuel Dexter to build a fence just like the one around his own home.
    People curious about cobblestone houses and willing to travel farther afield can see all the cobblestone houses they could ever desire by going to western New York State and driving along Route 104, built on an old sandbar that parallels the Erie Canal. In Childs, New York, the Cobblestone Society maintains a museum complex that includes a cobblestone church; a cobblestone home and a one-room schoolhouse. 
    A little closer to home, in Paris, Ontario, near Brantford, are Canada's finest examples of cobblestone homes, all built by Levi Boughton, a mason from Normandale, New York.
    Right here in Washtenaw County, we are lucky to have the seven we have: all slightly different, all well kept up, and all beautiful. The best time to view cobblestone houses is when the sun shines on them, giving the stones a beautiful three-dimensional look. 
                         Cobblestone Buildings in Washtenaw County
Obed Alvord House, 10331 Crossman Road, Manchester Township, 1840s 
William Burnett House, 3555 W. Delhi Road, Scio Township, 1840s
Lester Jewett House, 10725 Jerusalem Road, Lima Township, 1847
Rufus Knight House, 4944 Scio Church Road, Scio Township, 1849
Orrison Leland House, 7374 Sutton Road, Nortfield Township, 1840s
Robert McCormick House, 5400 Curtis Road, Salem Township, 1851
Loren Miles House, 219 N. Huron, Ypsilanti, 1845 
Myron Pierce House, 4659 Prospect Road, Sharon Township, 1840s
Morris Richmond House, 3562 W. Huron River Drive, Scio Township, 1840s 
Obed Taylor House, 2385 Baker Road, Scio Township
Benajah Ticknor House, 2781 Packard Road, Ann Arbor, 1844
Orrin White House, 2940 Fuller Road, Ann Arbor, 1836   
Loren Miles House,  219 N. Huron, Ypsilanti, 1845                        
                          Other Counties
 Compiled by Grace Shackman and Patricia Majher
Blaisdell House, 298 Eaton Road, Castleton Township
Barney House, 303 S. Hillsdale St., Homer
Lake House, 29680 Albion Road, Albion Township
White House, 20744 M-66, Pennfield Township
Kirby House, 3771 State Road, Adams Township
Vandenburd House, 180 N. Wolcott St., Hillsdale
Wilbutr House, 4481 State Road, Adams Township
Sessions School, Riverside Drive at Jordan Lake Road, Berlin Township
Coolbaugh House, Michigan Avenue at Church Street
Parma Hamlin House, 200 Main St.
Concord Hurd House, 7632 N. Meridian Road, Henrietta Township
Walcott House, 6707 Cross Road, Spring Arbor Township
Eddy House, 11700 N. Adrian Road, Franklin Township
Macon District No. 1 School, 8225 Clinton-Macon Road, Macon
Wheeler House, 7075 M-50. Cambridge Township
Rumsey House, 5070 E. Highland Road, Osceola Township
Sawyer House, 8951 M-36, Green Oak Township
Osgood House, 744 Samaria Road, Bedford Township
Beach House, 7980 Hickory Ridge Trail, Rose Township
Dudley House, 880 Snell Road, Oakland Township
Garner House, 5355 White Lake Road,, White Lake Township
Holmes House, 324 S.  Main St., Milford
Sprague Building, 300 S. Main St., Rochester
Taylor House, 487 E. Gunn Road, Oakland Township
Terry House, 315 University Drive, Auburn Hills

                                  Some Cobblestone Buildings in Michigan

              Barney House, 303 S. Hillsdale St., Homer, built 1837 with later additions
             including porch.

              Sessions School, Riverside Drive at Jordan Lake Road, Berlin Township

 Historical plaque for school house     

                              Macon District No. 1 School, 8225 Clinton-Macon Road, 

                              Macon, built 1840.

The Greek Revival Nathaniel S. Wheeler cobblestone house at 7075 W. Monroe St., Cambridge Township in Lenawaee County was built about 1845. Nathaniel S. Wheeler was born in Amenia, N.Y. in 1808 and moved to Michigan in 1833 with his parents as one of the first settlers. He married Nancy A. Russ in 1855. He sold the farm in 1869 and resettled elsewhere in the county.  It has since had many owners. It was restored in the 1970s and placed on the National Register in 1975. It was once part of a 500-acre farm.


