Monday, September 5, 2016

Cobblestone Structures in New York State

                                           Albany County

                            Constructed in 1860, the Cobblestone School District #6 at 479
                            Main St., Guilderland Center, was used until 1941, when students
                            then attended classes in Voorheesville. The building is located on
                            the west side of Route 146 in Guilderland Center and is still owned
                            by the Guilderland School District. Present plans include the
                            establishment of a school district museum.

                          Prospect Hill Cemetery Receiving Vault at 236 Main St.,Guilderland,
                          was  built in 1863.  It has a slate covered gable roof. It is built of 
                       coursed cobblestones with smooth quoins and a stone lintel
                       above the door. It was listed on the National Register of
                       Historic Places in 1982.


                                Guilderland Cemetery Receiving Vault, Osborne Corners, built
                                1872. Has smooth quoins and rounded arch door.
                                Photos by Glenn Hinchey

                                  Cayuga County

  One of a Kind Cobblestone Monument in Meridian Restored
                        By Richard Palmer
    Standing on the hillside cemetery in the village of Meridian is what may be the only cobblestone monument in the United States. The Town of Cato had it restored in 2017. The oldest inscription dates it to at least 1840. This was at a period when cobblestone architecture was at the height of popularity in this region. 
    The monument is engraved with the faded names of the family of Robert G. Kimball, an early pioneer, who resided on Bonta Bridge Road south of the village. He was a carpenter by trade. Here he lies, along with his wife, five sons and two daughters. He was predeceased by his wife and most of his children.
    Kimball came here from Rhode Island in 1831 and was a carpenter. He died here on Dec. 2, 1889, when he was 89 years old. His wife, Margaret, died April 23, 1876, at the age of 78. They had three daughters and five sons. Only two sons, Charles M. and John P., survived into adulthood.
    A close-up inspection of the upper part of the monument reveals the structure was carefully constructed of round and smoothly worn stones, probably carefully selected from the shoreline of Lake Ontario, some 12 miles to the north, and hauled to Meridian by wagon. The stones were mortared in patterns by a highly skilled stone mason.
    The monument is now in excellent condition and should stand for generations to come.    The lower part of the monument, which essentially supports the cobblestone portion, consists of four square marble slabs fastened by iron clips forged at a local blacksmith shop. The marble tablets are inscribed with the names of the deceased, including the dates of the Kimball family.
    As far as can be determined, this may be the only cobblestone tombstone in the United States. A spokesperson for the Cobblestone Society Museum in Chili said knows of no other such monument. There are hundreds of cobblestone structures throughout upstate New York, including five houses in the Cato area. But this is the only known cobblestone monument.
    The upper part of Meridian Cemetery, where this monument is located, contains tombstones even older than this one. But in most cases, there are no descendants to care for them. Town governments are responsible for cosmetically maintaining essentially abandoned cemeteries. When old tombstones in old cemeteries are broken, they are frequently thrown into piles to escape the path of mowers, or even hauled away. But this cemetery is well cared for.

                          One-of-a-kind cobblestone cemetery monument in Meridian
                          Cemetery,  north side of Route 370.

Perfectly laid cobblestones on upper part of monument.

Detail of cobblestone artistry at its best.


   Fire in Cato
   Syracuse Journal
   November 25, 1867

    On Friday night, the 15th inst., the dwelling house of Chauncey Stockwell, in the town of Cato, about four miles north of Jordan, took fire, and while they were attempting to get out some things from the house, the roof fell in and enveloped the aged mother and sister in the flames. Rescue was impossible, and the heart-rendering scene of witnessing the devouring his aged parent and sister was endured by the son and his family. After the fire nothing remained of the old lady but her ashes, while her daughter was nearly half consumed. It was a cobblestone house - loss about $5,000 with an insurance of only about $900.


  Cobblestone Building in Victory was 'Select School' for Girls

12027 Route 38, Victory. This structure was used as a school for girls in the 1830s.
  It stands at the south west corner of Route 38 and 370 in the hamlet of Victory.

House is remarkably well preserved considering its age.  There was a ballroom
on the second floor.

                         No guess work over who built it and when.

                                        The Woodford Homestead

Post-Standard, Syracuse
April 26, 1959

We received the following letter from Mr. Gerald J. Parsons, head of the Genealogy and Local History Department of the Syracuse Public Library.

    Possibly your readers would be interested in an old cobblestone house, the Woodford Homestead, in Victory, New York. Situated on the southwest corner of the intersection of Routes 370 and 38 in Victory village, this house was originally built as a school building for the Victory Academy by Joseph Woodford (1797-1876) a prominent resident and prosperous blacksmith of Victory and a son of Solomon Woodford (1751-1808), an early settler of the town of Cato.
    A marble plaque in the front gable of the house reads: "Built by J. Woodford, 1836," and the stones for the house are said to have been brought from Fair Haven in carts drawn by oxen. Mr. Woodford sold this property to the Trustees of Victory Academy on May 15, 1837.
   For some reason, probably default of payment, Joseph Woodford brought suit against the Trustees about 1842, and the property was ordered sold by the Cayuga County Court of Common Pleas. This was done at public auction in Cato June 18, 1842; and Joseph Woodford bought the property, being the highest bidder, and soon after made it his home. As late as 1950 some of his descendants were still living in the house.
    According to some of his grandchildren, the second floor continued to be used as a private school for some years after the family took up residence there. The teacher's platform, which is built in at the front of the second floor between two clothes closets is still there and is framed by a lovely arch.   

                        "Borderline"  cobblestone barn, Coleman Road, Victory. Photo by Glenn Hinchey                                              

                                          A Rural Schoolhouse

This is the former District School house No. 7 of Town of Victory at 1267 Upton Road. Note no stone quoins but the walls are solid.  Although within a few miles of Lake Ontario, it is built of rough  field cobblestones.  The window frames are original. For many years it was the home of the Haas family.


 Old converted school house at 9871 Route 38, between Port Byron 
and Conquest.  Porch and dormers added later.

Cobblestone school house, south side of Route 5 east of Sennett. 
 The Sunday Citizen

Auburn, N.Y., March 2, 1975

                           Former schoolhouse
                     Hope for cobblestone ruin?
  By Irene C. Tallman
A cobblestone ruin, on the road to Syracuse, just east of Sennett, may be restored and emerge as a new entity. Its past life, until 60 years ago, was a country schoolhouse.
    John Haney, executive manager of The Ponderosa, on his way to and from work every day, kept eyeing the weed-grown pile of cobblestones with parts of jagged roofless walls still standing, framing vacant window openings. It struck him that what was left of the ruin could be the start of an attractive home. He bought two adjoining acres when he made the deal for the schoolhouse site, and has cut down some of the wilderness that had all but obliterated the crumbling masonry.
Cobblestone School was built at a cost of $305. The stone came from round about - farmers were glad to get them off their fields and probably helped tote the stone and put up the four walls, 22 feet square, in order to have a place for their children to go for book learning.
    It was done and ready for use in the fall of 1835, and the first teacher was Edward Edmonds of Jericho Road which branches off the Grant Avenue road opposite the school. Edmonds earned $30 teaching there two months that first winter of the school's existence, and boarded himself. He lived on Jericho Road which the school faced. Later he went into the ministry and preached more than 50 years in a Boston Church.
    It depended on how many children a family had in school how much taxes they paid. Taxes were figured on the basis of half a cent per resident, multiplied by the number of children the taxpayer had in school, and multiplied again by the days they attended. In the 1800s, children often went to school only in the wintertime, and stayed home to help with the farm work in spring and fall.
    Records don't reveal how many children one William A. Tanner sent to school in 1863, or how many days they went, but there is still a tax roll that says his taxes that year were $1.05. 
    It was up to the district fathers in those days to kept the "scholars" warm, and every father was expected to furnish half a cord of wood per year for every child he sent to the district school. It had to be good, hardwood, sawed or chopped to fit the pot-bellied stove, and piled neatly in the woodhouse. It was up to the schoolmaster, or the schoolmarm, to keep the fires going, even to start them, so the kids could dry out their snowy boots and mittens when they got there mornings and get warm, but not burn their soles around the sometime red-hot chunk stove. The smell of scorched wool and leather was not uncommon.
    Cobblestone School had many teachers. They changed often in those days; a term was just a few weeks, and teachers seldom stayed more than a few weeks in a school. Mrs. Elsie G. Smith, Sennett town historian, went there to school the spring of 1897 and her teacher was Alia M. Hudson.
    Mrs. Smith says the school was in use until May 1912 when a lack of pupils caused it to close. Part of the district was annexed to the Jericho School District in Brutus, down Jericho Road a little piece from Cobblestone. The rest of it went to Sennett Village School No. 7.
    There may be a few old Cobblestone scholars around somewhere, but there have been no reunions, perhaps ever, and questions probably will go forever unanswered about the country school days of Cobblestone.            

                       Cobblestone Church Once in Martville
 The original Methodist Church in the hamlet of Martville was built in 1841, but was demolished in 1875 because the massive high walls were cracking and the southwest corner became too dangerous. So the church was no longer used. This was much larger than the later one and was located further to the south. Lake stones were used in its construction.
  The corners were constructed of square brown stone quoins. The large windows were of Gothic design. The top panes were leaded to resemble blinds. There was an iron band around the outside of the building on either side of the entry leading to the balcony above. Stairs led to the pulpit in the opposite end of the church.
   A bench stretched across the back and the pulpit was lighted on the sides by large kerosene lamps on pedestals. Pews were rented, the proceeds going for the support of the church.

   After it became unsafe, services were held on the local schoolhouse until the new church was erected in the 1880s. It was intended to rebuild the old church but this never occurred. The timbers for the new church foundation were taken from the old church. At one time children used them for see-saws. - Cato Citizen, May 12, 1949.


Havens House, 425 State Route 34, Cato, west side, once had a cupola.
A rare Greek Revival "cottage."

Northern-most cobblestone house in Cayuga county, the Jacobs House, is located at 14545 Lake Street, in the village of Fair Haven. It  was built in 1860 of lake-washed red sandstones and has five- course brick quoins. It was built by a local mason by the name of DeMell. For many years it was owned by Peter Van Fleet.

Cobblestone utility shed, Fair Haven State Park. Built in 1930s.The building was constructed of cobblestone, a housing for a concrete pit where an automatically controlled water pump provided water to a tank located at the highest point on the bluff.  The water from this 25,000 gallon tank then became use by both the CCC Camp and park patrons.  In later years a newer, larger—75,000 gallon tank was added, but by a private contractor.  Even later village water was added.”  I will be sending you some more items shortly.

                             The Hager House at 11676 Old State Road, Victory. Made of lake-
                             washed stones, it is a fine example of Neo-Classical design.

                               Old photo of  11676 Old State Road, Victory


                                                                                                    Courtesy Cayuga County Historian

                             South of Cato is the Samuel Rockwell House at 10817 Route 34,
                            built in 1846. Rockwell was a wealthy farmer. A nicely proportioned
                            Greek Revival house with second-story add-ons.


Smothered by under brush are the ruins of this this old farm storage shed or granary
 on an early farm at 2887 Route 31,  Clinton Road, Weedsport, north side. It measures 
15 by 22 feet. This building is a short distance of this lovely old farm-house (below).


9228 Bonta Bridge Road, Town of Cato. Built of field stones Owned in 1855 by
 Samuel Sturges.

                           9228 Bonta Bridge Road, east side, Cato  
                           'Hybrid,' part brick and part cobblestone, Weller Farm,
                           2965 East Brutus  St., north side, Weedsport (Route 31B). 
                           Fine example of Palladian style.

                          Front view of 2965 East Brutus St.,  Weedsport.
                                          Smoke house at 8339 Ball Road, Weedsport
                                         Photo by Glenn Hinchey

                                 Cobblestone Houses in Village of Cato     

                               Conger House, 2587 E.  Main St., Cato, build circa 1853 
                               with field stones. 

                             Savery House, 2512 West Main St., Route 370 is of federal-style
                            architecture. It was owned by Ludah Everts in 1855. Later owner
                            was John Savery who served as a dentist in the Cvil War with the
                            rank of major. He also served as Cayuga County Sheriff, served
                            as a legislator, and Deputy Collector the U.S. Internal Revenue

 2466 W. Main St., Cato    

                       House on Finch's Corners Road, Martville, now gone.

Auburn, N.Y., May 29, 1963

Cobblestone House Tour Scheduled
For Southern Part of County Saturday

    Four cobblestone houses between Wyckoff and Aurora will be visited Saturday, the third annual cobblestone tour, sponsored by the Cayuga Museum of History and Art and the Cobblestone Society of Childs.
   The tour will begin at 1 p.m. and the four houses visited are the Wyckoff-Burlew house overlooking Owasco Lake, the Fordyce-King house just west of Scipio Center, the Reynolds-McHale house on Center Road in Merrifield, and the Allen-VanBuskirk house of Aurora, overlooking Cayuga Lake.
    Several other unusual structures including an octagon house and a Victorian Gothic Church will be inspected from the outside.
                               Refreshments Planned
    Prof.. Walter K. Long, director of the museum, has invited all visitors to return to the museum after the tour for refreshments at about 5 p.m.
   Cobblestone construction was used almost exclusively in the Lake Ontario region of New York State. Because of the high cost and the lost secrets of the trade, no houses of this type have been built since the Civil War. The individuality of the craftsmen can be read in the laying of the cobblestone. It often took over two years to collect the cobblestones from the fields, from the shore of Lake Ontario or from a gravel pit. The stones had to be sorted as to size by running them through an iron ring or a hole in a board.
    Some masons wanted them sorted as to color. Because of the weight of stones and wet mortar, a mason could only lay one two or three courses at a time. Then it had to harden before the next installment could be added.  
                                    Overlooks Lake
    The first home open for the tour is the Wyckoff-Burlew house overlooking Owasco Lake. The living room has a mantel over the fireplace and nice woodwork with narrow double doors into a small bedroom. The dining room also has a fireplace. The house has been in the Burlew family for over a hundred years. It is now owned by Mrs. Henry L. Burlew.
    Just west of Scipio Center four corners Dr. Benjamin Fordyce built his cobblestone house in 1843. He spent two years collecting the stones for this 1 1/2 story house. Wheat was hauled to Lake Ontario and stones brought on the return trip A hundred years later Mr. and Mrs. Morgan J. King purchased the house and have been gradually restoring it. The parlor is Greek Revival in treatment with woodwork in keeping with the size and type of house. The dining room is only a little less elaborate.
    About three miles west of Sherwood is a fine two-story house built by Sylvanus Hussey and his son during the middle 1830s. On the death of his father, John came into the possession in 1838. The John Rafferty family has owned it since 1905. The stones here lack the finished "V" in the vertical joints found in some sections. The house is not open to the tour, but may be studies from the outside.
                                     Van Buskirk house
    The Allen-Van Buskirk house, just north of Aurora and overlooking Cayuga Lake, was built sometime after 1845. It is an example of Victorian, or late cobblestone, with high gables. It was purchased by Dr. Michael Brown Van Buskirk, local physician and member of the Assembly, in the 1870s, and has been in the family since. It will be open for inspection. It is occupied by Mrs. J. H. Van Buskirk and Mrs. Gregory Van Buskirk.
    North on Route 90 north of Cayuga is the combination brick-cobblestone Morris-Traver house. It is said to have been built entirely of cobblestones but the mortar deteriorated and the front was replace by brick. The house is not open.
    South of Sherwood is a two-story eight sided, or Octagon house built in 1856 by C. Young, a spiritualist. It is a frame house with exterior walls built up solid with one inch thick boards laid flat. The exposed foundation wall from the grade to the wood still is faced with cobblestones. In the rear of this property is an unusual six-sided out-house. The house may be studied from the outside.
    Three miles further south is an example of Greek Revival architecture. A four-column portico with a pediment projects from the front wall. The exposed basement wall is faced with cobblestones.
    In Scipio Center there is an example of a Victorian Gothic country church of frame construction with wooden buttresses.
                             The Wycoff Farm

                           4619 Wyckoff Road, Auburn. Classic Greek Revival.

                            Pleasing to the Eye

                        Greek Revival Ozem Merrifield House,  2345 Center Road, 
                        near Scipio Center north side,  built in 1842.

                           Same house in 1935 when occupied by Virtue Loveland. 
                           Photo by Jane Searing.

                       House at  906 Sherwood Road built in 1835 by Sylvanus 
                       Husey, an early settler. Note the original windows on the
                       top floor. It is mentioned in the following account written 
                       by David Thomas.

New Genesee Farmer
Volume 2 No. 5, 1841

    The first cobblestone buildings that I remember to have seen were at Pittsford in Monroe County, nearly twenty years ago, and from the rude appearance of the work at that time, I have supposed the art was then in its infancy, but perhaps some gentlemen of that neighborhood will furnish a sketch of its history.
    About six years ago, the first building of that description was erected in this quarter, one mile east of Aurora, and in my opinion the walls are more beautiful than brick. The beauty of such structures however, will mainly depend on the size and color of the stone, though the color of the sand will have an influence.
    If the sand and stone are both dark colored, the building will have a lurid aspect; for the proportion of lime in the mortar (one-eighth or one-ninth) is too small to whiten it sufficiently, but if the sand is a light gray, the contrast of the colors with dark stone, will be pleasing.
    Cobblestones of any size not exceeding six inches in diameter may be used, but for the regular courses on the outside those of two inches in diameter should be preferred. Small stones give the building a much neater aspect. Two inch stones are very neat, though three inch stones will answer. The inside rows of stones may be twice as large as those on the outside.
    The mortar is composed of one bushel of fresh stone lime to eight or nine bushels of clean sharp sand. As the strength of the building depends on the goodness of the mortar,  it is very important that sand of the first quality should be obtained. Yellow sand or any sand that contains clay should be rejected. Gray sand is sometimes found so pure as not to discolor the water into which it is thrown, and such should be procured if possible.
   Mortar that has been made some weeks is generally preferred. Some masons are particular to reduce the lime to a thin paste, and then while it is hot to apply the sand. The thickness of the wall is sixteen inches, though twelve inches will answer very well for the gable ends above the garret floor.
    When the foundation, or cellar wall is leveled and prepared, a layer of two (or two and a half) inch of mortar is spread over it, and the stones are pressed into the mortar in two rows which mark the outside and inside of the wall, leaving about an inch between each adjoining stone in the same row. If the wall is to be grouted, the two rows are formed into two ridges by filling the vacancy between the stones with mortar, and the space between these two ridges (about a foot in width) is filled with such stones as are not wanted for the regular courses. The grout is then applied. If the wall is not to be grouted however, the mortar should be carefully pressed round every stone, making the wall solid without flaw or interstice. When one course is leveled, begin another.
    Between every two adjoining courses on the outside some have the mortar to project as far out as the stone, in a regular line round the building. It is wrought to an edge with the trowel, and adds to the neatness as well as to the strength of the wall; for during the process the mortar is pressed round each stone; and the smoother it is made, the stronger it will be, and the better will it resist disintegration.
    It has generally been the practice to have the corners formed of cut stone; but in a two story building erected last season within a few miles of us, this expense was avoided by rounding the corners and using cobblestones. The stone is not the only saving by this plan, however, much of the masons time is consumed in laying such corner stone.
    On the first mentioned building, the workman were employed by day. Four walls, amounting to 146 feet in length, were commonly raised eighteen inches every day by three masons. This is a little short of 99 cubic feet of wall or six perches to each workman. Sometimes in damp weather they had to stop a while for mortar to set.
    The building erected last season was constructed for by the perch at 37-1/2 cents, and half of this sum additional, was allowed for the tender. The walls, however, were grouted - that is, all the interstices between the stones were filled with liquid mortar; and this substance must have more time to set. For this reason no more than three courses a day can be laid in dry weather; and not any when it is showery.
    It requires from ten to twelve bushels of sand to a perch besides the lime when made into mortar; and cobblestones lie in a heap when thrown from the wagon about as compactly as they do in a wall.
    If cobblestone buildings are as cheap as wood, as one of those proprietors believe, they will be much cheaper in the long run; and this will be evident when we consider the frequent paintings which are necessary to keep a frame house in decent repair.
    P. S. Since writing the above, I have received two communications from persons who have had cobblestone houses erected. One says, "The thickness of the wall is measured from the outside of the stones. Pieces of timber, 4 x 6 inches and two feet long, are used for setting the lines. These lines are laid in the courses just finished, and the line is drawn through saw-cuts just 16 inches apart."
    The other says, "the cost of cobble is about 1/6 th less than brick; and probably 1/4 or 1/3 less than wood, - on the supposition that the stone may be laid within a mile, and sand within two and one-half miles." It must be evident, however, that the expense of cobble, brick, wood and stone, must differ considerably in different places, according to the prices of those materials and the distance they have to be carried. - "Alb. Cultivator D. T. Greatfield Cayuga County."