The Loren Miles House at  219 N. Huron, Ypsilanti, was built in 1842. The Queen 
Anne style porch and balcony were added later.  Today it is a well-maintained apartment

                                  New Mexico

The Moore-Ward house at 505 W. Richardson Ave., Artesia, New Mexico, was built soon after the town of Artesia was founded, in 1904. The unusual cobblestone fa├žade was placed by hand as part of the original construction, using stones from the nearby Penasco River that were hauled in on wagons. The stones were set in concrete starting from the bottom up—a couple of rows were laid at a time and then allowed to dry before the next rows were laid. The whole process took nearly two years, and no, we don’t know exactly how many stones were used! The house is on the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties and the National Register of Historic Places, and has housed the Museum since 1970. It houses the Artesia Historical Museum and Arts Center.


The Chester Risley Howard house at 411 East Garfield Road, Aurora, may be the only cobblestone building in the state of Ohio. Howard was a prominent miller. In 1853 he razed an old frame house and mason M. Smith built this Gothic Revival style cobblestone house for Howard. It has two stories and three wings. The walls are 20 inches thick. It was placed on the National Register in 1974. The black and white photo was taken by Photographer Carl Waite for the Historic American Buildings Survey on June 19, 1936. 


[Sources include: Wisconsin Historical Society, Burlington Historical Society and National Register of Historic Places applications; Wikipedia].

The Lathrop-Munn house at 524 Bluff St. in Beloit on the west side of Rock River was built about 1848 and is of Greek Revival style. It may have been built by local businessman John Hackett who sold the property to Frederick A. Lathrop in 1848. It was entered on the National Register in 1977. The walls are only one foot thick - suggesting the possibility of brick infill - with three or four courses of stones. Selection of color is more random on the south side, but here too stones are well matched for size and shape. The larger and more irregular stones were reserved for the north side. Throughout, they are set in rows in mortar which is raised in pronounced horizontal ridges between the courses of stones. Mortar bands also surround the buff limestone quoins and lintels. Rough-cut limestone was used for the foundations, water tables, and quoins; the heavy straight lintels were tooled to create a dotted texture. Additions do not seriously detract from the cobblestone fabric of the building. 
   Unfortunately, many cobblestone houses are falling to the wrecking ball or just disappearing through neglect. With high heating bills and expensive repairs, some people can no longer afford to maintain these structures. Development has also taken its toll on these once beautiful homes. 

                                    Sherry House, 530 Broad Street, Beloit.

Built in 1850 this house at 517 Prospect St., Beloit,  was occupied by the first president of Beloit College. It is a Wisconsin Landmark and one of the finest remaining examples of cobblestone architecture in the State of Wisconsin. It is owned and maintained by the Beloit Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. 

The Clark Brown House at 3457 Riverside Drive. Beloit, was built in 1847 of Greek Revival architecture. 

This cobblestone house at 565 West State St. in Burlington was built in 1845 in the style of a cube as the home of Pliny Merritt Perkins. He was born in Trenton, New York and first settled within family in Joliet, Ill. before coming to Burlington in 1837. Over the years he became a prominent local industrialist. Three of the walls are coarse masonry, the front facade being cobblestone with brick quoins.


Portion of front wall of Prasch house, 885 W. State St., Burlington. Note how cobblestones are graded from smallest at the bottom to largest at the top. [Burlington Historical Society.]

Three cobblestones - the Hammiller, Reuter and Burhans houses sit on Jefferson Street just east of the Hillside. The middle house has its gable end to the street; the other two are set parallel. Joseph Thering bought the house at the left from the Ephraim Perkins estate in 1851. Two German carpenters, John Heinrich Rueter and John Heinrich Burhans bought the center and right lots in 1851, gathered cobblestones while excavating the foundations, and completed their houses, which shared a common well on the lot line, in 1854. [ Burlington Historical Society.]