                                Looking Out on Cayuga Lake

                   Another "hybrid"at 3100 Route 90, east side, north of Cayuga.

                         American Gothic
                       Van Buskirk House  
              (3100 Route 90, east of highway)

The Allen-Van Buskirk House on Route 90 just north of Aurora is an interesting  example of the late "Gothic Cottage" cobblestone period, built ca. 1850 by a man named Allen. Built of red, water-rounded cobbles. The owner, Dr. M.D. Van Buskirk, at right, served in the Civil War. He resided here many years.

                              Views From the Top (Same Place)
                                   By Bill Hecht


                          Avery House, 1660 Route 34B, Ledyard

  Nicely restored Howland Stone Store in Sherwood, Route 34b, east side, is now a museum.   In 1837 Slocum Howland built this store in Sherwood, a crossroads hamlet between Cayuga and Owasco Lakes. Cayuga Lake gave it easy access to the Erie Canal.  Our collection details the sale of local products such as wool and pork, and importation of manufactured products.  The store was built from small stones  picked up in local fields.
 The Howland family was prominent in important reform movements throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth century, particularly in the abolition of slavery, education, and women's suffrage. A prized Museum possession is an Underground Railroad pass brought by two slaves who escaped from Maryland and came to Slocum Howland (1794-1881) seeking freedom in 1840. 
 Miss Emily (1827-1929) first taught in schools for free blacks in Washington, D.C. in 1857. In addition to building a school in Sherwood, she founded and financially supported fifty schools for the emancipated blacks, teaching in several of them.
   Both Emily and her niece, Isabel (1859-1942), were active in the local, state and national women's suffrage movements; we have posters and other memorabilia representing their efforts. A "Cabinet of Curiosities," collected by the Howlands on their travels, includes everything from Arabian jewelry to coral from Capri.
  In 2008, the organization acquired Opendore, which was Isabel's home. It is being renovated as an expanded part of the museum. They have interesting programs throughout the year. For further information go to their website at:

                                                     Rear entrance to Old Stone Store

                           Ruins of cobblestone foundation in rear of Howland Stone
                           Store in Sherwood. Photo by the late Ward O'Hara in 1991.

                            2726 Center Road, Scipio Center, south side.

                           Another brick-cobblestone house at 4046 Wyckoff Road.

                            Smoke-house at 4046 Wyckoff Road, east side.

                          745 Putnam Lane, Venice Center

                        Old meat market, south side of Route 90 in village of Genoa 
                        as it appeared in 1987. The cobblestone wall has since been
                        stuccoed over and is no longer visible. Walls are 18 inches 
                       thick. At the time photo was taken by the late Ward O'Hara
                       the cobblestone wall was in disrepair. It was last used as a
                       butcher shop by Kenneth Brill. 


                            2599 Route 34, west side, Poplar Ridge, octagon house with
                            cobblestone foundation.

The Cobblestone Inn, Route 38, south of Locke, was located near the Tompkins County line. Built in the 1920s in the Arts and Crafts tradition, it began life as a hotdog stand in the 1920s and later became a roadside bar. In his book "Cayuga Cobblestones," Ward O'Hara wrote: "This so-called Cobblestone Inn never was an institution of culinary delights." Photo taken in 1991. It was demolished and a new structure was built.

                              CHEMUNG COUNTY

           "The Cobbles," 15 East Cobbles St., Elmira
This large cobblestone house, along East Cobbles Street in Elmira, was built ca. 1838-40 for Judge Hiram Gray.  It is the only known cobblestone house in Chemung County and only one of three in the Southern Tier region of New York State. 

Michael Devlin said he is only the fourth owner since the house was built. He said he spent more than 10 years restoring it and expanded it from 6.600 to 7,400 square feet. "But I did my best to keep the original integrity of the home."  We think Judge Gray would be justly proud.

"The Cobbles" in the 1880s (Chemung County Historical Society)

Judge Hiram Gray and his wife,  Aurelia (Covell) Gray,  enjoy some time together on the porch of "The Cobbles" in 1889. At the time he was 87 and she was 78.  They had been married 58 years. They lived in a tenement house on the property while the house was being constructed. It was very well built. They had four children and are buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira. (Chemung County Historical Society).

In the 19th century country living had its charm. Judge Gray commuted in his horse drawn carriage back and forth to the county courthouse in downtown Elmira. After his death his wife continued to reside there, but finally in 1904 she sold the entire property which was subdivided into building lots.  The house was sold to Charles Myers and remained in that family until his wife died in 1963.

Judge Hiram Gray supervised construction of "The Cobbles." Portrait dated 1879. He was born in Salem, Washington County, New York on July 20, 1801 and died in Elmira on May 6, 1890. He was an 1821 graduate of Union College where he studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1823 and came to Elmira to practice law in 1824. He married Arelia Covell, daughter of Robert Covell, a merchant and early settler of Elmira.  He represented the 22nd District in the 25th Congress in 1837-39. He was appointed Circuit Judge and Vice Chancellor for the state's Sixth Judicial District. Then he served three terms as Justice of the New York State Supreme Court until 1860, His last public office was as Commissioner of Appeals from 1870 to 1875. Until well into his 80s he continued to practice law.

Michael Devlin, who has painstakingly restored the house, lives there with his family. Here is his story:
 I was born and raised here and have always known of the house-I wrote numerous letters to the Congregation Shomra Haddath begging them to sell me the house before it was too late.  The house was in major disrepair. So they actually got back to me after several attempts were made to sell the house. They had had  multiple offers. It came down to me and another person. That person was going to tear it down and build town homes as it has such a large parcel.
     So I had to up my price for the house and went to the town of Elmira. I had gotten letters of recommendation from all the neighbors as the Congregation wanted to know my intentions were. So I had to appear before the Congregation board  and plead my case. They eventually sold me the house. It had been converted in the early 1970's to a multi-unit house. They still had the blueprints from when it was converted so I was able to put it back the way it originally was. They were smart and buried the fireplaces in the walls. So they were all their-well at least 10 of the original 14 were still here. As for the building itself it was vacant for almost 30 years. 
    Every pipe was froze and broke so it sustained water damage to some of the rooms and the kitchen. It had its original purple slate roof on it when we bought it. But since it hadn't been touched in 30 years it couldn't be saved. The original yankee gutters could not be saved. We re-wired and re-plumbed the house, including a new roof and state of the art dual boiler heating system. 
  All the hardwood floors were refinished along with the trap door in the dining room floor that goes to an enclosed tiny room in the basement that was used during the 1800s for the Underground Railroad. The house originally had a cobblestone smokehouse out back along with a cobblestone tack house. They were gone a long time ago. The original servant quarters are the house on the corner and the original barn was parceled off to the house on cobbles west and was torn down last year.
   We found remnants of the original smoke house when we dug for the in-ground pool and foundation for our pool house. It actually had a foundation the we found. There is an attached garage that goes into the house. That's the original carriage house and is completely cobbles with ceilings that are 30 feet high.
   The house has a full basement with the same basic floor-plan of the first floor including fireplace. That fireplace is brick as is the one in the kitchen-the rest are various marble. Some are white marble and some are tiger marble. Look at the windows on the wrap around porch They used to be a three- tier window that would slide up into the walls and they went to the floor originally. They would open them up back in the old days.  From what I understand when Judge Gray built the house any celebrity or dignitary would stay at this house as his guest. I also believe the judge and his wife both passed away in the home. 
   There are no living heirs to the Gray estate. The daughter lived the longest and never married or had children. He had two sons and I know one died of some kind of plague in the mid 1800's. Also the original concrete blocks that  used to mount the horses are still on the property.  There are photos in the 1800's showing theses blocks. I took down 36 trees from the grounds when I purchased it and due to the rotting wood I installed Hardi fiber siding on the half.
   But  the trim and shutters and first floor windows are all original to the property. The stone retaining wall you see is the original driveway to the property. We removed it and blacktopped but repurposed the blocks into the wall.
   I was told that driveway was installed in the late 1800's.  Also I had to rebuild the entire wrap around porch due to neglect. All bathrooms and kitchen were replaced. The original verandas on each side are original to the home as well.
   The Myers sold the house to a Dr. Burke in 1968 who in turn they sold it to the Synagogue somewhere around 1972-73. They used it for the rabbis and for religious  schools Then they just let it go and didn't fix anything or do any repairs. They did nothing. -I have quite a bit of money into it-but if I counted my labor it would be over the top-I did all the renovations myself. Everything except the roof. I also built that pool house out back which is another 1, 100 square feet.
    My father in law and I removed the driveway and replaced it. I had another friend help me with wiring and 1 other guy and myself did everything else including kitchens baths tile sheet rock woodworking floor refinishing, heating, plumbing-otherwise I would have 10 times the amount I have into it If I had to include my labor into the calculation. At the present time we are talking about selling it.b

   But we’re in the early stages. We have had a few offers on it But the time is coming and I'm just tired and getting older. These houses require a lot of upkeep-especially when the house itself its 7, 400 square feet and the 1,100 square feet on the pool house and inground pool . I also own another 42 apartments in the area--and I do all renovations on them as well

                        Detail of stonework that encircles three sides of the house which 
                        is built of water-rounded cobblestones of various colors and sizes.

                               CHENANGO COUNTY

                               This is the only known cobblestone house in Chenango County,
                               built in 1850  by the Billings family in the town of Smyrna.
                               It is located at 630 County Route 14  but appears to have been
                               long vacant. It was a show place in its day.  The Billings
                               family were early settlers in this area.                      

                               The Billings house during the 19th century. 
                                                         Courtesy of Robert L. Matteson, Smyrna Town Historian

                    The house is currently being restored by Joanna Mulas.
Rear of Billings cobblestone house
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                           This house is stylistically an extremely rare example of  the
                           Regency Gothic style of architecture with its Gothic 
                           columns and wavy Gothic cornice trim with tiny pendants, 
                           on a Greek frieze with Greek acanthus leaf patterns. This 
                           was a style popularized in Britain by the great architect
                           John Nash in his cottage designs (1790 to 1835). His 
                           designs  may have come over to New York State with
                           the wave of British trained architects migrating here in
                           the 1820s-1840s. 


Unitarian Universalist Church in Cortland
   Cortland County has four cobblestone structures, two of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Best known of these is the Universalist Church at 3 Church St., Cortland, built in 1837 and placed on the National Register in 1992. The church is reputed to have been a link in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War. 
  The church was officially organized in 1835. The stones for this, the oldest church building in Cortland County, primarily came from the properties of church members.  It has cobblestone walls and granite quoins. Interestingly, the then village of Cortlandville contributed $100 towards its construction so it could use the basement to conduct business. It did so for 45 years.
   Many famous people lectured here including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Thomas Starr King, William Lloyd Garrison, Theodore Parker, Henry Ward Beecher, Wendell Phillips, Lucretia Mott and Clara Barton. It is one of only 21 surviving cobblestone churches in New York State.
   In 1895, a large arch was cut in the east cobblestone wall and a Morey and Barnes organ was set in the arch. It is only one of two such historic organs in existence. It is nationally recognized by the American Organ Historical Society for its superb sound quality and nearly original condition.
   Due to deterioration the bell tower or belfry, as well as the bell itself, were removed in 2016. The church is hopeful of rebuilding the tower as financial conditions permit.

                                         View showing detail of south wall of church

Cortland Democrat
March 16, 1956

                               The Cobblestone Church
                                          By Frank Place

   Have you ever looked closely at the Cobblestone Church, just as an example of the builder's art? Even to a layman (here meaning one who is neither builder nor architect) there are interesting points to be seen.
   Examination of the stonework shows more than just mason-work. Design appears even in the laying of the cobbles, where one finds a row of flat cobbles set 45 degrees to the left of the vertical. Then, too, the occurrence of these herringbone strips is regular for some distance up the wall; then come bands of several courses of herringbone pattern.
    The corners show architectural care in the laying the shale quoins, locking into the wall to the right and left alternately. The water-table is also of stone, also shale, though as all these have been painted over the kind of stone is uncertain. On each side of the door appears in the middle of the space a large diamond-shaped arrangement of flat cobbles, these set parallel to each other in each segment of the diamond.
    The fact that the porch wash an afterthought. Another point in the same class is that inside the porch over the double door there is an inscription that usually escapes the visitor's attention. On the long lintel one can read with difficulty these words:"Holiness to the Lord, Good Will to All Mankind," and below that a second line: "Universalist Church Erected 1837."
    Grip's Historical Souvenir of Cortland (1899) quotes the building committee that was appointed "to fix upon the size of the house, form and materials of which shall be built, the plan of raising money and the site where it shall stand." The committee reported "that the meeting house be built on the lot offered by Calvin Bishop. That the size of the house be 60 by 44. That the walls be of cobblestone and such other materials as are necessary for the purpose..." Also it agreed "on a level floor, a gallery on three sides, west, north and south, two tiers of windows and a desk in the east end of the house." Construction took place in the same year. The result is a building that belongs in the classical Greek Revival of which the old New England churches are representatives. The church certainly outclasses all others on the street.
    Having this in view every day I began to speculate on the dimensions. It looks as if the width on Church Street was equal to the depth of Elm. I took measurements with a surveyor's tape to show me that it was substantially as planned.
   The addition of the porch and the transformation of the interior took place in 1889 (as I gather from news items). Other people remember the gallery and plain bench-pews; whether the present interior is an improvement is a question. No doubt the hall is more easily heated in its present vaulting, but it is something of a shock to get the impression of a theater from the rows of chairs. The two rows of windows are still there as intended but the upper row is now a blind, or blinds. 
   The Romanesque archway of the porch was never in the mind of the original architect. The church bell was formerly in the belfry of the old Presbyterian church which was a fair companion of this church building, though of wooden construction. This bell has the highest pitch of the four that we sometimes hear ringing in sequence.
    While speaking of cobbles we find almost no similar buildings in this area. The Randall farm-house off South Main Street and the cooperage-vinegar factory, Homer, acre the only ones now extant, as far as I know.  The old Cobblestone School, across the street from this church, was of simpler design and construction, but of the same date. The shale, or stratified stones of the quoins, is to be found in any quarry hereabouts. The cobbles are the bequest of I. A. Glacier who moved some thousands of years ago.

    These few observations are confined to the building itself. It may be possible to have an extended story of the church as an organization at some future date.

                                The Old Cobblestone School in Cortland

                     Randall Farm, 3713 Page Green Road, Cortland

  This 12-acre property was placed on the National Register in 2000. It consists of an early 19th century cobblestone farmhouse and old farm buildings. The dormers, two-story porch with porticos and other additions were made about 1920.
   The farm was established in the 1820s by William Randall who came here from Stonington, Conn. At that time Cortland was just a small village. He created a distillery and ashery as well as the farm. He established the Randall Bank and was involved in numerous business ventures.
    One of the Randall children, William Randolph Randall, resided in the cobblestone house until inheriting his father's grander house on Main Street in 1859, He also became president of his father's bank. The farm was then operated by the Cole family. William Bell inherited the farm upon Randall's death in 1901. It was then sold in 1912.
  It was purchased by Miles J. Peck in 1919 who initiated numerous improvements. These included a mission-style playhouse for his children. Since 1951 it has been owned by the Little family.
  The house is of the Federal style of architecture with a center hall plan and a distinctive raised basement story. Each quoin brackets three to four courses of cobbles, generally corresponding with has has been identified as the Early Period in cobblestone architecture in New York State.
    Although several windows were updated at the end of the 19th century with two-over-two light sash units, many twelve-over-twelve and eight-over-eight sash windows remain. Original interior features include the center hall plan, period door and window casings, a cooking fireplace and oven in the basement, and early cabinetry in the pantry.


                                                     Harmony Grange Hall
Harmony Grange No. 272 at  3337 Kellogg Road was built over an old  cobblestone school house in 1895 purchased from Wayland and Jennie Spencer for $275. The school had been abandoned for some time. The new Grange hall was dedicated on Oct. 30, 1903. The new portion was built over the top of the school house and extended to the north. Harmony Grange was discontinued in 2008. The building has since been sold. This was the oldest Grange organization in Cortland County, having been formed in 1876.

Harmony Grange Hall as it appeared in the 1950s.

Harmony Grange Hall today. The cobblestone portion which
 was the old school is clearly visible.

                               The Blodgett Mills cobblestone school house as it appeared when 
                               it was still in use.

                                     The cobblestone portion of Harmony Grange
                                     Hall in Blodgett Mills is rapidly deteriorating.

                           The first floor of this house at 3121 Clute Road, west side,
                           is constructed of multi-colored field cobblestones.  In earlier
                           times it was known as the Takaph House.
                  Cobblestone House Once Stood in Harford

                                           The old Heaton House in the early 1900s

                                                           Harford Town Historian

                                               As it Appeared in 1930

                                        By 1972 it was long abandoned

                                                                 Detail of window pane.

                                                                 Detail of sidewall

                                                             Old Dutch oven in basement.

 Prior to being sold to Cornell University this house and farm were owned by the
 Cottrell family and was used as a tenant house .  It was demolished in 1973.
                                                                             Photos courtesy of Cortland County
                                                                                                   Historical Society
    In 1973, one of the few cobblestone houses in Cortland County fell victim of Cornell University’s plans to establish a massive farm operation in the Town of Harford. It had been neglected for years and didn’t fit into the scheme of things. Built by Nathan Heaton, an early pioneer, it was located at 565 Daisy Hollow Road.
    The house, a few miles south of Dryden, was on land purchased by Cornell University for development of its farms. The house had been unoccupied for years, and had fell into a state of disrepair before the sale. It had been ravaged by vandalism. With windows broken and doors left open, snow, wind and rain accelerated deterioration.
    One of only five cobblestone structures in Cortland County, it was built by pioneer Nathan Heaton between the time he moved to Daisy Hollow in 1824 and the year he died, 1841. He is buried in Harford Cemetery.
    These and other facts were the result of research done by Mary Louise Dexter of Cortland. She discovered an 1855 map showing the house as the only cobblestone structure in Harford as the property of Edward Mulks.
    Mulks purchased it from James Hart Heaton, son of Nathan, in 1853. He paid $4,000 for 103 acres with buildings and appurtenances. 
    In the fall of 1970, Larry Doe of Dryden, a Cornell University employee, became curious about the old house. He took photographs and made a limited inquiry without learning much background. He then contacted historian Barbara Bell,  a reporter at the Ithaca Journal, for ideas. It took only a brief checking to determine no written history of the house existed.
    Starting with the former owner, retired farmer Clyde Cotterill of Dryden, with the assistance of others,  Bell compiled names of former owners and old-timers who might know something about the house. Also contacted was Ray Rockefeller of Dryden, an a local historian, and other older local residents. area. 
   Bell said, "We checked libraries and made telephone calls to 30 or more persons   We wrote to many people and visited some, and with Rockefeller we visited the house itself. 
   "We were able to trace direct ownership back for 80 years or so and collected a number of comments from the memories of former residents of Daisy Hollow. But it wasn’t until Miss Dexter delved back into the records that concrete information about the years before 1900. Miss Dexter first checked the 1855 census for Harford and found one, and only one, cobblestone structure listed - a house (No. 144) valued at $600 and owned by 35-year-old Edward Mulks meant a search of old deeds. Nowhere was the actual construction date recorded."
    Nathan Heaton settled in Harford Mills in 1807 while it was still part of the Town of Virgil. He built the first grist mill there between 1814 and 1820. It was in use as long as he lived, and afterward was used as a shed for a newer mill, built by John C. Davis in 1841. In 1824, 1828 and 1829 Heaton purchased two parcels of land totaling 103 1/2 acres in Lots 71 and 72, on both sides of what is now Daisy Hollow Roa. The first purchase included the parcel where the cobblestone house was built.  Heaton married  Susan Luana Hart. Their first child was James Hart Heaton, born about 1818. They also had three daughters, Caroline, Luana and Adaline.   
    Public-spirited, Heaton was on a three-member committee appointed to purchase land and erect a building for the Union Church of Virgil Flats.  He was elected a New York State Assemblyman in 1840, but died while still in office, on April 19, 1841. He left no will and in June, 1841, his widow relinquished her right to the estate to her son, James, and a neighbor, Daniel Phillips. 
    Heaton’s home, though unusual in this area for choice of materials, greatly interested architectural historians. There were some rows of stones laid in herringbone pattern and at least two rows of elongated cobbles in one side wall between the first and second stories. The cobblestones obviously were not sorted and used by size as photos show large, medium and small ones mixed throughout.
  Before the cobblestone house was sold to Cornell University it belonged to and was occupied by Harry Robinson. Before that in order owners were Austin Gilbert, Albert Richardson, a man named Howe whose daughter was Mrs. Henry Patch of the Harford area;  Clarence Conrad, Luther Holden and his father, Ben Holden.  Mrs. Herbert Tyler of West Brookfield, Mass., wrote that she lived in the house from 1929 to 1932 and papered and painted every room. She was a member of the Richardson family.
  Mrs. Leland Burch of Dryden said she often visited the Holdens at the cobblestone house. Her father was born and raised nearby and was a friend of the tenants of that day. Mrs. Holden always had big red geraniums flowering on the broad windowsills, Mrs. Burch recalled. Luther Holden was all, well-built and pleasant, “probably 45 or 50 years old.”  
  It was unlikely the house would be restored. The natural wear of the ages, hurried by vandalism and open to the weather, made it  impractical. It was just  standing in the way of progress. But Mary Dexter termed it “a unique legacy from the past.”
 (This story was compiled from several sources including one  by Barbara Bell published in the Ithaca Journal on April 17, 1971 entitled A Cobblestone Landmark ; a historical paper tracing the history of the house by Mary Dexter for the Cortland County Historical Society;  Harford Cobblestone House is Rarity in Cortland County, Cortland Standard, April 8, 1971).      


                           Several houses in the Cortland area have cobblestone
                           foundations, including the Cortland County Historical 
                           Society on Homer Avenue carelessly covered with red paint.

                                                   GENESEE COUNTY   

                         This three-story building at 3323 Church St., Alexander,
                          is thought to be the only three-story cobblestone structure
                          in the U.S. It was constructed in 1837 as Genesee Classical
                          Seminary by Hezekiah Barnard with funding from the
                          Literary Society of the Alexandrian Library. It served as a
                          school for 101 years. It is currently the Alexander Town
                         Hall. The local historical museum is on the third floor
                         It is a fine example of New England Georgian style
                         including the "widow's walk" and Georgian lantern.

                                     Baron House,  7175 Route 5, LeRoy.                             

                                       Sherman-Brown House 

Federal style Sherman House-Brown House, 9970 Alexander Road (Route 98) Alexander. Built for Moses Page in 1837 of field cobbles. The farm was sold to Sherman Hammond in 1866.  It is a "Century Farm" of the New York State Agricultural Society, having been in the Brown family continuously since 1877.  The Century Farm plaque is proudly displayed on the front lawn.Photos by Larry Warren.

Thomas Cogswell  House, 11231 Maplewood Road, Attica.  This is a very early cobblestone house with two unique wings. Note the uneven sized cobblestone, lack of straight lines , uneven quoins and rough limestone framing of the doors and windows.

Believe it or not this started life in 1835 as a one-room schoolhouse. It is located at 3385 Dodson Road, Alexander. It's been heavily renovated over the years. Photos by Larry Warren.

                                               HERKIMER COUNTY

265 Skaneateles Turnpike, West Winfield

                   Note deep window sills common with cobblestone houses.                


                              District 3 (Schuyler) cobblestone school house, Route 5, Schuyler, 
                             built 1849. Now  owned by Schuyler Fire Department.

                                                 Date stone on old school house in Schuyler.

8900 South St., Route 51, West Winfield.

8900 South St., Route 51, West Winfield (rear).

Barn on Davis farm, 654 Route 20, West Winfield (east side).  Built 1849.

Barn on Davis farm, 654 Route 20, West Winfield. Built 1849.

                             Lee Palmer Armstrong law office, 390 West Main Street, West Winfield.

Winfield District No. 9 School, built 1856. Route 51, Cedarville.

South side view of school house.

Date stone on school house in Cedarville.


                                   Cobblestone School District #7 was located on the
                                   Sandy Creek-Ellisburg Road southwest of the village
                                   of Mannsville in the town of Ellisburg. The district
                                   was merged with Mansville Central School District 
                                   about 1930 and the building was subsequently
                                   demolished. - Photo courtesy of Historical Society
                                   of South Jefferson.


                                      LIVINGSTON COUNTY

  Dean - Root house, 3466 Route 5, Caledonia

1451 River Road, Caledonia

Facing north  


                       Facing south

                     Facing west


                Old store,  2682 Route 36, York

                     3678 Main St., Greigsville
                          Gilmore Mansion at Piffard

The James Gilmore House at 3016 River Road, Piffard, was built about 1840. Over the years it has mistakenly referred to as the Judge Moses Hayden House. But this is not possible as Hayden died Feb. 14, 1828. After his death the property was sold to Gilmore who later built the house. Hayden was First Judge of Livingston County. It is said the stones for the house were collected from along nearby Salt Creek and were carefully graded for uniformity by passing them through a beetle ring for sizing. The Abbey acquired the property in the 1950s from the Gilmore family.  It was uses as a priests' retreat house for several years. It has been remodeled and is used as a family guest house or group retreats. It represents both Egyptian and  neo-Classical  architecture. The stately Tudor-style chimneys it once had have been removed. The dormers on the roof are recent additions. It is known as Bethany House.

                             Facing east

                                       Facing south


                        Smoke house at the rear of house


 Wadsworth house, 4907 West River Road,  (Route 256),
 Geneseo, built 1849

    The Coverdale House at 2049 Coverdale Road, Leicester,  was 
      completed in 1837. It has been restored. It is of Greek Revival 
      architecture. It has been completely restored and refinished with
      new hardwood floors, thermal pane windows, new porches, etc. 
      The house includes a 1-1/2-story kitchen wing and a one-story
      cobblestone and frame carriage shed. It was placed on the 
      National Register in 2005.   A "widow's walk"  was reconstructed
      top the main portion of the house in 2010.

                                              Rear addition of the house

                   Historical marker in front of house

   The Sliker farm house at 8050 Sliker Road, just west of the village 
   of Conesus was built in the 1830s  a mix of field and water-
   rounded stones. It was placed on the National Register in 2006.

  This house at 6857 Heath-Markham Road, Lima, was built in 1832. 
   It was placed on the National Register in in 1989 and includes
   several 19th and early 20th century out buildings.

                       5084 Lake Road, town of Livonia

   Ganoung farmhouse at 2798 Poplar Hill Road, Lima, was built
   of field stones in the 1830s. It is of Greek Revival style and includes 
   a 19th-century carriage barn. It was placed on the National Register
   in 1989.


                    6054 Morris Road, Groveland 

      This house at 7192 Route 5 and 20 in the village of Lima
       was built in 1836.  For a time it was used as a school house.

                                               The Barnard House
    Located on West Main Street in the village of Lima, this cobblestone residence was built in 1836 for the Rev. John Barnard, then pastor of the Lima Presbyterian Church. The house combines elements of Federal and Greek Revival, along with late 19th century Queen Anne style additions. 
    The semi-elliptical wooden louvered fan with cut stone surround in the front gable end is typical of of the Federal style of architecture, waning in popularity in the mid-1830s when then house was built, the entrance with fluted pilasters, corner blocks and there part top the home's gable end to the street orientation, and the use of rectangular cut stone lintels are all characteristic of the Greek Revival architectural style, growing in popularity in the 1830s, when the wrap around porch with spindled frieze and the shingles, two-story wing are representative of the Queen Anne style, in vogue in Lima in the 1880s and 1890s.
    The home is also architecturally significant as an example of the cobblestone technology, especially popular in the Lake Ontario Plain and Finger Lakes Region of New York State from 1825 to 1860s. The cobblestones in the front wall are primarily red sandstone fieldstone's, but also include scattered round and oval lake-washed stones. Corner quoins are squared sandstones, as are the four-inch thick window sills and nine-inch high lintels.
    The house is significant historically for its association with Rev. Barnard. Born in Bolton, Worcester County, Massachusetts, he spent most of his youth in Rome, N.Y. Barnard graduated from Union College in 1813 and then went to Princeton Theological Seminary. He was first licensed to preach by the Oneida Association of the Congregational Church in 1816. After spending two years in missionary work in the Rome area as his father was in ill health, he came to Lima in 1818 to preach five sermons, although he was obligation to a church in Waterloo.
   When he heard a friend wished to go to the Waterloo church instead, he chose to remain in Lima. In 1819, Rev. Barnard was ordained and installed as pastor of the Charleston Congregational Society (later to become the Lima Presbyterian Church). He served as pastor of the church for 38 years and as clerk of the Ontario Presbytery for 50 years. 
    He was so well liked he was known to his fellow ministers as "John the Beloved." Although Reverend  Barnard  purchased this property from Ashel Warner, a record of his life prepared by Joseph Page states he built his "pleasant cobblestone in 1836." After Barnard's death in 1872, the family continued to live in the home until 1879. In 1902, the house was purchased by Schuyler Gillette and remained in the Gillette family until 1967.

    Schuyler Gillette was an inventor and entrepreneur who founded the Gillette Bottling Works, a  manufacturer of soft drinks. His products were shipped within a large radius of Lima and his customers even included hotels and restaurants in New York City. Gillette also invented a bottle washing machine which was distributed by the Bailey Engine Company in the 1880s. Gillette's wife, Minnie Markham Gillette, daughter of Augustus Markham, was owner of the cobblestone Markham house.

  This home at 6870 Route 5 and 20,  Lima, the Morgan House was 
built in 1832 for Jasper Marvin. It was placed on the  National Register 
in 1989. Decorative arch fan is over front door entrance. In 1852 it 
was the David Olney residence. It was sold to William Cook in 1855.
For many years it was owned by the pioneer Morgan family and 
served as a tenant house.     

    District school house #6, 6679 Jenks Road, 
Lima,  built in 1843 of field stones.

    The Livingston County Historical Society Museum at 30 Center St.,
    Geneseo, was built as School District #5 in 1838 on land donated by 
    the Wadsworth family. It has been a museum since 1932 when the
    school moved to a new facility. It is built in the shape of a Greek Cross. 
    It is within the Geneseo National Historic Landmark District. 


        House on Hartford Estate off Route 39, Geneseo

      These two houses at Nunda may have been constructed by 
      the same builder. They both have limestone courses above
      the cellar windows which is an uncommon feature. The sizes
      and types cobbles and quarried stone are similar.
      The house in Oakland appears to have been built earlier,
      but the  mansard roof is much later. Neither appear to have their
      original windows. The house in Oakland has smaller windows.


                            House at 45 East St., Nunda, built for Quartus Barron ca.  1840. He
                            was a contractor on the Genesee Valley Canal. 


                                         9269 Fitch St., Oakland


                              The Bethnel Payne house at 5813 Federal Road, Conesus,
                              was completed in 1838. It was purchased in 1845 by George
                              F. Coe, a widely respected farmer who served as town
                             supervisor for six years. The property remained in the Coe
                             family until 1940 when it was purchased by George Fiedler,
                            an executive of Rochester Gas & Electric Co., who restored it.
                             It was placed on the  National Register  in 2006.

                                Dean-Root House, 3466 Route 5, Caledonia, built
                               circa 1837.



                                       School District #13,  4696 Federal Road,  south of Livonia

                             MADISON COUNTY

A History of the Landmark Tavern 

    The history of the beautiful and historic Landmark Tavern building begins with the efforts to procure a canal route from Binghamton to Utica.  This route would join the coal fields of Northern Pennsylvania with the recently-opened Erie Canal.  The farms, hamlets and villages of the Chenango and Oriskany river valleys, through which the proposed canal was to be constructed, had the potential for great prosperity if this new transportation route were built. The canal would also bisect the Third Great Western Turnpike (today’s Rt. 20), which ran through the hamlet of Johnsville.  Johnsville was later renamed Bouckville.  Johnsville in the 1820’s and 1830’s was a small cluster of homes and businesses, mainly on the eastern end of the hamlet.  The western end of present-day Bouckville (formerly Johnsville) was referred to as a “cedar swamp” in newspaper accounts of the 1820’s.  Farms in the area had originally been established on the hillsides to avoid disease-carrying mosquitos.  The construction of a canal offered the chance to drain the swamps and create lowland farms that could use the rich alluvial soil of the Bouckville area.
                        The Cobblestone Distillery
    When news of the pending passage of the canal bill became known many people began to plan new business ventures along the canal route.  Local farms were producing an abundance of grain and the grain could be sent to market by wagon, but that was a slow and laborious process.  A better way to transport the grain was to process it into whiskey and then send it to market in barrels on the new Chenango Canal.  As a result, a fine cobblestone building was erected c.1837 on the west side of the canal and a distillery was begun. The following is a listing of owners of the distillery at Bouckville as compiled by Matthew Urtz, Madison County Historian. 1847 – Burchard & Edgarton — Distillery — Whiskey (We do not know if they were the original builders of the distillery.  They are the first recorded in the county files. 
   The information for 1847 comes from the record books of Miss Gertrude Edgarton.  In that book was recorded the sale of 30 barrels of whiskey to be sent on the boat “Utica,” to New York City, by way of the Chenango and Erie Canals.) 1855 – John Woodhull — Distillery — Whiskey (John Woodhull installed a rectifier.  In this process, the spirits or liquor goes through repeated distillation.) 1855 – Woodhull & Seawood — Distillery — Whiskey 1859 – William Woodhull & Joseph Forward — Distillery — Whiskey 1865 – William Woodhull & Joseph Forward — Distilling & Malting — Whiskey & Malt Liquor 1867 – The building was purchased from Woodhull & Forward by Horatio S. Brown, John C. Beach and Charles F. Dedrick and converted into a vinegar manufactory. (In 1868, Samuel R. Mott will buy Dedrick’s one-third interest in this firm and will later own the entire operation and convert it into a cider and vinegar firm – the beginnings of the Mott’s product name.)
                                             Cargo Space
    Many of the items destined for Bouckville were received at the dock owned by Moses Maynard and kept in his storehouse along the canal.  However, it soon became obvious that Bouckville needed a place where local citizens could come and trade the goods which they produced in exchange for necessities and other desired items. The push for a new store actually came from Maynard’s wife, Polly, who envisioned a many-sided structure to be built across the road from the “White House.”  When plans were drawn up for the pie-shaped lot, it was realized that only four sides could be built in the available space. A joint-stock company was formed with Moses Maynard as the head of the company and other area investors represented, including James E. and William Coolidge. James D. Coolidge’s son, James E. Coolidge, was to be the architect and chief carpenter for the Cobblestone Store project.  Realizing the limitations of the pie-shaped lot, Coolidge drew up plans for a building that would be truly unique.  The years 1847-1851 were devoted to the planning, gathering of materials and the construction of the building.
                   Building the Cobblestone Structure
    After the set of plans was determined, work on the building began with the digging of the foundation and basement level.  This was a period of pick and shovel work and the digging of such a massive hole must have taken a great deal of time. With the foundation/basement hole completed, a base for the exterior walls was needed before layer after layer of cobblestones could be placed. The base of the foundation and the exterior walls of the basement portion of the building are estimated to be four foot thick. The outside wall of the building had to be perfectly vertical as construction continued, but the inside wall became narrower and narrower until the stone wall at the peak measured 12 to 16 inches wide. 
   This meant that on each floor of the Cobblestone Store, the interior walls would start out tight against the stone and show a wider and wider opening toward the ceiling.  This created a real challenge for the carpenters. At the same time that the stone walls were being raised, the interior was being built by the carpenters. The completed Cobblestone Store building would have a basement area, three distinct floors and a cupola installed on the roof.  Another unique feature of the building is a pair of triangular-shaped windows on the east and west ends of the building.  Decorative and distinctive, they have been a source of conversation for many decades. The complexity and detail of this building is best seen in the construction of the roof.  This can still be seen today when viewed from the unfinished third floor.  Many leading architects have come and studied the construction techniques used by James E. Coolidge and marvel at both the complexity and the ingenuity of his design.  Studying each exposed beam, and the way it was used, one can readily see the supporting function of each.
                          Connecting Stories
     On a board found in the Landmark Tavern building and now on display to the left of the modern tap room: “This window cased by David Douglas Hougham on this 17th day of October 1851.  Four carpenters now work on this house.  Written by D.D. Hougham.  Chartered by Coolidge Brothers & Company, Bouckville.  Isaac Forward and his son, Hougham and Henderson – joiners.  A great day – not a cloud to be seen.  A frosty morning – just the same through the day.” When construction reached the cupola level, Mr. Coolidge used a six-sided design, the entire cupola being about 12 feet wide.  
   Legend states that each side was dedicated to one of the six wives that he married during his lifetime.  His fifth wife was alive during the initial construction of the building but died before the structure reached the height of the cupola.  Coolidge married for a sixth time in 1851 (Mary Coburn Smith) and this may have prompted the six-sided design. You can see the entire area around Bouckville from each of the diamond-shaped cupola windows. The result of four years of labor was a building unlike any other in the U.S.  It has been featured in numerous articles and books and is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places.  Each side of the front of the building is 24 feet wide, for a total of 96 feet of road frontage. 
    The frontage faced the Cherry Valley Turnpike, the Chenango Canal and after 1850, the Rome to Hamilton Plank Road, which ran alongside the canal.  The stores on the ends of the building were rectangular in shape, while the two stores in the middle were more pie-shaped.  It became the first mini-mall of its day with a different type of store eventually occupying each section. Each store entrance can be visibly seen today. The Post Office for Bouckville was housed in the Cobblestone Store for many years and the first telephone exchange for the community was also headquartered there.
                              Owners of the Stone Store 
    1847-1851 – The Cobblestone Store was built. April 1, 1851 – James E. and William Coolidge purchased the building from Moses Maynard and his wife. 1861-1875 – William Coolidge.  By 1861, William had purchased the interest of his brother, James E., in the Cobblestone Store and directed the store enterprise until his death on May 3, 1875. June 14, 1876-1882 – Lewis E. Coe.  The property was sold through the estate of William Coolidge by Joseph W. Forward and Mary J. Coolidge – Executors of the Estate.  Mr. Coe paid $795.00 for the property. February 24, 1883 – Lewis E. Coe and Hurd D. Brockett form a partnership.  This was the locally famous store – Coe & Brockett.  The partnership continued until the death of Lewis E. Coe in 1897. 1897-1911 – H.D. Brockett and Mrs. Coe following the death of Lewis E. Coe. 1911-1940 – Charles M. Coe – He was the son of Lewis E. Coe.  The telephone exchange was located in the Stone Store during this time period.  The manager of the store for many years was Allie F. White, followed by Mrs. J.M. Daniels.  At this time there were also apartments to rent on the second floor. June 28, 1940 – Charles M. Coe to Robert Palmiter and Valerae K. Palmiter.  Mr. Palmiter lived in the building with his family and also ran an antiques business from the premises.  He died in a tragic auto accident in 1968. June 12, 1970 – Valerae K. Palmiter to Andrew B. Hengst, Sr. and Andrew B. Hengst, Jr.  The Landmark Tavern was opened on September 25, 1970. April 8, 1977 – Andrew B. Hengst, Sr. and Andrew B. Hengst, Jr. to Andrew B. Hengst, Sr., Andrew B. Hengst, Jr. and Stephen G. Hengst as joint tenants. 1977 to the present – The Hengst family continues to operate the Landmark Tavern.  This consistency of ownership is evident in the style in which the business is conducted.
                          Safe Haven for Runaway Slaves
    A story told by Brian Palmiter, which had been related by his father, Robert Palmiter, states that the Cobblestone Store had a way to hide runaway slaves during the Civil War time period.  The slaves were supposedly hidden on the Chenango Canal boats by the boat captains.  When the boats docked at Bouckville, the runaways were secreted to the Cobblestone Store and hidden in a cavity just to the right of the fireplace, which is located in the second dining room of the Landmark Tavern. Brian stated that he can remember seeing a panel in that area that could be slid out.  Behind the panel was an opening where a person could stand up and be hidden.  It has been owned and operated as Ye Olde Landmark Tavern and Restaurant by the Hengst family since September, 1970.