“Buena Vista House,” originally a hotel, is located at 2090 North Church St., East Troy. It took three years to build and was completed in 1846 and designed by Samuel R. Bradley, a young mason who ran a hotel in Milwaukee with his wife before moving to East Troy. It was placed on the National Register in 1978 and the Wisconsin State Historical Register in 1989. It is the largest known cobblestone building in Wisconsin. Like most cobblestone buildings, this one is a vernacular interpretation of the Greek Revival style, with a broad cornice, granite and limestone quoins, and flat-arched limestone lintels. Originally, a one-story porch ran along the west (front) and wrapped around to the north side, but all that remains today are two smaller, pedimented porch roofs, supported by large brackets, on the front. The paired windows on the second floor, over the main entrance, show where a doorway once opened onto a covered balcony. The ground level has always housed a restaurant, but the interior has been altered repeatedly.

This cobblestone house at W202 Highway 11, Spring Prairie, Walworth county was the farm residence of Lemuel R. and Melissa (Campbell) Smith, who he married about 1842. Their three children were born here. Lemuel was born in Hamilton, N.Y.,  a son of Revolutionary War veteran Aaron Smith He his son, Civil War veteran Edwin Ruthven Smith, gave President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of State William H. Seward each a drink from his canteen when they visited Fort DeRussy. Union troops there had helped repel an attack on Fort Stevens (Washington, D. C.) by Confederate troops under Jubal Early. Lemuel was one of the first four settlers to claim land in the Burlington area. The Smith farm has been identified as a station for sheltering fugitive slaves on the Underground Railroad. Smith has also been identified as a "conductor" who picked up a freedom seeker in Waterford and transported him to a farm near the Smith farm. Lemuel held various offices in his township and was the first chairman of the Old Settlers' Society in Walworth County. Lemuel died in 1874.                                                                            [Burlington Historical Society]

                             Old photo of the Lemuel Smith House.
                             [Burlington Historical Society]

 The William T. Billings house is located on Little Prairie Road, Troy Township, Walworth county. It is of Greek Revival architecture of the 1840s period.

Jedediah Healy had this Greek Revival-style  cobblestone house at 34108 Oak Knoll Road in Burlington  built in 1858, according to the date stone. It is constructed of fieldstone with cobblestone veneer. A one-story addition was built later on the year. This  is known as the Franklyn Hazelo House.It was placed on the National Register in 1974. Healy and his family were early settlers in Racine county, arriving in 1841. Architectural historian Richard Perrin noted tis house is “perhaps the most curious piece of cobblestone masonry in Wisconsin. It is the unique treatment of the cobblestones that invites attention, since nothing quite it has thus far been turned up anywhere else.”

The Richardson-Brinkman house at 607 West Milwaukee Road, Clinton, was built in 1843 by Alonzo Richardson. It is of Greek Revival  design. Its walls are 16 to 18 inches thick.  It was placed on the National Register in 1977.

The Samuel J. Jones house on Milwaukee Road, east of Clinton,  was built in 1847. It is of Greek Revival  architecture. It was placed on the  National Register in 1978.


The Joel B. Roberts house at 1011 State St., Eau Clare, is of' "Gothic Revival” architecture. It was built in 1866 by Bradley C. Marcy, a stone mason who came from New York State. Additions were made in 1876 and 1916.  Stones were gathered from the nearby Eau Claire and Chippewa  rivers. Inner stones came from local quarries. It is believed to be the only cobblestone house in northwestern Wisconsin. It was listed on the National Register in 1974 and the Wisconsin State Register in 1989.

The Hinkley house, Highway 67, Eagle, ( also known as the Cobblestone House) was part of a farm originally owned by A.R. (Ahira) and Mary Hinkley. A.R. Hinkley came to Wisconsin (before the territory was established as a state) in 1836 and bought the land from the government (specifically sold for homesteading purposes) for $2 per acre. Hinkley initially built a log house on the property and began clearing timber for farming. When the territory became a state in 1848, Hinkley began drafting plans for a new house. He built a house which included cobblestones he found on his land, sand from nearby Pretty Lake, and lime for the mortar which he made by burning limestone he found on the land. In fact, the majority of the materials used to build the house were taken from Hinkley’s land. Hinkley came to Eagle from New Hampshire. It is thought that his inspiration to build a cobblestone house came from those he had probably saw while traveling through western New York where the majority of cobblestone houses in the country originated. Hinkley was a predominantly a farmer, but also did dental work on the side. It is said he sometimes kept his dental tools with him while working in the fields, just in case a neighbor or another farmer had a toothache and needed assistance. He was a prominent citizen and worked to support the community in a positive way. Descendants of the Hinkley family lived in the house until 1912.