Information collected by Jim Ford)

Rome Sentinel, July 20, 1940

Bouckville Man Buys Landmark
Robert Palmiter Takes Over
  Old Cobblestone Store
         On Route 20
    Oneida - Robert Palmiter is the new owner of the old cobblestone store at Bouckville, Route 20.
    The octagonal building was built by Moses Maynard who came from New England to Bouckville in 1800. He built the building 40 years later and during the Chenango Canal and hop-picking days it was a noted meeting place. Maynard also built what is now known as the "White House Hotel."
    After its completion 10 years later, Ira Burham and his son, Linidorf, operated the store, but upon the outbreak of the Civil War, the Burnhams disposed of their business to Deacon William Coolidge, who operated the store until 1875. He also was postmaster.
   Lewis E. Coe was his successor and the Coes owned the property for 64 years. H.D. Brockett became his partner later. Mr. Coe died in 1897, and Brockett carried on until 1911. Charles M. Coe, a son of Lewis, bought Brockett's interest and A.F. White became manager. Later he was succeeded by Mrs. J.M. Daniels.

   Among other buildings of the community during the Cobblestone Store construction was the cobblestone house now occupied by Glenn Washburn, supervisor, and the red brick house, occupied by Mrs. Elsie Washburn.

                                                        View of east wall.

                                                      Cobblestone Hop House 
Stearns/Forward Hop House Town of Nelson 3568 Stearns Road, Erieville. This structure was originally located on the south side of Route 20, just east of the village of Madison. It belonged to G.T. Forward, one of the principal hop growers in the MadisonBouckville area. (The Forward name is stenciled on a post.) Owner and preservation architect Carl Stearns carefully relocated the structure in the mid-1990s. The cobblestones were numbered and relocated accordingly. This structure features a cobblestone kiln and a timber frame processing space. For many years Stearns has presented a program,"The Evolution of a Hop House," at the Annual Madison County Hop Fest. Stearns was crowned the fifth King of the Annual Hop Fest in 2000 for his hop preservation efforts. He was further honored by the New York State Barn Coalition for his rural preservation efforts.                          




899 Route 31, Bridgeport, south side.  This massive cobblestone building two miles east of Bridgeport was once known as the "Stone Tavern." It was built between 1840 and 1850 by Edward H. Damon and included a large farm. A door opening on the second floor suggests there was once a grand portico facing the road that has been removed.  It appears on the 1853 Gurdon Evans Map of Madison county.

           Only cobblestone octagon house in New York State


7271 Route 20, north side, village of Madison, built by James Coolidge in 1850, the same builder of the Cobblestone Store (Landmark Tavern) in Bouckville. The fact that this is not a full octagon house suggests the octagon facade may have been a later addition to an already existing structure of an earlier period.


    When Orson Fowler launched his octagon house crusade in 1848, he succeeded, at least for a while. His book went through some nine editions all through the 1850s. His architectural argument was simple: With an octagon form, you use fewer materials and hence less money while gaining more space. A circular form is the best and the octagon comes closest. To pragmatic Yankee builders in New York State more than anywhere else, the argument made sense, hence their overwhelming popularity there over any other state.
    But his argument went further. An octagon also maximized window space, hence light. In the whale oil or burning fluid days before kerosene lamps or electricity, this also was attractive. And we need not overlook the curb appeal of having an octagon house, something all the neighbors could talk about. Having one built out of New York State's native cobblestone construction only made an octagon even more special.
    This octagon features the same plain unostentatious early Italianate styling that Fowler himself proposed in his drawings. The simple cornice with its overhanging eaves is right out of the book. But this house also features exquisite twin column framing on either side of the entrance door, a reminder of the Neo-Classical elegance that was still popular in the United States.
    But one feature this house has that is a radical departure from Fowler's simple octagon is the long rectangular section splitting the octagon in two. Why? Well a simple answer might be a desire for more space without resorting to a giant octagon. But another possibility is that it rectifies a basic problem that all octagons had: lack of wall space against which to place your furniture.
   Simply put, multiple oblique angles plus frequent windows do not leave much space for furniture, a rather serious drawback. How does one fit a dresser in an oblique corner? You can't. So the only space left is the back wall opposite the windows, but then that is where all your doors and rooms have to be. It was a major problem for octagon house owners with furniture.
   This house solves that problem, using Yankee ingenuity, by creating a straight section between the half octagons. The best of both worlds? It certainly makes for a unique house. (D. Hanna, PhD).


                         House Has Interesting History

                        This five-bay Federal style house at 3822 Canal Road, Bouckville,
                        was built by James and Silas, Silas.  


                       Out building attached to rear of house.

Members of the Edgarton family intermingle with a group of hop pickers about 1900-01. Eleventh person, first row from left, are Pearl Edgerton Reynolds, Albert Marton Edgarton, with straw hat, Smith Berry Edgarton his daughter, Marjorie (Dahn); Standing in bach of him is Clara Edgarton Howard; standing in doorway with dark dress is Helen Martin Edgarton, wife of Smith Edgarton. Photo courtesy of Diane Van Slyke.
    The story of this cobblestone house is found in the writings of the late Helen Howard Peckham. "It was built by my great-great-grandfather, James Howard and his brother, Silas. It took two years to build it in 1840-42." She recalled "They used field stones that were very abundant on the farm. The stones were left after a glacier passed through this section. There were enough field stones collected in piles to build another house. If more were needed all one had to do was plow the garden. It was surprising how many stones turn up.
    "They were assisted in building the house by a stone mason, Joe Stevens, who might have been one of the men in building the Chenango Canal in 1834-37. Many men who worked on the canal settled in this vicinity after it was completed.
   "The cobblestones used in building the house were similar in size, but varied in shape and color. They were set in in horizontal rows with straight horizontal mortar joints. My grandmother, while working in her flower garden, once heard two slightly inebriated gentlemen while walking down the road exclaim one to the other if they had that house they would paint each stone a different color.
    "James had a canal boat named 'The Madison' and undoubtedly brought the corner (quoins) stones and the large long one (lintel) above the front door came from the quarry about a mile away at Oriskany Falls." The house was later owned by the Edgarton family, and Smith Edgarton is said to have help build it. 
An article in the Cazenovia Republican of  July 8, 1926, noted in part:
 Eighty-five years ago washed sand and gravel were produced at Solsville from the deposit which is now being worked by the Madison Sand & Gravel Corporation. In those days, when houses were built on honor, it was an unwritten law that cobblestone houses should be built with washed material. 
    The cobblestone house now owned by Smith Edgarton, near the new plant, was built with this material. The sand and gravel was shoveled from the bank into a two-wheel cart of about a half-yard capacity and drawn by an ox team to the bank of the canal, where it was dumped into a water-tight box.
    A few pails of water were thrown upon the material and it was thoroughly shoveled. The water with the silt in solution was then drained off and the clean material shoveled back into the ox car and drawn to the job. Three men and the ox team were able to produce five yards per day.     The driver of the yoke of oxen has long since passed on, but the house that he helped to build is as sound as ever and presents a forceful argument for the used of washed sand and gravel in building construction.

    The story of this cobblestone house is found in the writings of the late Helen Howard Peckham. "It was built by my great-great-grandfather, James Howard and his brother, Silas. It took two years to build it in 1840-42." She recalled "They used field stones that were very abundant on the farm. The stones were left after a glacier passed through this section. There were enough field stones collected in piles to build another house. If more were needed all one had to do was plow the garden. It was surprising how many stones turn up.
    "They were assisted in building the house by a stone mason, Joe Stevens, who might have been one of the men in building the Chenango Canal in 1834-37. Many men who worked on the canal settled in this vicinity after it was completed.
   "The cobblestones used in building the house were similar in size, but varied in shape and color. They were set in in horizontal rows with straight horizontal mortar joints. My grandmother, while working in her flower garden, once heard two slightly inebriated gentlemen while walking down the road exclaim one to the other if they had that house they would paint each stone a different color.
    "James had a canal boat named 'The Madison' and undoubtedly brought the corner (quoins) stones and the large long one (lintel) above the front door came from the quarry about a mile away at Oriskany Falls."
    The house was later owned by the Edgarton family, and Smith Edgarton is said to have help build it. An article in the Cazenovia Republican of  July 8, 1926, noted in part:
 Eighty-five years ago washed sand and gravel were produced at Solsville from the deposit which is now being worked by the Madison Sand & Gravel Corporation. In those days, when houses were built on honor, it was an unwritten law that cobblestone houses should be built with washed material. 
    The cobblestone house now owned by Smith Edgarton, near the new plant, was built with this material. The sand and gravel was shoveled from the bank into a two-wheel cart of about a half-yard capacity and drawn by an ox team to the bank of the canal, where it was dumped into a water-tight box.
    A few pails of water were thrown upon the material and it was thoroughly shoveled. The water with the silt in solution was then drained off and the clean material shoveled back into the ox car and drawn to the job. Three men and the ox team were able to produce five yards per day. 
    The driver of the yoke of oxen has long since passed on, but the house that he helped to build is as sound as ever and presents a forceful argument for the used of washed sand and gravel in building construction.


Located at 7233 Indian Opening Road, west side, Bouckville, this house is of Greek Revival style. The lintel over the door is inscribed: "b;t. 1842 by Capt. T. Willamson for Burton Phelps." It is well built with large stone quoins, lintels and sills. Photo by Diane Van Slyke

                  Our Cobblestone House
                                 By Carol Lorenz
   The lintel over the front door has an inscription stating that the house was built by Capt. T. Williamson for Burton and Phelps in 1842. Burton and Phelps are family names that can be found in the cemetery at the Madison end of Indian Opening Road.  Descendants of these families are still in the area.  Sue Bartlett, the late mother of Mary, nee Bartlett (formerly of Mary's Hairy Business in Hamilton), who lives on Solsville Road near the Madison end of Indian Opening, was born in our house.  Sue's dad was a Phelps; her maternal grandfather, as I remember it, was a Burton.  Mary's dad (Bill (?) Bartlett) still owns the house on the corner of Indian Opening, behind which there were the remains of a cobblestone barn when we first moved here 34 years ago but Mr. Bartlett took it down.  Mary may have some information from her mother about growing up in our house.
   Our house was passed down in the same family from 1842 to 1962.  Some of the owners were Henry B. Phelps, upon whose death in 1908 his wife Mary and a son John L Phelps transferred the house and property to a daughter, Evelyn Phelps Babcock.  Evelyn died in 1918 and her survivors included her husband Charles Lynn Babcock and sons Elwyn, Glenn, and Seward.  Elwyn and Glenn transferred the house and property to their brother Seward H. Babcock.  Seward's wife Edith died in 1953 and he did not remarry.  Widowed and, as we were told, elderly and in poor health, Seward sold the property in 1962 to Charles Vosburgh, who divided it into parcels and sold them the same year at auction.  
   Our house and a little over an acre of land formed one parcel (purchased by a couple, Donald and Katherine Carney -- Mr Carney was a local judge).  The barn and land behind it formed another parcel (purchased by the Johnson family); farmland on the other side of the road was purchased by the Livermore family, and the lakefront property was divided into several smaller parcels.  
   Katherine Carney told us that she and her husband did extensive exterior repairs of walls that were in bad shape.  They also renovated the interior, replacing all the walls and ceilings with sheetrock, painting, installing carpets over the original floors, and putting wallpaper up in many areas.  
   The Carneys sold the house in 1977 to James and Joan Ford, who owned it for five years.  I am sure you know Jim, who retired from teaching secondary school in Madison school as a local historian himself.  The Fords did other work in the house, such as finishing the "borning room," in which Susan Bartlett was born, by putting barn siding on the walls and carpeting the floors.
   We bought the house and property from the Fords in 1982.  We have undone a lot of what was done in the 1960s, removing wall to wall carpeting to reveal the original ash floors, removing the 1960s wallpaper, removing the barn siding in the bedroom and replacing indoor-outdoor carpeting with oak flooring, uncovering the original brickwork and hearth and bake oven in the kitchen.
   On the other hand, we added a large room to the back of the house.  There had been a summer kitchen behind the house before our time.  The Fords enclosed it and created an unheated wood-paneled den (with a wood stove) in that space. In 1988, we tore it down (the do-it-yourself foundation was rotted) and created a large room there.  We also finished an attic over the kitchen that had once been used as a dormitory for seasonal hops farm workers and was a storage area when we purchased the house.

The Phelps farm cobblestone barn about a half mile north of house in September, 1970. Now demolished.


                                        The Cobblestone Store at the corner of Routes 20
                                        and 46 at Pine Woods has had many uses since it 
                                        was built in 1844 for C.T. Howard who manufactured
                                        carriages and wagons. The main entrance was on the 
                                        left side with double doors. During the Civil War it
                                        became a tavern and hotel. The second floor was cut  
                                        up into a series of small bedrooms. When the town 
                                        went dry in 1915 it went out of business and stood
                                        vacant for seven years. In 1922 it became a general 
                                       store,  gas station and ice cream parlor. It later became
                                       a small general store. For many years it was an
                                       antique shop. It has been in the process of restoration.

                                                   Date stone

                                 Stone store as it appeared in early 1900s. Collection of Mishelle Magnusson

                                                   Store as it appeared in the 1950s.                                       
                                                 Cobblestone Hop Kiln

In 1965

In 1972

       This was located on the Eaton-Randallsville road and by 
       the early 1970s was in total ruins.  Another such hop kiln
        was located on Route 46 south of Munnsville, now gone. 
         There was also a cobblestone tool maker's shop in Eaton, 
                                          now gone.


                                A fire last week destroyed the barn and the cobblestone hop 

                                kiln at right on the James  Nourse farm about a mile north
                                of Pine Woods on Route 46. Thanks to the efforts of the 
                                Morrisville Fire Department damage was restricted to the two 
                                structures mentioned but the fine old building is in a sad state at
                                present. Thus we're glad we thought to take this picture last spring
                                when all was as it should be - Mid-York Weekly, Sept. 23, 1965.


                            This Greek Revival period cobblestone house located at 4573 
                            Route 92, Cazenovia, west side, was built about 1844 by James
                            Beckwith, with stones hauled in from Lake Ontario. It is a 
                           typical Greek Revival upstate New York farmhouse with a certain 
                           elegance for which Cazenovia is noted.  In 1924, it became the 
                           property of Stewart F. Hancock,  a prominent Syracuse attorney
                          who made extensive alterations and added columns on the south
                          wing. The Hancocks no longer own it.

                                      Cobblestone cellar wall, 7296 Route 20, village of Madison



                                Silas Seymour house, 5658 Geer Road, Lebanon. Stone house
                                with cobblestone addition in rear. Original house built 1828. Farm
                                included 200 acres. It is now called the Bewkes Center, and
                                is owned by Colgate University. 
                                Silas Seymour, the seventh and youngest son of  Eleazer and
                               Anna (Merrills) Seymour, a nail maker, was born in Hartford, 
                               Conn., May 7, 1777. Soon after his father's death that same 
                               year, the family moved to Stillwater, N. Y. Silas was raised by
                               his brother, William. Several members of the family served in
                               the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. In 1800, 
                               Silas married Sally Gilbert and in 1802 they migrated to
                               Lebanon in Madison county. His farm eventually encompassed
                               more than 200 acres on Lot 24. It was inherited by his son, Alfred.
                               Silas resided on the farm until his death on August 2, 1845. His 
                               wife also died there on October 5, 1850. They were buried in 
                               the Campbell Burying Ground.
                               Silas became a useful and influential citizen, always interested 
                               in the prosperity of his town.  He was first town clerk of 
                               Lebanon. The welfare of common schools largely engaged his 
                               attention. He remained on his homestead his entire life, and raised
                              10 children.


                                     MONTGOMERY COUNTY



                          Very sloppy patchwork reflected here.

         Neatly laid washed stones mark the true artistic skill put into this house.

                                 This may have been the entrance to Mr. Simms' private library.

                        Portrait of Jeptha Root Simms

    Jeptha Root Simms (December 31, 1807 – May 31, 1883) had this Gothic-style house built in 1850. Wooden additions were added in 1883. was an American historian best known for chronicling the settlement of upstate New York. Simms was born at Canterbury, Connecticut on December 31, 1807, son of Joseph Simms and the former Phoebe Fitch. 
     He had this house built in the popular Gothic Cottage style of the day.  The water-rounded stones are said to have been gathered locally. In 1883 the wooden with the crenellated parapet was added.
    His family moved to Plainfield, New York in 1824. He married April 1, 1833, to Catherine Lawyer of Schoharie, New York. He died May 31, 1883 in Fort Plain, New York, age 75.  Simms was largely self-educated. He became an acknowledged authority on the history and geology of upstate New York through years of personal interviews with the region’s oldest surviving residents and collecting fossils and mineral samples.
    The interviews became the backbone of his subsequent writings, while his geological collection was eventually purchased by the State of New York for $5,000 (an impressive sum at the time). As a young man, Simms worked at Canajoharie, New York, but removed to New York City in 1829. A few years later, he returned to upstate New York and began compiling his collection of historical material while working as a railroad ticket agent. He was best known for his books, including The  Frontiersmen of New York: Showing Customs of the Indians, Vicissitudes of the Pioneer White Settlers, and Border Strife in Two Wars (Volume 1 in 1882 and Volume 2 posthumously in 1883)

                                                      NIAGARA COUNTY


                           Morgan- Johnson House, 2533 Cambria-Wilson Road,
                           Town of Wilson. Johnson was a ship captain when 
                           he built this home in 1844. His ship, the  Milly Cook 
                           caught fire and sank in Wilson Harbor. The spot
                           is still known today as Milly Cook Cove. The anchor on
                           the lawn is from the schooner Franklin Pierce, which
                           sank in 1840. 

                                      The anchor was found near  Wilson pier 57
                                       years later.

                            Note the fine workmanship on the ornate lintels and 
                            quoins and cut limestone columns at the entrance. The 
                            house has an unusual recessed center along with
                            the  limestone steps and railings. The house has wide
                            Greek Revival cornices with cast iron grills in a wide 
                           frieze masking a full-height second floor. Also noteworthy 
                           is herringbone foundation normally more prevalent in
                           the 1850s. There is a circular staircase inside the home.   


                        The Amzi Bradley Farmstead is located at 8915 Bradley
                        Road on the  northwest corner of the intersection with
                        Johnson Creek Road in the Town Hartland. It is a two-story
                        cobblestone structure built in 1836 by Connecticut native
                       Amzi Bradley, in the Greek Revival style. The porch is a later
                       addition. It features irregularly shaped, variously colored
                       cobbles in its construction. It was listed on the National
                       Register of Historic Places in 2002.     

                                      This house, in the Greek Revival style, is at  8993 
                            Ridge Road, Town of Hartland. It was built in 
                            1843 by Harry Harrington, a native of Vermont 
                            and consists of various colored cobblestones.
                            Harrington served as town clerk and town justice
                            of the peace prior to his death in 1849. It was later
                            the Pierce residence. Several historic farm buildings
                            are also on the property.              

                                     ONEIDA COUNTY




This house at 9399 Main St., (Route 365) Holland Patent, was built in 1841 by mason William J. Babcock for Gardner Townsend. It appears to be the only example of a Greek Revival house in America with columns made of cobblestone. It has long been known locally as "Cobblestone Villa."  To construct these columns that support the triangular pediment cobblestones were applied to logs.   The sides and rear of the house are authentic Greek Revival except for the more modern flat stones that may cover the original quoins.

A rare cobblestone hop drying house with a European look is located at 927 Route 8 North, west side, north of Bridgewater, was built in 1850 by Gershom Shaul, a prosperous local farmer. It is on a farm now owned by James Wrobel and was one of the largest  hop houses ever built in this region. It is 33 feet across and about 40 feet in diameter, and was used during the prosperous years of hop farming, until it ceased just after World War I. It closely resembles similar structures that existed in  west Germany and northern France designed for dry rodent-free agricultural storage in wet, cold climates, only in this case it was used to dry hops. This design of of agricultural structure was common in northwestern Europe in the 14th to 18th centuries. -  David Hanna, Ph.D.

                        The Gershom Shaul house itself reflects the wealth of a prosperous
                        19th century farmer.


                   Mayhew Cobblestone House, Old River Road, Marcy


      This cobblestone house was originally part of the Merchant Mayhew Farm along Old River Road in the town of Marcy at what was once called Carey's Corners. This and adjacent properties were developed as Marcy State Hospital in the 1920s. Eventually this became a large complex of buildings and grounds covering about 1,000 acres. 
    When a young man, Mayhew settled in the town of Marcy and married Hanna Haskell. It is believed the house was built in the 1840s or 1850s. The Mayhews had two children. Mr. Mayhew died in 1864. His son, Mortimer, continued to live in the cobblestone house the rest of his life. Like his father he was a farmer, and was involved in local politics. He was a champion skeet shooter. In the 1920s the farm was purchased by the state.
    The house was renovated and became the residence of the farm superintendent as well as for offices. Other buildings were added over the years. The area where the cobblestone house is located came under the jurisdiction of Marcy Correctional Facility in 1989.  The house is no longer used but has been preserved. It is only one of two cobblestone houses in Oneida county.  The quoins are of brick instead of limestone. 

                                          8150 Cider St., Oriskany

                                7780 Humphrey Road, Town of Whitesboro
                                Middle window is former doorway. Dormers
                                added later.    


                                                       Cobblestone House in Rome, N.Y.

Rome Daily Sentinel
April 16, 1921
(From the column "Man About Town")

  Said a lifelong resident of this city: "Very often people who at one time lived here and went away to make their homes elsewhere return after perhaps 25 years' absence and then we hear expressions as to the great changes they note in the city, some remarking that but for certain old landmarks they would not know Home now. It is very true, too, for with the numerous large manufacturing plants, the new location of the New York Central tracks and passenger station, the Barge Canal and the expansion of the residential section with its many fine homes, it must appear bewildering to those who have watched the growth from day to day.
   I have been looking up a little history of Rome in its infancy out of curiosity brought on through memories of things I had heard people talk about when I was a very small boy. Now I would ask who remembers seeing or even hearing about the old cobblestone house and where it was located. Describing a location and referring to the 'cobblestone house' was a common expression in the early days of Rome.
   I was obliged to make many inquires myself to learn about it, but finally located a man who knew all about it, although he could not remember having seen it. It was built, owned and occupied by a stone mason named Peter Carroll and was located on the site of what was afterward the Conger House, which stood on Floyd avenue a short distance south of Cottage street. The cobblestone house was destroyed by fire about 60 years ago.
   Then James Russell purchased the site and built a hotel, which he sold to Aaron Conger, who conducted the Conger House there for many years, the hostelry being widely known as an excellent hotel, the members of the grand jury of Oneida county, when sitting in Rome, making it their headquarters. After selling the hotel to Mr. Conger, James Russell built a brick building on the corner of Floyd avenue and Cottage street on the site where the late Charles Higham afterward erected a fine home, now owned and occupied by F.S. Wilson.
   Mr. Russell conducted a grocery store in the building up to the time it was destroyed by fire about 45 years ago. Peter Carroll, James Russell and Aaron Conger have been dead many years. The old hotel was cut into sections and made into dwellings.
   If it were possible for these men to return now and stand on the ground where they once lived, how difficult it would be to convince them that it really is the same place, just as it seems hard for us to realize that a cobblestone house and a brick store stood there at one

                                                     ONONDAGA COUNTY

                                            The Cobblestone house on the hill

Cobblestone house at Hamilton Road and Route 5 in Elbridge is considered a
classic example of Gothic architecture. It was built by John Munro in 1850-51
with a slate roof. It was designed by Thomas Atkinson, an architect who came
from England. It was built of washed cobblestones brought by wagon to the
site from the shores of Lake Ontario near Oswego. Photos by Richard Palmer       

                                                           View of the east side of the house.
                                Story of the Munro Cobblestone House

    On a hill well hidden behind a row of cedar trees on the north side Route 5 just west of the village of Elbridge, New York  is  one of the finest cobblestone houses of Gothic Revival architecture in the country. It was built for wealthy landowner John Munro in 1850-51 and was designed by internationally acclaimed architect, Thomas Atkinson, who came from England at Munro's request. He resided with the Munros for two years while it was constructed. It is believed Atkinson based his design on the British publication"Designs for Cottage and Villa Architecture," by S.H. Brooks. Later Atkinson lived in Auburn, N.Y., where he built a Gothic Cottage at 24 Van Anden St. That house is now gone.
   The Munro house has been meticulously preserved through the years. Laid out on an H plan, the house is covered by a steep slate roof, pierced in the center by a small gable. The multiple flues of the square chimneys are set diagonally and blend with the diamond-shaped glass panes preserved in all the windows. The cobblestone masonry is of superior quality, consisting of lake-washed cobblestones laid six rows to a quoin with a "bead" joint between the rows. Cobblestones, picked off the shore of Lake Ontario near Oswego, are well preserved. Thee are a few red sandstone cobbles mixed in, but the general tonality of the walls is greenish-gray. The home is a testament to Atkinson's skills.
    The original woodwork and fireplaces are still preserved. Although some minor changes were made in order to install modern heating and other conveniences, owners have taken great care to preserve the original character and details. The book Architecture Worth Saving in Onondaga County, identified the cobblestone house as "perhaps the most important Gothic Revival building in Onondaga County." It said:
 "This cobblestone Gothic Revival building, standing amid century-old hard maples on an expansive site, crowning a gentle rise with a skyline of gables and chimneys, is more than a farmhouse; it must be included with Whig Hill and Roosevelt Hall as one of three county country houses in the grand manner, the tradition of the great country estates."
    The late Mary Munro, who  grew up there, was the last of the family to live there. When interviewed in the mid 1960s, her white hair, sparkling eyes, dignified bearing, and gentle manner reminded one that advancing years bring charms of their own.
   Not the least of those charms was the ability to recall the distant past. As a Munro, she was frequently consulted by historical researchers, but she modestly referred most queries to her more historically-minded cousins in Marcellus and Baldwinsville.
  But while studying at Columbia Teachers College, she wrote a paper for a sociology class that is interesting document of local history. Entitled Quarter Century with a Central New York Farmer: 1846 - 1871, the paper tells the story of life on the Munro farm.
  The principal reference sources for the paper were farm journals kept by John Munro, the grandson of Squire Munro and her grandfather.John Munro built the cobblestone house in 1850. In this still-magnificent home, now owned by Dr. and Mrs. William B. Drake, Mary Munro grew up.
  Pondering her grandfather's reasons for building the 17-room house, Mary Munro wrote:
  When one considers that 11 men were probably lodged and boarded, and that there were also, in all likelihood, two, or perhaps three hired girls, one can see why larger quarters were desirable. Evidently, also, grandfather had political ambitions, and perhaps felt the need of a more pretentious home as one fitting his position. His family was growing. Much entertaining was done, and he no doubt felt that this would increase as his children grew older.
  The book Architecture Worth Saving in Onondaga County, offered a different hypothesis: "Perhaps the reminiscence of aristocratic English country life is less attributable to the pretentiousness of Yankee farmer John Munro than to the taste of English architect, Thomas Atkinson."
  The cobblestones were drawn from Lake Ontario by sleigh, according to Miss Munro, and the wood was all taken from the farm. The woodworking was done on the premises.
This was working farm. John Munro was a "gentleman farmer," to be sure. He had hired men to do the farm work. But the Munros were not  the "idle rich. " John Munro kept busy attending to the many details of his large household and his many enterprises.
  Miss Munro wrote that her grandfather spent a good deal of time making purchases in surrounding villages. "Evidently no one community was adequate for all needs" she wrote. "On the same day he frequently went to three different places for as many purchases, as on one day he went to Jordan for groceries, to Elbridge for the mail, and to Mottville for cultivator teeth."
  John Munro also spent a good deal of time at the sawmill owned by him and his brother Daniel. "Collections and deliveries were necessary," she wrote, "and calls were made to notify people that their lumber was ready. Notes were paid, and money loaned to other neighbors…"
  That is not to say that social life was neglected. "He and Eveline, his wife, would go to town for groceries but spend the afternoon visiting with some friend, perhaps 'staying for tea,'" she wrote."…very large parties were quite common, especially on anniversaries or special holidays…fifty or sixty people attended those gatherings, and grandfather states that they 'had a very enjoyable time.'"
  John Munro was very active in church work. "Probably there is no one thing outside of this work which is mentioned oftener," Mary wrote. Besides attending services and prayer meetings, he devoted a great deal of time to soliciting and collecting, attending conventions, and making out reports. Miss Munro recorded many other activities of her grandfather: "
   As trustee of the one-room school in 1858, he hired the teacher for $4.75, she agreeing to board herself. Then, too, there were miscellaneous tasks which claimed his attention—many of which today would be performed by a lawyer, or other specialist. He drew up deeds and mortgages, made contracts, and surveyed land. He went to Syracuse to see about revocation of a tavern license. He sat on a local jury when offenses were tried, a man being fined $800 for selling boys strong drink, and another man being declared incompetent because he was an "habitual drunkard." Munro was also a member of the "Society for Detecting Horse Thieves" and once went to help look for a murderer.
  "As supervisor in 1860, he had the job of doctoring the poor. From 1860 to 1871, grandfather seemed to become more and more interested in public affairs."
All of this was in addition to the household chores, which Munro evidently helped with: "putting down" hams and beef in salt, drying apples, boiling cider, making soap, gathering bark for coloring, helping with dyeing, having rugs woven, gathering herbs for medicine, dipping candles, doing the wash, making clothes, slaughtering livestock and making sausage, household repairs, tending the garden—all were chronicled in John Munro's farm journal.
   The farm must have been a vast enterprise. Munro raised and sold grass seed, millet, flax, buckwheat, broomcorn, oats, barley, wheat, rye, and corn. Sheep were raised for wool. Large numbers of cows and hundreds of pigs were on the farm, as well as turkeys, geese, and chickens. 
In December, 1851, Munro recorded the sale of about 300 pounds of chickens and turkeys plus 31 geese. In 1856, he mentioned having 500 hogs.
Munro also tried raising unusual crops. In 1864 the journal noted sugar cane was "cut and the juice extracted, there being three pails full which boiled down to four quarts of syrup. " He raised tobacco from 1851 on and "at one time he hired men to make his tobacco into cigars. " The farm hands gathered hickory nuts, black walnuts, butternuts, and chestnuts, and bees were kept for several years.
Miss Munro remarked on the low wages paid hired men: "In 1847 he paid $1.00, $8.00 and $10.00 a month to different men. The following year he paid $12.00 and $13.00. Even as late as 1900 we know men worked for $25.00."
She also noted that bartering was common. "Goods were seldom paid for by giving cash, and some of the exchanges seem very peculiar. In 1857, a harness bought at $32, was payable in wood at $3 a cord."
She quoted a notation about another exchange: "I have taken from Mr. Shanahan the pony which satisfied the judgment I obtained against him for damages by his hogs and cattle. I traded the pony for a two-horse wagon made from an old stage coach."
"Later he traded a pair of mules for a horse, thirty-seven pounds of salt, seventy-two pounds of candles, and one hundred thirty-two pounds of hard soap!" Miss Munro wrote.
John Munro died in 1900, having moved into the village of Elbridge. The year before he had turned the farm over to his son Frank, Mary's father. Mary, then 7, called that house home until 1963, when the farm was sold out of the family.
Miss Munro had a long career as a school teacher. She graduated from Geneseo Normal School and spent several summer sessions at Columbia Teachers College in New York City. From about 1914 to 1918 she taught at the Hart Lot School; she spent the next four years teaching fifth, sixth and seventh grades in Elbridge.
    Then she taught at Baldwinsville and finally went to Cazenovia, where she taught for 17 years. She spent most summers at the Elbridge farm. After she retired from teaching in New York State, she went to Colorado where she taught for 12 years. Miss Munro remembered that there were about 30 students in a class and that "they were no particular trouble. "
  Mary's brother, LeRoy, took the farm over from their father and raised purebred Holsteins. After the death of LeRoy's wife in 1962, Miss Munro moved home from Colorado to keep house for her brother.
In 1963, they sold the farm and moved up the road to a new house. Miss Munro died Dec. 20, 1981, at the age of 90.      

                 Elias Cox  House, 8412 Emerick Road, Town of Lysander. Built 1850

                                  6629 Laird Road, Elbridge  


             William T. McCracken built this house at 162 Bennett Road, Camillus, in 1850.
             His father, William McCracken Sr., was a Revolutionary War veteran. He and
             his wife, the former Hannah Younglove, settled her about 1800. The same family
            occupied this house and farm until 1946 when Carrier Corporation purchased
            this and neighboring properties with the intent of building a factory. This was
            never done and it was sold to the late Frank and Helen Quick. It is the only
            cobblestone house in the town of Camillus.

Syracuse Herald, May 26, 1929

  Stricklands Participate in Rural Life With Zest
    If every family had the same love of rural life as that of Mr. and Mrs. Claire Strickland, whose farm on the Camillus-Amboy Road has been in the same family for more than100 years, the ever pressing problem of how to keep young people on the farm would be solved.
    The pretty old cobblestone house in which they live was built by J.D. McCracken, Mrs. Strickland's maternal grandfather, more than 80 years ago. It stands on a grassy slope, surrounded by fine old shade trees, breathing out an air of solicity and comfort.
    Mrs. Strickland and their two daughters, Helen and Alice, not only due their part of the farm work enthusiastically but are leaders in junior project work in that art of the the county.
    Alice Strickland, at 15, is one of the outstanding project workers among the girls of Onondaga County. She has captured more than 35 ribbons and many money prizes with show animals and by her judging ability. When she was 10 her father gave her a pure bred Guernsey heifer calf. From that calf she has a pure bred herd of four. With part of her prize money she bought a pure bred Cheviot ewe lamb. She now has 11 sheep and lambs.
    Mrs. Strickland and Miss Helen Strickland, the older daughter, teach boys and girls of the entire Amboy section, having several project classes each, in which home making, canning, preserving, sewing, animal care and other potent agricultural phases are studied.
    And they find time to do all this in addition to the work that falls to them on their own farm.
    Twenty minutes from Syracuse theaters by automobile, they can get to a show quicker than many Syracuse who depend upon trolley cars.

    With the radio, the telephone, motor transportation, rural free delivery, the life of the farmer has been completely revolutionized and the Stricklands are unanimous in preference for rural over urban life.

Strickland house, early 1900s, Clair Strickland in doorway. 
                                             Onondaga Historical Association photo

Cows kept the lawn mowed.
                                            Onondaga Historical Association photo

Camillus Advocate
August 30, 1995

    The McCracken Family Home is a Camillus Landmark
           By Ralph Sims
    When driving on Bennett Road in the town of Camillus, one has to take notice of the cobblestone home located on the north side of the road. This is, indeed, a beautiful home and one of a kind in the town. It is difficult to believe that this fine, well kept home is 145 years old.
    To give you a background on this house, we have to take you back in time to the beginning of the 19th century. It was shortly after 1800 that former Revolutionary War soldiers David and William McCracken first settled in the town of Camillus. David settled in the village of Amboy with William Settling on Bennett Road.
    William, born in 1764, had first settled in Washington County and married Hannah Younglove. His first son, William T., was born in 1794. A few years later, William and Hannah moved to Camillus where a second son, John W. was born in 1802.
    It appears that some time after the birth of the second son, Hannah died. In 1812 William married a widow, Mary Thompson, who had two daughters from her previous marriage. From this marriage a son, Joseph, was born in 1813.
    In 1830 William McCracken died at the age of 66. Land records indicate that starting in 1812 and for the next 40 years William and his children made several purchases of farm land mainly along Bennett Road.
    William T., son of William and Hannah, married Polly Hubbard around 1820. From this marriage there were two sons and three daughters.
    In 1850 William T. built the present cobblestone house on Bennett Road. This was to be the residence of the McCracken family and their descendants for approximately the next 100 years. Of the two sons of William T. and Polly, Hollan J., born in 1829, was to stay on the family farm. He married L. Jane Ellis, daughter of a prominent family residing in Camillus. Hollan J. and Jane were the parents of three daughters - Fannie, Minnie and Ida. Ida was the youngest of the daughters and married Merrill Slingerland, son of Storm Slingerland.
    In 1883 Polly died at the age of 86. William T. passed away in 1888 at the age of 94. They are buried in Belle Isle Cemetery. Ida and Merrill Slingerland had three children: Charles, Mable, and Merrill Jr. Shortly before the birth of Merrill Jr. in 1884, his father, Merrill Sr., passed away leaving the three children without parents.
    The three children came to live with their grandparents, Hollan and Jane, on the family farm. Unfortunately, Jane passed away in 1898, leaving Hollan in charge of the children. Mable Slingerland, born in 1882, continued to live with her grandfather ager reaching adulthood. In 1902 Mabel married Clair Strickland, whose family lived and managed a grocery store in Warners. For many years, before and after her marriage, Clair was very active in this grocery business.
    Because of Hollan'a advanced age, Mabel and Clair lived on the farm, looking after Hollan's interests until his death. Hollan passed away in 1925 at age 96. He and his wife Jane are buried in Belle Isle. Clair and Mable had four children, Gladys, born in 1903; Gerald, born in 1905; Alice, born in 1909; and Helen, born in 1913.
    Mable Strickland was probably one of the most active women in the town of Camillus. She was a strong Republican, active, not only locally, but in county and state as well. She also represented the Farm Bureau, Home Bureau, and 4-H clubs at state meetings.
    In 1846 Carrier Corporation purchased the McCracken farm as part of a future manufacturing plant. This plan did not develop since the former General Electric plant on Thompson Road in East Syracuse became available to Carrier.
    With the passing of the farm out of the family, son Gerald built a home for his parents, Clair and Mable, at Onondaga Hill. In 1962, Clair passed away with Mable passing away in 1972 at age 90. They are buried i  Memorial Park Cemetery. 
    In 1971 Frank and Sheila Quick purchased the farm house, barn, and approximately one acre of land. The larger portion of the farm has since been developed into housing.  Although Frank Quick passed away several years ago, Sheila has to be complimented in continuing the work that has been done in keeping this fine landmark in the excellent condition that it is in. The town of Camillus can point proudly to this home and what it represents as part of past history.
  Note: Ralph Sims is a member of the Town of Camillus Historical Society. He credits Alice Keller and Alice Strickland Nutting for information used in this article.

This house at  2313 Route 11A,  Cardiff, was built by Justus Newell (1807-1885) who came from a large family who resided in the vicinity of Cardiff. He purchased 20 acres where this house stands in April, 1843, It is thought the house was built about 1845. It was sold to William Spencer in November, 1850. Newell then moved to Syracuse where he became a prominent businessman. There he built the first cement block house which still stands (See below). A later owner, William Stearns, restored  this house  in the 1930s.

Justus Newell, who built the cobblestone house in Cardiff, built this Italianate-style house in 1872 at what is now 1622 South Salina Street. It is said it was the first house in Syracuse built in an early form of concrete blocks. Newell owned a sand and  gravel bed in the southern part of the city. Having learned the process of mixing cement, he pioneered in the production of building blocks.