                                   Historic marker to house next to nearby road.

                                     Miniature cobblestone house next to marker.

The George Josiah Kellogg House, also known as “Belle Cottage, was located at 1837 Center Ave., Janesville, Rock county. It stood until 1987 when it was demolished, even though it had been placed on the National Register and the Wisconsin State Register of Historic Places. It was Gothic Revival architecture and was built in 1854 by Kellogg, a pioneer nurseryman.

                                 Meyerhofer Cobblestone House

The Meyerhofer cobblestone house is located on Townline Road east of Lake Geneva in the town of Lyons, Walworth county. It was  completed in 1850 of field stones  and is of Palladiun style after the 1500s Italian architect Andrea Palladio. It was built by Nikolaus Meyerhofer who came here from Germany about 1845 and purchased 160 acres for farming in 1847.  He had been a stone mason in Germany. The entrance to the house is constructed of brick with brick quoins.   Its appearance is particularly interesting with the segmental-arch doorway and the pediment. Later, a frame summer kitchen with gable roof was added.  and has been on the National Register since 1980 and the Wisconsin Register since 1989.

                                      Ketchum House, Marquette

The Daniel and Catherine Ketchum cobblestone house at 147 East Second St., Marquette, Wisconsin, was built in 1851. It is one of the most significant landmarks in Marquette and is of the Greek Revival style. The architect was John Baldwin. It also has been known as the Lisa Michele house.

Colonel Orien Haseltine, of Andover, Vermont, came to Vernon  in 1838  following his sons, Orien Jr. and Curtis who came two years earlier to claim 400 acres.  The community of Vernon was named by Haseltine in honor of George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon.  In 1859 Hazeltine moved to south central Wisconsin. This house, built of fieldstone, is located at W230 S8235 Big Bend Drive. It was built with more than 10,000 cobblestones in 1842, according to the date stone centered above south gable window.  It was placed on the National Register in 1979. It has had many owners over the years.

The home of Edward and Elizabeth Dodge now is located at 126 E. Grand Ave., Port Washington in Ozaukee County was built in 1848 with later additions.   Stones were gathered from the shore of Lake Michigan.It is of Greek Revival architecture. It originally stood on on the south bank of Sauk Creek about 125 feet north of its present location. It was moved to its present site in 1935, when a porch was added. It now serves as the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce Tourism Center. It was placed on the National Register in 1975. [Photos by J.R. Manning].

The Horace Loomis house is located at N797 Highway 120, Spring Prairie Township, Walworth county. It was built in 1851 and is of Greek Revival architecture. It was placed on the National Register in 1974 and the State Register in 1989.

The Murray-George house, north side of P, Turtle Township, Rock 
County, was built in 1845. It is Greek Revival architecture. 

This house on Maple Drive in the village of Waterford, Racine county, was built in 1847 by English immigrant Matthew Blackburn on his 280-acre farm. The one-story wing once had a recessed porch with two columns, but has since been walled up with siding and a bay window. Cobbles are of various colors.

P. R. Mygett Farmhouse, 5924 State Highway 83, Waterford, Racine county, Wisconsin. Greek Revival architecture, built 1850.

The James Jesse Strang residence, 154 Highway 11, town of Voree, (meaning garden of peace and founded by Strang). He and his followers broke off from the main Mormon Church. In 1850 local pressure forced the colony to an island in upper Lake Michigan. There he was crowned “King James I,” but internal strife resulted in his being shot. He returned here and died in 1856.

The Martin House at S87 W23715 Edgewood Ave., Vernon Township,
Waukesha County, was built in 1859.