                              Esop Kinne House, 1832 James St., Syracuse. Greatly altered.

The Deep Greek Roots of Cobblestone Construction
           By David Hanna, PhD
    The cobblestone house in Cardiff  is somewhat unusual in that it carries not only the usual sill with its band of cut stones providing a solid flat base over the foundation on which to build a square and level house, but also a solid cut stone band at mid-point up the wall above the windows, and again, partially, above the second floor windows as well.
    As a technique, placing a course of cut stones around each level of a building goes back to structural techniques in ancient Greece (the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians used a different technique, preferring instead walls leaning inward). It is called a "string course". It adds considerable structural strength to a structure by tying it together at each level with a band of heavy cut stones. In modern architecture, we typically place a band of steel beams around each floor of a high-rise structure; same idea, But those incredible mathematical Greeks thought of it first. 
    Still, it is rare in housing architecture because typically these structures are small and don't require the added strength it brings. The builder of this house understood the technique and wanted to make sure this structure stood firm forever. Think of how difficult this is, given the manual building techniques of house construction of the day, hoisting up such large sections of cut stone with pulleys, block & tackle. In contrast, mortaring together a bunch of small cobblestones row by row, working from flimsy scaffolding, is a cinch.
    Stylistically, the house is Early Greek Revival, not Federal or Neo-Classical, given its Greek temple-front orientation together with its plain flat detailing, as opposed to the fine carved mouldings typical of the previous Neo-Classical phase. The heavy coffered door, while probably new, is perfect for the house, being totally Greek in style. 
    One last link with the past, although nobody would have been aware of this in 19th century upstate New York, is that ancient Greek houses some 2500 years ago, employed small fist-sized rubblestone wall construction quite similar to, though less organized than the cobblestone technique. All ancient Greek houses had a pebbly stone exterior framed in cut stone much like our cobblestone houses (but with a simple sloped clay tile roof, not the neat temple-style roof our houses carry). 
    The seafaring Greeks (mainly the Athenian Empire) spread the technique all over the ancient World from the Black Sea (future Russia and Turkey) to the western Mediterranean (future Italy, France and Spain) through their many coastal colonies, well before the Romans came along. Once planted throughout Europe, the technique spread north through Germany and into England, mostly due to the later Roman Empire. These techniques survived the collapse of these empires by being transmitted from builder to builder over the centuries. 
    Organizing the cobblestones in neat rows is a refinement introduced by medieval England in the south-east and north-west of England around 1300 at the height of medieval prosperity. Cobblestone masons in New York (many of them, we suspect, hailing from England) carried the refinement even further such that upstate New York represents the ultimate expression in cobblestone building. 

    It is always amazing how ideas are carried and transmitted through time by simple builders just doing what their forbears did, while introducing little refinements along the way. It is probably safe to say that an ancient Greek builder from Athens around 500 B.C., if teleported to this house today, would actually recognize both the style and structural method, while being impressed at the surface treatment of the cobblestones. 

                               Cobblestone barn, 6268 Randall Road, DeWitt. On the old Bert

                               farm, opposite Christian Brothers Academy.

                 This is the same barn before siding was applied.

Smoke house on old Blaney farm, 1031 Apulia Road, Fabius. Initials
 inside read: "W.B., D.B., 1887". Webster Blaney was the builder.

    District #2 school house at 6541 Old Collamer Road, DeWitt  

                            East side

                                         West side

                                         Rear (north side)     

                                    Smoke house at rear of 215 E. Main St., Elbridge 



                                           Alexander Hamilton Allen house, 2891 Oran Delphi Road,
                                           Town of Pompey 
                 Cobblestone milk house, built 1915, on  Byron Griffin (now William

                 William Casey farm), 1136 Berry Road, Apulia Station, Town of Fabius.
                                  ORLEANS COUNTY

The John Shelp cobblestone house, also known as the Shelp–Beamer house, is located on West Shelby Road (Route 87) in West Shelby,  just east of the Niagara–Orleans county line. It was built in 1836 and is one of six cobblestone structures in the Town of Shelby. In 2008 the house, two barns, and a milk house on the grounds were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is considered one of the finest examples of cobblestone architecture in western New York. Shelp, came from Schoharie County in 1828. In 1836 he moved his family into the new house and remained there until his death in 1868. He and his descendants were prosperous and productive farmers who expanded and improved the property. In the mid 20th century the house was abandoned and fell into disrepair. It was restored in the mid-1960s.  

                    Cobblestone smokehouse, Route 63, Shelby.                             Photo by Alan Gilbert

The Bacon house, 3077 Oak Orchard Road, Gaines. The farm was established in 1828 by Moses Bacon and has been in the same family since then. The house  was built in 1844 by Elias Bacon, Moses Bacon's brother.  It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.


               Old schoolhouse in Gaines Has Interesting History 
                  ByAl Capurso, Town of Gaines Historian* 

    Local preservation effort in town of Gaines rescued this schoolhouse from destruction.

             Detail showing colorful stonework of District No. 2 schoolhouse.

Gaines District #2 Schoolhouse, 3238 Gaines Basin Road, Albion, restored by the Gaines Historical Society. Photos by Al Capurso.

    The history of this  schoolhouse begins with a pioneer  settler named Lansing (Allison) Bailey who, with his younger brother Joel, walked five days from Whitestown, Oneida County, N.Y. and purchased an article of 250 acres of land on November 18, 1811. After securing their location and registering it with the Holland Land Company office in Batavia,  they returned home. In February of the following year, Lansing, Joel, Lansing’s wife Zada, and their one year old son Davis drove a yoke of oxen and several young cattle back to what was to become Gaines Basin. This location is a mile and a half west of where Albion is now and just north of where the Erie Canal now crosses. In 1811, this was virtually an unbroken wilderness.
    While Lansing and Joel lived in the bush shanty they built from February to April 1812, Zada and Davis staid with pioneer settler Daniel Pratt on the Ridge Road, just west of Gaines Corners. Lansing Bailey described the shanty as being so small they would wake up in the morning with their legs covered with snow. In late winter 1812, Lansing, Joel and Daniel Pratt cut a trail from the Bailey shanty to the Ridge Road where Pratt’s cabin was located. Bailey states they accomplished this two mile feat in less than half a day.
    Lansing’s biography tells the story that about this time, their dog barked earnestly at a large hollow log and determined a bear to be within. Lansing killed the bear with an axe, only to discover a young cub in it as well. They took the cub home attempt to care for it. He states that Mrs. Joseph Adams, a relative living on the Ridge Road, had recently lost a babe. Mrs. Adams agreed to nurse the cub until it became rather “harsh” in its manners.
   During the spring of 1812, Lansing moved his wife and son from Daniel Pratt’s into a newly built cabin he described as a 12 feet by 16 feet hovel house of logs, with a floor of loose boards and slanting roof that overhung the cabin for storage of items. The Bailey’s are also credited with establishing what is now called Bacon Road, connecting Gaines Basin and Oak Orchard Road, at a community later named  The Five Corners.. Bailey nicknamed the 1.5 mile stretch, “Lonesome Road."
    In May of 1813, Lansing assisted in his wife’s delivery of twin baby girls, Ada and Zada. Joel had run to Sylvester Farr’s cabin at The Five Corners for female assistance. When they returned they found Zada, the wife with one baby, and Lansing on another bed with the other, all doing well. Lansing reported he made a cradle out of a hollow log to use as a rocker with a baby being able to lay at each end. Lansing and Joel cleared 15 acres of land this first year.
   Tragedy struck that August in the Bailey cabin. First, Joel became ill with the ague and fever so common in pioneer days. He died on August 10. Soon Lansing’s wife Zada came down with the same fever before Joel could be buried.
Lansing was alone to care for his sick wife, three month old twins and two year old son. On August 15, Zada died. The families of Daniel Pratt and Joseph Adams on the Ridge Road stepped in to care for the children. After brother and wife were interred in Gaines Cemetery, the first burial ground in Orleans County, Lansing returned to his cabin and spent, as he reports, one of the most lonesome nights in his life.
    Lansing’s father arrived from Stephentown to take the twins home with him while Mrs. Joseph Adams cared for Davis. Lansing worked to secure his corn crop; returning himself to his father’s home. In 1815, Lansing married Sylvia Pratt of Stephentown and the two of them came to Gaines Basin to start anew. Lansing built a nicer cabin and the five of them created a happy loving home.
   In the summer of 1816, Lansing heard men shouting in the woods south of his cabin. Upon investigation he found the Erie Canal surveyors staking out the canal route. Lansing, upon hearing from them the plan they envisioned laughed at the notion of making water run uphill the 300 feet difference between Gaines and Albany. Yet, this is exactly what the canal engineers accomplished. In fact, Bailey and other settlers profited immensely with the advent of the canal since they had a way of moving their farm produce to lucrative markets. Lansing’s area was chosen for one of the turn-arounds of the canal called basins; thus Gaines Basin.
   Census records from 1820 to 1830 show a doubling of families and school age eligible children. The earliest mention of a school at Gaines Basin was 1823, taught by Nancy Bullard, daughter of local pioneer and Revolutionary War veteran David Bullard. In 1826, the teacher was 14 year old Caroline Phipps. She taught several terms, then attended Gaines Academy in 1831. She grew to world-wide fame as the founder of the Phipps Union Seminary for Women in Albion, 1837. This institution flourished until the mid 1870’s under her directorship.
    The 1823 Gaines schoolhouse was described as a slant roof shanty, 12 by 14  feet square with a loose board floor. This description bears a striking similarity to the first cabin built by Lansing and Joel Bailey. The difference in the two feet  dimension could be from not counting the roof’s overhang. The location description of the schoolhouse (east side of the Gaines Basin Road, near where the canal now passes, is a practical pin point to where the Bailey’s first built.
    Prior to 1827, Lansing Bailey, his wife Sylvia and their several children moved to Barre, now the village of Albion. In 1832, having outgrown the log shanty schoolhouse, the parents of Gaines Basin decided to build a schoolhouse of cobblestone. This building was built with three times the square footage of the shanty on the opposite side of the road. This schoolhouse served the Gaines Basin community for 112 years, until it was closed due to centralization in 1944. A trustee ledger of expenses inclusive of the years 1879 to 1917 has been found and offers a glimpse into the running of 19th century rural one room schoolhouse.
     The Town of Gaines had 12 school districts in it’s day, six of which were made of cobblestone. Five of the six still exist. One was razed in 1900 when replaced by a larger wood frame building. Fortunately, organizations such as the Cobblestone Society and the Orleans County Historical Association are now actively working to restore and preserve these historic gems.

*Mr. Capurso is also president of Orleans County Historical Association and a member of the Board of Directors, Cobblestone Society in Childs, N.Y.

                             Cobblestone school in Olcott.


    Largest Cobblestone House in North America For Sale 
               (From: WXXI News, Rochester, website)
             By Brenda Tremblay
    Ridgeway - The largest cobblestone house in North America is up for sale. Built in 1837, the Cobblestone Inn, as it's called, stands about 45 miles west of Rochester on Ridge Road, in a region famous for pre-Civil War churches, houses, and schools built with small, rounded stones embedded in mortar. It's 6,307 square feet, not including space in the attic or basement.
    When Joe and Linda Roberts first saw the Cobblestone Inn about seven years ago, they weren't in the market for a new home. They were actually looking for antique bottle caps. The Inn contained a bar, so they stopped by and feigned interest in buying the house so they'd be able to look around. When they did, they saw a disaster. The roof had enormous holes, there was extensive water damage everywhere, and not much livable space.
    But the Roberts also saw potential. They bought it and moved in with hopes of refurbishing it and turning it into a bed and breakfast and antique shop.
    Over the last few years, the couple have poured muscle, sweat, and creative power into the project, pulling up floors, stripping up to seven layers of wallpaper, and tearing down walls throughout a building that originally served as a stagecoach stop for passengers on their way to and from Rochester and Niagara Falls.
   Linda and Joe filled a thick blue binder with photos and documents about the house and notable occupants such as New York State Assemblyman Frank Waters. He lived here and used it as a post office and general store around 1900.
The Roberts also discovered tantalizing clues about its past, such as a series of hash marks in a bedroom closet and a large, unexplained space accessible only through the attic. They heard rumors of a tunnel that may have connected the basement to the nearby Oak Orchard Creek, which was at one time an important trade route for farmers and settlers.
But the Cobblestone Inn's one outstanding feature is its size. Bill Lattin, the Orleans County historian, says there's no hard evidence that the house sheltered escaping slaves or Prohibition-era smugglers. But it's an important example of an early cobblestone mansion.
It represents the first wave of prosperity in Upstate New York. For the current owners of the Cobblestone Inn, the hugeness of the place has simply become overwhelming. Now that most of house is refurbished, the Roberts say they are burnt out. They're hoping to sell the place, the furnishings, and the antique store for $349,000.
Linda Roberts says the next caretaker will be rewarded by the house itself -- with all of its stories, mysteries, and space.

    The inn is located on the northwest corner of the junction of Route 104 and Oak Orchard River Road (Orleans County Route 53). It is roughly 800 feet  west of where the highway crosses the Oak Orchard River, and thus the ground around it slopes gently eastward. The building itself is on a 1.3-acre (5,300 m2) graded lot, elevating it slightly above the intersection. There are houses to the west along either side of the road and woods to the east as it slopes to the river.
    The building itself is a two-story L-shaped structure seven bays on the long leg, paralleling Oak Orchard River Road, and four on the short. It is faced in cobblestones, five rows per Medina sandstone quoin, with a hipped roof pierced by a single central brick chimney with stepped parapet walls at the north and west ends. There is a wide plain frieze below the overhanging eaves. Besides the quoins, the sills, lintels, and water table are all sandstone as well. On the east side are two modern wooden porches at entrances along that wall. There is visible evidence of the roofs that once sheltered both.
    From the main entrance on the south wall a long central entrance hall runs north to a long four-bay room and then ends in a group of service-related rooms. The second floor has, in addition to its small guest rooms, a similar room in that space. The interior retains much of its original plaster and Greek Revival woodwork. The main staircase has its original stringers, newels and balustrade
    There is little documentation of the building's history. The arrangement of the cobblestone facing is consistent with the middle period of the style, 1836–1845. The interior layout with the large public dining room on the first floor (probably expanded later on by removing a few rooms) suggests the inn did a lot of business on a competitive stage route. It is believed to be the largest cobblestone building of the hundreds documented in New York.
   Traffic on the stage routes declined first with the opening of the Erie Canal to the south, and then the rise of the railroads in the mid-19th century. The inn survived by becoming primarily a restaurant, and saw its business revive in the days of automobile tourism in the 1920s in that capacity. In the mid-20th century, that business declined when the New York State Thruway was built to the south in Genesee County. After being vacant for a while, the inn was converted into a residence. It has remained in that use, with no alterations, since then.

The Butterfield House at 4690 Bennett's Corners Road in the town of Clarendon is one of 90 cobblestone structures in Orleans county. It was built in 1849 of lake cobblestones by James Butterfield who, with his wife Lydia, came from Rodman, Jefferson county about 1830. The original farm consisted of 100 acres. In 1852 Butterfield left home to try his luck in the California Gold Rush.  Meanwhile the family ran the farm. He didn't return until 1870. After the death of Lydia in 1887, the house was bequeathed to two of his children. After 90 years in the same family it was subsequently sold and has had several owners since then.  It was placed on the National Register in 2010.

Jackson Blood house at 142 South Main St., Lyndonville, was placed on the National Register in 2005. It was built in 1846. Jackson and Mary Blood immigrated from New Hampshire to Batavia by covered wagon pulled by oxen in 1817. Mary is said to have ridden in a chair suspended by ropes from the the top of the wagon like a swing. Later they moved to Lyndonville and built this house of stones gathered from the shore of Lake Ontario. An unusual decorative feature of the facade of the main block is a semi-elliptical stone arch in the gable which springs from the lintels of the outermost second-floor windows.

It may be just a matter of time before the long-abandoned cobblestone house at 17141 Ridge Road, opposite East Holley Road in the town of Murray will join many others that have disappeared over the years for one reason or another. It's chief problem is it is too close to the highway. It is built of a combination  of fieldstone with some lake-washed stone laid with V'd mortar joints. Stones are of different sizes, shapes and colors. The sills of of red sandstone. It is believed to have been built by Enoch Macomber, a mason who came from Vermont.


 15545 Ridge Road Route 104, corner of Lloyd Road, Town of Gaines. Said to have been built  circa  1851 by mason Alfred Rugar with large field stones. Property purchased by Oliver VanKirk in 1835

15071 Ridge Road, Town of Gaines. Built in 1836 for Lauren Billings and 
Roxanna (Rexford). He was Justice of the Peace in Gaines and served in the
 New York State Militia.

14403 Ridge Road, Childs, town of Gaines. Cobblestone School District No. 5, 
built 1849 by William J. Babbitt who also presented the bell.

14407 Ridge Road, Childs, Town of Gaines. Built in the 1840s and extensively
remodeled over the years. Below is its original appearance as built by Cyrus Witherell.


Country Life in America, February, 1916 PP 22-23

                                 A Master Builder of the Early 
                                     Nineteenth Century
                                       By Marc W. Cole

    Cyrus Witherell slight wisp of an Englishman, a carpenter, a stone mason, and a builder, came into Orleans County, New York, about 1814. He ives and labored in the village of Gaines, and the results of his work stand today, a monument to his genius and technique. The log cabin was then prosperity's home, the ox cart was the common vehicle, and the celebrated Ridge Road was not yet entirely surveyed.
    Once this Ridge Road was an Indian trail from the Genesee to the Niagara River, and it soon became the main highway for pioneers of northwestern New York. The settlement of Gaines began about 1809, and about 1816, when the stage coach line from Canandaigua to Buffalo was established via the Ridge, it became a thriving village. Witherell no doubt helped build many pioneer log cabins, but as soon as this settlement was sufficiently prosperous, his building was confined almost entirely to stone, and law brick. Taking the material at hand, the water-worn lake stones that lay in beds along this road, he wrought all the pleasing effects shown in the illustrations with the single exception of the doorway in Fig. VII, which was built many years later by home labor, but clearly shows the influence of his style in the neighborhood.
    All the houses in which those doorways stand are within a three mile radius of Gaines, and were probably built between 1820 and 1835. The lumber which this builder with ideas used was taken from standing pine woods, and it was chosen with keen an eye that flaws are not to be found even after nearly a hundred years of service.
   Fig. I is one of the earliest examples of Witherill's work. The woodwork of the doorway is very simple and the stone work is not as regular nor as cleverly done as in his later work; it seems to show a lack of confidence and freedom. In Fig. II both the doorway and the house itself show a marked improvement both in treatment and design. Perhaps his environment was more congenial, at any rate he was working for a Free Thinker, a Free Mason, and a social nabob of the pioneer days.
    The stones used in the main part of the house are perfectly matched and blended in color. Through the dark green of the ivy the look like the solid red and brown colorings of a Persian rug. There is almost no variation in the size of the flat stones used in the herring-bone pattern, and the mortar ridges between the courses are as regular as if cast in a form. The capitals to the columns at the doorway and on the left wing are hand carved; the columns are solid and were worked out and fluted by hand, showing today the tool marks even under many coats of paint.
    Witherell must have been gifted with a log of that doubtful blessing, artistic temperament; he was greatly influenced by his environment, and unless this suited, his work reflected his discomfort. This can easily be seen in the general effect of the house and doorway to it shown in Figs. II and IV. This was built only a year after the vine covered home in Fig. II, but it stares blankly into the north and the door is almost sinister in its plainness.
    The cold air of the house is relieved only by the warm colors of the stones and the darker reds of the facings to the windows, door, and corners; these could not be hidden. But on this job Cyrus was working long hours for a strict Calvinist -  a crusty, penurious landowner who meat bearing down on all the building expenses, who wanted no frills; and his architect and builder wrote large over all the house of the cheerless atmosphere in which he wrote larger over all the house of the cheerless atmosphere in which he worked. There is the same material, the same general plan followed, almost the same dimensions used as in Fig. II, the contrast is remarkable.
    Further off the Ridge Road, cobblestone were not easily found, but an outcrop of sandstone served for the material in the house whose doorway is shown in Fig. VI instead of being used only in ornamentation as in the other buildings.  Here Witherell did not get the sam durable mixture in his mortar or else material was new and unfamiliar, for the masonry is not so cleverly done, nor so well preserved, but in the woodwork he fairly outdid himself. How long the wood for it was seasoned we can only guess, but its present day conditions in spite of a lack of paint and direct exposure to the sun, tells a tale of sterling quality and masterful joinery. 
    The door and woodwork are all white pine. Wrought iron nails of the finest diameter were used, and the delicate sash mullions and mortices meet without a visible joint. It is almost impossible to find a crack in the deep-set panels below the side-lights, and there has been no paint here to protect the wood for thirty years. The columns are of course solid, and the capitals and the detail below the top sash are built up from different shapes and molding and half-round stuff, yet they look like carved work on very close inspection.
    A lusty inn-keeper once stood in the doorway of Fig. V and many a fair lady has spread her crinoline upon the balcony on which the upper door once opened. They may have watched the coming of the stagecoach, for this was a most important stop and the horses were changed before this door. Our builder used brick for this hotel, as a brickyard had been opened a few rods back from the building and the cobblestones were becoming too expensive a material for the many homes being built.
    Whether Cyrus was the originator of the herring-bone pattern with the flat lake stones, or not, it is almost certain that his designs, so very favorably situated to be seen and admired by travelers, were widely copied. Ten stagecoaches of two competing lines passed these doors each day, carrying the business and social life of western New York, and many houses of the same generals design can be found quite frequently along the valley of the Genesee and the Niagara frontier, showing where some passing admirer of Wetherell's has attempted to duplicate it. Witherell's life was spent almost
entirely in Orleans County, all his working years surely, and his style and knowledge of design must have been largely a boyhood memory only of New and Old England.
    These almost classic entrances have endured through the stagecoach days, when  they looked out on the great social and political artery of early times; through the hard and narrow days which followed, when  they served but as exits for some sad funeral train or some merry wedding party; through a time when they were sold for mortgage debt, when their owners struggled fruitlessly against diminishing returned from the land, and the sons of the household heard only the calls of urban life; until today, once more the social stream waxes before them.
  Motors flirt the highway dust their way, and their owners once more are swinging wide the doors to newer methods and to a larger life, for farms are profitable now and the pride and satisfaction of country living have returned.

Fig. I. One of the earliest examples of Witherell's handicraft, and not so cleverly executed as his later work.

Fig. III.  Built a year later than Fig II, but under unpleasant circumstances, which are reflected in the whole atmosphere of the house.

Fig IV. Doorway of Fig. III, almost sinister in its plainness. Although following the same general design and dimensions, note how much less pleasing it is than the one in Fig.II.

Fig. V. An old brick hotel by Witherell. It once had a balcony upon which the upper door opened.

Fig. VI. Sandstone was the material used here, but the masonry is not so well preserved as is the wonderfully constructed woodwork. This house has recently been torn down and the doorway now graces a new home in a neighboring city.

Fig. VII. A house near Gaines not built by Witherell or even in his time, but many years later, the doorway showing clearly the influence of his style in the neighborhood.

                                   16741 Route 104, Murray.  Photo by Larry Warren

                                           1727 Route 237, Kendall. Photo by Larry Warren


                              1879 Route 237, Kendall.  Old school house part of fire department.
                              Photo by Larry Warren.

                                                           OSWEGO COUNTY 
    City of Oswego

This cobblestone house at 147 West Sixth St. was among several demolished in August, 2015 to allow for the expansion of the hospital parking lot. The oldest of only two such residences in Oswego, it was built in 1843. The date stone in the peak of the roof had been plastered over. It served as the Oswego Orphan Asylums between February, 1852 to 1856 when a new building was erected.  It was only one of two cobblestone houses in the city. Its destruction went almost completely unnoticed. 

The Edwin Chase house at 95 W. Cayuga St., north side, is the only known cobblestone house in the city. Chase was born in Litchfield, Conn. in 1807 and moved to New York State in 1814. The date 1848 has been worked into the stones.

During a long career in public life Mr. Chase served as Customs House inspector, tax collector, boat inspector, city constable, and street inspector. He was appointed Deputy Sheriff in 1853. He died July 5, 1887 and was survived by a daughter, Mrs. William Hancock C.E. and John A. Chase. The house has regular limestone quoins. The stones are smooth, rounded and in a variety of colors. Window lintels are made of wood.

                                       City of Fulton

This is the only known cobblestone structure in the city of Fulton. First Baptist Church at the southwest corner of Utica and and third streets is a fine example of cobblestone architecture. It was originally constructed in 1841 but enlarged and remodeled in 1871, 1888. In 1914 the entire church was rebuilt. The bell tower was removed. Red sandstone for the foundation came from an old quarry on the Jennings farm off Stony Robbie Road three miles north of Fulton. The walls were constructed of cobblestones brought from Lake Ontario. The property was purchased for $150 and the church was constructed for $2,300. 


Date stone leaves doubt as to when the church was originally built.

      Originally of Greek Revival style, it later took on a Romanesque appearance. 

       New styles popular in the late 19th century included the round-top windows.


One of the finest examples of cobblestone construction is the 1846-vintage Hamilton House at 5655 Hamilton St., Mexico. The book, Landmarks of Oswego County, noted "with its wide frieze and corner pilasters, it displays the solidity and sense of permanence so closely associated with the Greek Revival style." It was constructed by Richard Hamilton and his two sons who hauled the cobblestones by oxcart from Lake Ontario after delivering produce to be shipped to Oswego by boat. David Wilcox was the architect and supervised its construction. 

Hamilton came to Mexico from Oneida county with his wife, Agnes in 1834 and purchased 5,000 acres between the village of Mexico and Mexico Point. He was a farmer. The house is constructed of coursed cobblestone of red, gray and black colors. There are heavy pilasters at the corners with heavy stone lintels and sills on the doors and windows. The outside walls of the house are 20 1/2 inches thick. The staircase is straight with square spindles and a turned newel post. It ascends to the second floor from the front door entrance. 

The Victorian-style wing, at right was built in 1879. During renovation work about 1970 the wing and porches were removed. The estate was nicknamed "The Beanery." It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

      Pratt House,  7972 Route 3, Pulaski, Town of Richland

                                   Built about 1854 by Daniel Pratt

      As far is known this is the northern-most cobblestone house in New York State.


This cobblestone structure on Tryon Road in the town of Sandy Creek was part of a frame house that burned many years ago. Photo by Shawn Doyle.


Country Life Magazine ,  June, 1917

                 An Unknown Colonial Type
          By Christina Livinson Rose

   George Moore says that art is dead, killed about 1880 by ease of locomotion. Never again shall we have art until modern civilization has come to an end, until communication between communities ceases, and segregation is restored.
  As I, an ardent western New Yorker, was endeavouring to digest these sentiments in a recent magazine, suddenly I thought, "Why! That means our cobblestone houses!" What more obvious example of art produced by a segregated people than this form of decorative veneer? Here are no bricks brought from England, to build the early settlers' homesteads, but shingle from the shores of their own Lake Ontario.
   From Oswego to Lewiston, a distance of 150 miles, men of substance, during the first half of the nineteenth century, built their houses of cobblestones, beautifully rounded, water-worn, reddish-brown stones, from one and a half to three inches in diameter. Geologically it is known as Medina sandstone, and is found on the shores of Lake Ontario. Simpler farmhouses followed the fashion in a less costly way by using the larger, rougher cobblestones, lighter brown in color, and found almost anywhere in this glacier-belabored region of western New York. There are enormous deposits of them on the beaches of the ancient glacial lakes, which preceded Lake Ontario, or in eskars, which are long, winding ridges, as steep as a hogback, formed by streams in openings under the glaciers, or in cracks in the ice. But every one who lives in a cobblestone house—no matter how far from Lake Ontario—insists that his stones came all the way from that body of water. One honest woman I did find. "Where do you suppose they got the stones for your house?" I asked her casually.
   "Oh, they just picked 'em up off the place," she answered.
The varied colors of the ordinary, common cobblestone are far more satisfying to the eye than the uniform reddish-brown of Lake Ontario's more expensive variety.
  I cannot discover who was the first man that was indigenous enough to use these pebbles on his own dwelling, but I'm sure he was a father. One day he brought home some of the smooth, round stones for the children to play with in their sand pile, and later he was rewarded with an idea. Near Lake Ontario they claim that the pioneer of the art was one Cyrus Wetherhill, English carpenter, stone-mason, and builder, whose work was described in February, 1916, Country Life.The fashion for these bejeweled dwellings spread inland sporadically for twenty five miles. People may call it a rude form of art, but it required expert knowledge of masonry to lay the stones properly.
Most of my information about cobblestone houses I gathered from the owner of a renowned cobblestone house in the depths of the country.  "Don't you ever feel seasick when you think how these stones were tossed and rolled about before they were worn round?" I asked, as I examined minutely with her the lovely, smooth stones of which her house was built.
   She smiled and passed her hand caressingly over the wall. "They're a pretty nice color, aren't they?" she said proudly. Every stone was glowing a rich, brownish red, snugly ensconced in its bed of cream plaster. "You know," she continued, "some folks think they're painted. One lady, going by here in her car—I think she was from Boston—stopped to look at the house; she said they didn't have anything like it down her way, and asked me why I didn't paint them a different color. She was surprised when I told her that that was their natural color."
  "It must have been a terrific task to bring these stones here all the way from Lake Ontario," I said.
  "Well," she replied, "the oxen used to make the trip up to the Ridge Road of the lake [the beach of the post-glacial Lake Iroquois] in a day - that's about eighteen miles from here; we've got the old yoke out in the barn now. They'd buy the stones by the bushel, and come back with them the next day. The stones were all put through a potato-sifter— that s why they're so perfectly even. And you know the way they used to build these houses, don't you?"
 I confessed my complete ignorance of masonry, and she continued.
"Well, first they built a wall of fieldstone and plaster, eighteen inches thick; when that was all done, they began on the cobblestones, laying the first row all around the house, and letting the plaster get thoroughly dry before they could begin on the next row."
 "Are there nice old mantelpieces in the house?" I asked.
 "Oh, grand! But do you know, we haven't a single real fireplace, except one down cellar. Round 1850 they didn't build fireplaces [news to me!). The old lady, whose husband built the house, was set on having a fireplace; her husband built one for her down cellar, and there it is still, with its hooks and crane."
I found later that the "grand" mantelpieces were very wonderful, but not very beautiful - acorns sprouting from all sorts of impossible places; 1850 was getting perilously near 1880.
  There are at least three distinct styles in cobblestone houses—the Georgian, the Gothic, and the Jigsaw. Examples of the last variety we find with the most elaborate details, replete with all the ugliness of a dying art. But always it is an ugliness full of the mysterious charm that we find so endearing in our ugly friends.
 I had been told of a Georgian cobblestone dwelling on a hillside above Seneca Lake. Two spinster friends of mine had tried in vain to buy it. I was searching for it one afternoon when I came on a promising crossroad. "Can you tell me if there's a cobblestone house up this hill?" I asked two men who were repairing a fence corner.
  "Yes, keep straight up on this road, and you'll find it," the elder of the two told us.
"You're sure there is one?" I asked again, conscious of my temerity, but hating to leave the road winding along the lake for a by-path of doubtful charm.
"I certainly am," he answered, "I live in it."
We climbed the steep ascent, and found a heaven—somebody's heaven. The house sat quite far back from the road. It was not "embowered in lilacs," nor "nestling under the lee of the hill"; cobblestone houses leave those feminine characteristics to wooden farmhouses; but it was all dignity and aloofness —exactly the kind of house that ought to have produced a great statesman or a president. Two giant horse chestnuts guarded the opening in the privet hedge, and incidentally greatly impeded my photographic operations. The broad brick path, overgrown with grass, led to a quaint paneled doorway, without the usual sidelights. The whole effect—the proportions of the pediment, and of the pillars supporting it—filled me with delight.
The mistress, having heard us snorting up the hill, emerged from a Doric-pillared piazza that looked down over broad and sloping pastures to the blue lake.
 "It's the old Armstrong place," she said in answer to my inquiries; "they were prominent people round here a hundred years ago—there aren't any of 'em left now. We haven't been here long. Lots of people have wanted to buy the place since we came, but we're not going to let it go."
 Inside, the mistress of the house showed us over it. We found it all interesting, but admired most perhaps the woodwork with its lovely design of oak leaves over doorways and windows. At last we reluctantly bade farewell to the owner, and made our way down the hill.
 Cobblestone art died about 1860, killed by the War perhaps, or by the cityward movement of those times, and never revived because, meanwhile, Mr. Moore's fatal 1880 had intervened.
  But the unique beauty of these old houses ought to be an inspiration to present-day builders in sections where cobblestones abound. When ivy covered—as they should be—the soft red and brown coloring of the stones seen through the dark green of the vines gives an effect similar to that of a Persian rug. It might tax the skill of the modern mason, however, to duplicate the mathematical precision of the early work. In the best of these old houses there is almost no variation in the size of the stones; they are perfectly matched and blended in color, and the mortar ridges between the courses are as regular as if cast in a form. Some of them put their best foot foremost by having the smallest and choicest of the stones at the front of the house.
    On my cobblestone expeditions, one thing always puzzled me. I laid it before a wise native. "Why have I only once in all my explorations found the third generation living in its ancestral cobblestones?'
   The wise man replied. "You never find a cobblestone house on poor land. Only the rich farmers could afford to build them. The third generation usually finds itself well enough off to retire to the city, and thus you find most of our beautiful old cobblestone houses occupied by aliens."

(From the Oswego Daily Palladium, July 17, 1917)
   Locally, there are several examples of cobblestone houses, one on West Cayuga between Seventh and Eighth, and another on West Sixth street, between Oneida and Mohawk streets.

  Accompanying the article are a number of good examples of this type of architecture. Among these are the D. E. Barnes and the Mrs. George Lewis house at Bellwood Farm, Geneva; L.A. Cooper's farmhouse on the Canandaigua State Road; the farmhouse of W.A. White, and D.E. Barnes' house on Pre-Emption Road. In addition, several schoolhouses, two churches, the home of C.L. Pardee of Phelps; the Angus house at Penn Yan and the H.B. Barden farmhouse near Hall; a cobblestone church at Webster; the general store at Victor, and several story and a half residences at Williamson.

                  Typical cobblestone school house once found in upstate New York


             Cobblestone porch, 89 N. Jefferson St., Mexico

 Vault at Riverside Cemetery, north side, County Route 22, Altmar.


           Cellar foundation at 1975 Mexico St., south side, Altmar

House at 190 Sheepskin Road, Altmar
Built 1850 Probably by John McKeniry



Pineville Methodist Church,  on the north side of Route 13 between Pulaski and Altmar, was built with a cobblestone foundation in 1850 by John McKeniry. It was dedicated in 1851 and was used for services until 1968 when when it merged with Riverside United Methodist Church in Altmar. A steeple once adorned the roof. McKeniry was born in Ireland about 1826 and died April 3, 1876 in the town of Albion, Oswego County.  He was a talented stone mason. The cobblestones were hauled from Lake Ontario. The church was completed  late in 1850 and dedicated in 1851. It was used until 1968 when it merged with Riverside United Methodist Church. It was once adorned with a steeple and bell. For many years it was owned by Dottie and Dave Balcom and housed a craft store.  McKeniry also built the cobblestone house on nearby Sheepskin Road. He may have also built the cobblestone vault at the village cemetery, as well as cobblestone foundations for local houses.

The cobblestones were were transported by horse and wagon from the shores of Lake Ontario and the Salmon River. John McEniry was the mason. The sanctuary was lit by hanging kerosene lamps. Music was provided with a pump organ. The church is now private property.

Main entrance to the church. A central staircase led to the sanctuary which during its entire existence retained the original pews and kersosene lighting fixtures.


Detail of artistic cobblestone work on Pineville Methodist Church.

The "Cobblestone School" was located on Cemetery Road in Fruit Valley, an area west
 of Oswego. It  was demolished in 1954 and was known as Common School District
 No. 2 of Oswego Town.

Oswego Palladium Times
June 13, 1953

                                    Old Fruit Valley School 
                               To Be Sold At Public Auction
                                   Original Site Was Purchased
                                      By Trustees of District
                                         127 years Ago
    The little cobblestone school house on Rural Cemetery Road, a short distance south of the four corners at Fruit Valley, and the ground on which it stands, is going under the auctioneer's hammer, probably Saturday, June 20, one week from today.
    Long in disuse, the building is in a dilapidated condition and is considered of little or no value. However, there are two plots of ground connected with it, having a combined area of about 20,000 square feet. The site is considered especially attractive for the erection of one or more dwellings.
    Officially known as Common School District 2 of Oswego Town, authorization to dispose of the property at a public sale has been given by Mrs. Francis J. Michaels, trustee, by Lewis A. Wilson, state commissioner of education. Mrs. Michaels has enlisted the aid of County Attorney Edward F. Crawford, Jr., and details for the sale are bing arranged.
    The search shows that Parcel No. 1, on which the building is located was conveyed by Eleazer Perry to Erastus Todd, Nathan Farnham and Abner Wood, trustees of the school district, on April 28, 1826. A small one-room school house was erected immediately thereafter. The four walls were made with cobblestones gathered from the nearby shore of Lake Ontario. Whether this was the type of construction of the original building or whether it was an ordinary frame structure is not known. At any rate, the present cobblestone building has been there as long as the oldest resident of Fruit Valley can recall.
    As the population of Fruit Valley, or Union Village, as it was originally called, increased, the school trustees saw the possible need for a large school. So they purchase a much large plot of ground immediately to the south. This plot, composed of 14,000 square feet, was deeded to the school district by William and Sophia Clark on Nov. 2, 1871. Whether the trustees had plans for erecting a larger school is not known. At least no such plans were ever carried out.
                                      Used Until 1914
   The school was used until 1914, when arrangements were made for sending children to Oswego city schools. Miss Grace Parkinson was the last teacher.This arrangement has since been in effect. Asa C. Pease, a lifelong resident of Rural Cemetery Road, who is now in his 90th year, attended the Cobblestone School until he was 12 years old. He is one of the oldest residents of the area. Many who became men and women of prominence in Oswego or other places, attended school here. Among them was John B. Alexander, attorney-at-law, owner and publisher of the Oswego Daily Times, who for many years was Oswego postmaster.
    An official survey of the school property recently made, shows that a small wooden addition at the rear of the school building extends a short distance over the westerly line of the original parcel and onto land owned buy Carl Irwin, owner of all the property along Rural Cemetery Road, between Route 104 and the school house.
    Property on the south and west of School Parcel No. 2, is presently owned by Daniel H. Conway, whose extensive residence is almost directly across the highway from the school property and the auction sale may be featured by some spirited bidding, it was indicated today.

                                            OTSEGO COUNTY

This house at 6923 Route 51, West Exeter, was erected in 1851 according to the
 date stone.

                      Date stone on house at 6923 Route 51, West Exeter.

           School house at corner of Routes 23 and 24, Exeter, built 1849.

                                       SARATOGA COUNTY

                              The Olmstead homestead, at 545 Route 67, Maltaville, built of
                              field stones, ca. 1845, has long been a popular bed and breakfast.


This much-storied house at 2523 Lower Lake Road, Seneca Falls, west side, was a stop on the Underground Railroad. It was built in 1830 by Julius Bull and named the "Ferry Farm," near the site of the first ferry across Cayuga Lake.  It is a symmetrical five-bay house of Federal style architecture.

                           (Then - early 1900s)

                       First Methodist Episcopal Church of Junius was erected in 1839
                       is of Greek Revival style. A wooden porch is said to have once
                       extended across the front with wooden steps on all three sides.  


                         The church today is privately owned. Date stone also 
                         contains two verses from Psalms. It  has artistic stained
                         glass windows.
                           These are the ruins of a small cobblestone barn with
                           brick quoins that still existed in 1993 on the J. Bishop 
                           farm on the south side of Dublin Road near the corner 
                           of Justice Olp Road in the town of Junius, 1.7 miles 
                          west of Dublin. Taken in 1993 by Glenn Hinchey.  

                         The typical five-bay generic Federal-style Holmes House 
                         at 1111  Stone Church Road, Junius, north side, is on the
                         National Register of Historic Places. 

                           Gassner farm house at 1079 Stone Church Road, Junius, 
                           built   in the 1830s or 1840s, has a panoramic view of the

                   Rear view of the Gassner farm house with interesting window

Same view in 1960.

    View  of north side of Gassner Farm house.

                              Smoke house  at the rear of the house at
                                        the  Gassner farm.

                       This five-bay Greek Revival farmhouse at 1229 Birdsey
                       Road, Junius, was destroyed by fire on the afternoon of 
                       January 10, 2018. It was on the National Register of Historic
                       Places. It was typical of this area, made of rounded field multi-
                       colored field cobbles with lime mortared "V" joints. The
                      Victorian era porch was added later. The Greek Revival 
                       features of the entrance which is out of sight include 
                       square pilasters and half side-lights. It appeared to be nearly
                       identical to the house at 1111 Stone Church Road. 

                           At the time of the fire it was the home of Walter and Doris

                              House as it appeared in the 1960s.

                             This mint-condition Neo-Classical style house at 1370 Route 318, 
                             Junius,  is on the National Register of Historic Places. The owner
                             was able to track down records showing it was built in 1837 
                             for John Graves, a local farmer. 

                               This house at 5182 Route 89, Varick,  is The Inn at Varick Winery. It
                                has been heavily, but tastefully, altered. First the large Italianate 
                                brackets were added in the 1870s to make it look more modern
                               with the many Italianate houses going up. Then much later, a 
                               highly compatible Classic Revival front portico overlooking
                               Cayuga Lake and a large side port came between 1910 and 1920.

   Julius Bull is said to have built this house in 1833.


        3333 Ritter Road, corner of Aunkst Road, Fayette.

                         This house is located at 3792 Post Road, Town of Fayette.
                        The upper floors were added to this original Federal-style 
                         house in the early 1900s. The Freier family has owned
                        it for two generations. Prior to that it was owned by the 
                        Pontius family. The cobblestone portion dates to at least the 

                                The Woodworth house at the end 936 Darling Road, Tyre, 
                                was built of field stone in 1844.

                             This striking four-column Greek Revival house, ca. 1830s or 
                             1840s, is part of the Smith Farms at 533 Dublin Road, Junius. 
                             It was built for John Carmen, a prosperous farmer. A modern 
                            structure connects the main building with a smaller one-story building
                           There are two principle entrances, one in front and one on the
                            east side. It is built of field stone.

                                             Same place in 1960

(Following from the Geneva Times, September 16, 1970)

Stephen Smith home - One of the best cobblestone houses
By Betty Auten
   JUNIUS - To many people, reference to old houses means just one thing - cobblestone. This house owned by Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Smith on the Dublin Road is one of the best examples of the beauty in cobblestone cobblestone houses. It is probably one of the largest in the county. In addition to the main part of the house, there is also a wing made of cobblestone.
    Mr. and Mrs. Smith have had title of the house since 1963. Apparently the builder and first owner of the house was John Carman.  No mention is made of when the house was built but in June 1876, John Carman in his will left the property to Townsend Carman.
    It was the will of Thurston Carman, issued in 1895 and recorded in 1903 which creates a historical background for this particular house. In his will Townsend Carman noted: "I bequeath to my wife C.M.T. Carman one sorrel horse with hay and grains for the horse. Also, a buggy, cutter and harness. I leave her my household furniture, the use of the parlor, sitting room, bedroom, the room over  the parlor, bed and clothes-press.
    "I also leave her privileges in the cellar, the carriage room in the barn and one stall for her horse. She is to receive the garden and all the fruit on the farm except the apples."
    To his son John W. Carman, he left the remainder of the property with the exception of $250 for each of his two grandsons.
    In 1919 the house became the property of Oswald J.C. Rose. In 1928 through Jonas Hulse it was owned by the National Bank of Geneva and was sold to John Yates in 1928.

                     Hicks House, 1515 O'Dell Road, east side, Junius

                               543 Bedell Road,  Junius. Cobblestone portion painted 

                                   This cobblestone building was once located near the corner of
                                   Birdsey (County Route 106) and Bedell roads. It appears on
                                  the 1859 map of Seneca county. It was a small, crudely-
                                  built structure  with wooden corner boards. Photo taken by
                                  Glenn Hinchey in 1993. and used by permission, was demolished
                                  about 1998.

                    House at 630 Dublin Road in the hamlet of Junius. Built
                           of field stone.


                                                    East wall of house.

                          This is the same house in the 1950s

                           The Lay house 1175 Old School House Road, town of Tyre, was
                         built by Hiram Lay, circa 1847-48. There was once a cobblestone
                         barn (photos below)  across the road to the north. It was demolished
                         when the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge acquired the property. The
                         cupola from the barn was re-installed on the roof of the house.
                         The porch was added later. There is a brick smokehouse on the rear
                         slope. The house has an original bake oven built into an inside
                        chimney wall.

                              The Lay Farm complex in 1876 - From the History of Seneca County.

                                Cobblestone carriage barn on Lay farm was built in 1859
                                according to date stone.  It was demolished  in the mid 1980s.


                                             Carriage house, June, 1964
Cobblestone Cellar Walls

 4593 Dilt Road, Varick

 4511 Route 96, Varick

 4315 Route 414, Fayette

                           The one-story lake-washed  cobblestone house at the rear
                           of a later  period frame house stood at the southwest 
                           corner of Routes 318 (Old State Road) and 414; both are
                           now demolished. For years the frame house was the 
                          home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Strong. The cobblestone
                          house was built by a man named Goodwin. This now the 
                          site of a Byrne Dairy store.
STEUBEN COUNTY                          


                            This home at 12O W. Washington St., Bath, was built 1851
                            by mason James Plaisted for Steuben County Judge 
                            Washington Barnes. Wellington Salt was the architect.
                            It is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture.
                           Once it was also owned by Henry Hull, editor of the 
                           Steuben Courier. The use of cobblestone construction
                           was unique to this region. The porch is a 20th century 
                           addition. The walls are 22 inches thick and the house
                           has four fireplaces. The large basement was once
                           living quarters for servants as well as a hiding place
                           for escaping slaves during the Civil War.

Built about 1850 by mason James Plaisted for Colonel Ira Davenport as the gatehouse to his estate, this building also served as the office for the nearby Davenport estate on Cameron Street in Bath. It stood until 1970 when it was demolished to make way for the Southern Tier Expressway (Route 17). In 1964 the structure was given to the Davenport Public Library which in turn granted permission to the Steuben County Historical Society to use as its archives and research center.   It was basically of  Greek Revival style,  touches of Queen Anne Style architecture obviously added later.

                                "Stonen" at Hornell, N.Y.

Steuben County's other cobblestone house, called “Stonen” at 91 Hill St. in Hornell, was built in 1855 in  Tuscan Villa style by David Wellever, a local brick maker, for E.T. Young who came from France. The washed cobblestones were hauled here from the shores of Lake Ontario. Some elements such as the large windows on the main floor and brackets are of 1870s vintage. The windows are said to have come from France. The porch which provides shelter at the main door and a balcony for the upper-level French doors, has a bracketed cornice and a wrought iron balustrade at the upper level. At either side of the porch are French doors with half-round lights in each door leaf and a console-supported stone hood. Cut limestone is also used for the quoins, lintels, and sills. The house is on a large lot amidst mature trees, on a steep-sloping site overlooking the city. The front door is connected to the street by a cascading sidewalk and stair. At the street frontage is a ca.1900 concrete retaining wall inlaid with rows of cobbles which mimics the exterior walls of the house.

                             "Stonen" in 1873   

                                             "Stonen"as it appeared in the early 20th Century

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                                                 WYOMING COUNTY

The old  Fisher cobblestone homestead at 1132 Silver Lake Road, Town of Covington, held many happy memories of the 19th century.

"Historical Wyoming"

(Published by Wyoming County Historian)
January, 1980

The Old Stone House On The Hill
       By John and Mary Wilson

    Once in a while, we come across a packet of yellowed pages that lift the lid on the past and afford us a glimpse into the lives of those who have gone before. A glimpse of their thoughts, their dreams, their loves, their heartaches. Sometimes the thoughts on these faded pages evoke a familiar response in our hearts. The individuals who wrote them become alive to us again - not just names on gravestones but living souls capable of the same emotions that we can feel.
    Such a person was Philena Keith Fisher. Who was Philena Keith Fisher? A faded obituary tells us the simple story of her life but the poems that she wrote tells us more. This obituary and a copy of her poems was brought to us by Tom Maimone who had previously purchased them at Mrs. Merle Webster's auction in Warsaw a few months ago.*
    Philena was born in Wyoming April 29, 1831, the daughter of Daniel and Louise Holland Keith. Daniel and probably his wife came from Aberdeen, Scotland and had settled in Wyoming when it was a hamlet of only six houses. It was here Philena grew up. Because it was there and because of the refinement of her writing, she probably attended Middlebury Academy. The Keiths were Presbyterians and her obituary reveals that she was a fine musician with a beautiful soprano voice. In the accompanying poem, she writes that standing on the hill she could see the spire of the church where she used to sing soprano in the choir.
 At the age of 19 she married Noah J. Fisher of Covington (born March 2, 1828) and went to live in the “Old Stone House on the Hill”.
Her husband’s father was Thomas Fisher who came from Sheldon, Mass. to Covington in 1817. Here is the census record of the family in the
Stone House on the Hill in 1850:
Thomas Fisher - 54 - b. Mass.
Desire Fisher - 50 - b. Mass.
Sarah Fisher - 20 - b. N.Y.
Noah Fisher - 22 - b. N.Y.
Thomas M. Fisher - 30 - b. N.Y.
Mary M. Gater - 36 - b. N.Y.
Martha Gater - 9 - b. N.Y.
Charles Garter - 7 - b. N.Y.
Philena Fisher - 19 - b. N.Y.
Lucius Olmstead - 24 - b. N.Y.
Only a stone house could have resisted the pressure of such a family!
Noah Fisher’s obituary reveals that he too, was an accomplished singer and that the Fishers were well known in the area for their musical
talents. We are told that their home was the focal point for the musicians of the region, so we can imagine that the rafters of the old stone house on the hill must have echoed with song on many occasions. According to this
record, for nearly 40 years, their home was a veritable conservatory of sacred music and all the music lovers who frequented that happy
home felt as did the sweet singer of Isreal, “Oh come, let us sing unto the Lord anew song, let us make a joyful noise unto the God of our Salvation.”
  Although apparently it was a happy marriage, strong family ties led to separate burials. He was buried with the Fishers in the Pearl Creek Cemetery and she with the
Keiths in Wyoming. We do not know for certain who built the stone house but we are quite sure that it was built in the l840’s.[Note: 1835] Thomas Fisher’s ownership of the land on which it stands goes back
before the records begin in 1841 in the County Clerk’s office in Warsaw, so it’s likely that he had it built. If so, it was in the Fisher family for over one hundred years. It has stood there, silently for nearly 140 years but if it could speak what stories it could tell of the people within its sturdy walls.

“The Stone House on the Hill”
     By Philena Keith Fisher
When the day is gently fading,
And the busy day is o’er
I put down my work or reading,
And I close the open door.

Then I take a quiet journey
To the land of long ago;
See once more the dear old faces
Of the loved ones I used to know.
With what cheer they come to meet
I the twilight soft and still,
As I reach the dear old homestead,
Dear Stone House upon the hill.

Hand in hand we walk together, up the path
that windeth through
Beds of blossoms, bright and fragrant,
Laden with the evening dew.

The tall locusts nod their welcome,
As I pass across the sill
Of that home where love enfolds me,
Dear Stone House upon the hill.

From the window facing eastward,
From the windows facing west,
I can see the waving cornfields,
See the woodland’s leafy crest.

From the top of the long gulf hill,
Pointing heavenward, see the spire
Of the old Church where I used to
Sing soprano in the choir.

There the brook winds through the gulf
On its journey to the mill,
Sweet memories lie about thee,
Dear Stone House on the hill.

All the world for me grows brighter,
And sweet peace my heart doth fill,
When I’ve been to the old homestead,
Dear Stone House on the hill.

Noah and Philena moved to Warsaw in 1876 where they lived until 1898 when they returned to Wyoming and remained there until Mr. Fisher’s death on March 3,1901. Mrs. Fisher lived with her daughter,  Mrs. William Fisher for 15 years prior to her death on March 12, 1915 at the age of 84.  She was survived by five other daughters - Mrs. Grace Blasdell of Oakland, Calif., Mrs. W. E. Webster of Warsaw, Mrs. Louis Lower of Brooklyn, Mrs. Jean Weill and Miss Gertrude Fisher of New York; a son, Thomas Fisher of Covington; twelve grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Her obituary appeared in the Wyoming Reporter, March 17, 1915.
    Her son Thomas, retained the old stone house and farm in Covington until his death, after which time it remained under the ownership of his sons  and daughters for several years. His son Charles lived on the farm and operated it until his death in 1951. Subsequently, the remaining brothers and sisters sold the farm and so the Old Stone House which for so long had been a part of the lives of the Fisher family passed into other hands.

                              The same place as it appears today. Notice how rear of the house 
                               is just rough field stone.   Photos by Larry Warren of Wyoming, N.Y.

                               Cox-Misisco house, 853 East Road, Wyoming, N.Y., built 1835. 
                               Photos by Larry Warren.

One of the few cobblestone houses to be found in southwestern New York State is located at 630 Route 19 near Warsaw. It was built by Alexander MacFarland for Samuel Gorton in 1840 and is said to have taken six years to complete. Samuel and his wife, the former Betsey Hamilton, came to this area from Edinburg, Saratoga county.

                                1015 East Bethany Road, East Bethany.  Photos by Larry Warren,
                                Wyoming, N.Y.

                           Miller-Bleier House, 716 Starr Road, Wyoming. Photos by Larry
                           Warren, Wyoming, N.Y.

Prior to the removal of the belfry.
                                                                                                   Photo by Larry Warren, Wyoming, N.Y.

Warsaw Academy at 73 South Main St., is the only cobblestone structure in the village of Warsaw. It is a Greek Revival public building that served as a school for Warsaw from 1846 until 1873. Chester Hurd built the Warsaw Academy from stones supplied by local boys from the East Hill for the price of a circus ticket.  This is the only cobblestone structure in the village. It is a Greek Revival public building that served as a school for Warsaw from 1846 until 1873. Today it is the local Masonic Temple. THE cobbles range from one-half to two inches in height and from two to four inches in length. The cobblestones are laid five to a quoin. Warsaw voters authorized $1,500 for its construction including windows six lights wide and three lights high. The cobbles range from one-half to two inches in height and from two to four inches in length. The cobblestones are laid five to a quoin. Warsaw voters authorized $1,500 for its construction including windows six lights wide and three lights high. The cupola has been removed.

                                    Sanford Road, Perry. Photos by Larry Warren

                                   Exchange Street Road, Attica. Photos by Larry Warren

           513 Route 238, Attica. Built in 1841 (Most likely more modern roof later added)

       Cobblestone smoke house, 7591 Old State Road, Covington. Photos by Larry Warren

This fine cobblestone house is at 4984 Middle Reservation Road, Town of Castile.  Built in 1844 at cost of $3,000.  I had a nice talk with the owners.  They are really proud of their money pit.  The two columns on the front are original, the came from the quarry in LeRoy, N.Y.   The two roofs on each side of the front exposure are knee wall attics,  there is a maids room on the back on the second floor that does not have access to the front room on the second floor. - Larry Warren

                        Detail of front of house showing date stone.  Photo by Larry Warren 

                                                YATES COUNTY
(Old prints from Combination Atlas Map of Yates County, N.Y. Everts, Ensign & Everts, Philadelphia, Pa., 1876).

                              Jephthah Earl House, 100 Old State Road, (Route 14) Penn Yan
                             was built in 1844 of washed cobblestones hauled 45 miles from
                              near Sodus Point by stone boat.

                                        Same place in 1876

This farm house at 612 Route 14, Town of Benton, was built between 1831 and 1834 by Charles Angus, a prosperous farmer and entrepreneur. It is constructed  of variously shaped colored field cobbles laid four rows to a quoin in a rough herringbone pattern. The house and barn complex were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. The front of the house facing east is dominated by rare and unique Regency style porch. 
Tradition has it that the cobblestones were gathered from the surrounding fields and the mortar was made from limestone gathered on the farm and burned in a kiln on the hill in back of the house. The lumber also came from the farm. Seven wagon loads of stones were hauled from the Lake Ontario shoreline. Of typical of cobblestone construction, the walls of this house are 18 to 20 inches thick. The stone for the quoins and lintels came from a quarry near Waterloo.  The rear was built first.  The Angus family had a coal yard at the nearby Fall Brook Railroad station called "Angus." 

                                        Same scene in the 1950s. Who moved the tree?

                                       Cobblestone Springs -  Spence Farm

This house, at 4306 Lakemont-Himrod Road, Dundee, was built by a 
mason named Lemoreaux in 1848, of well-round cobblestones from near
Sodus Point. 

Spence Home at Lakemont Has Absorbing History
        (By A.H. Richards)
Watkins Express, Watkins Glen, January 3, 1940

    One of the outstanding farm homes in the Lake Country is that of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Spence of Lakemont. The cobblestone house with its 21 rooms is nearly a century old and affords a commanding view of Seneca Lake and the purple chain of hills to the east.
   Around the Spence home, there is a spirit of friendliness, a spirit that has been handed down through four generations of the same family. The house is rich in heritage, history, romance and is a paradise to the person who loves through spacious halls and large rooms and browse in a huge attic under the eaves ion a rainy afternoon.
   The picturesque house on the Lakemont-Himrod road, was constructed to last for years. Its walls are 30 inches thick and its cellar foundation to this day is a perfect piece of expert masonry.
    The history of the Spence family is one of great interest. The great grandfather of the present owner, Robert Spence Sr., was John Spence who left his native Ireland to settle in Seneca County. His son, Mr. Spence's grandfather, Dr. Henry Spence settled in Lakemont on the farm in 1818. It was Dr. Henry Spence that constructed the large dwelling. Work began in 1848 and was completed in 1851 at a cost of $30,000. Last summer, Mr. William Shaw, Construction Superintendent on the Dundee Central School, visited the Spence home and was thrilled by its architecture and made an estimate of the present day cost of construction. Mr. Shaw's estimate was $150,000.
    To construct the building, field stones gathered from all parts of the farm were saved for 12 years. These were used in the foundation. The cobblestones were shipped in from Sodus Point by boat to Starkey Point, where the material was hauled to the site by a team of oxen, a distance of 13 miles. The dwelling is unchanged with the exception f the slate roof which was removed about 10 years ago by the present owner.
    The next generation to live under its friendly roof was Dr. Byron Spence, a prominent horticulturist, who attended meetings all over the country. Dr. Spence was a Lieutenant in the Quartermaster Corps during the Civil War. Dr. Spence used the dwelling somewhat as a hospital. He died in 1884. His son, Robert Spence Sr., is carrying the traditions of his ancestors and Robert Spence, Jr., apparently is falling in his father's footsteps. Both are justly proud of the place they call home and whose "latch string is always loosened."
    The elder Mr. Spence, one of Yates County's popular and prominent residents, was born on the spacious farm. He lived on the place until he was 20 years old and then began an interesting career of adventure and business. He took a position with the Barker, Rose & Clinton Hardware firm in Elmira. He worked for the Elmira firm for four or five years, selling to contractors, builders and mill owners.
    While in Elmira he went into partnership with the old E.S. Brown & Company Shoe firm at 109 Water St. Mr. E.S. Brown now resides in Horseheads. After five years in the shoe business, Mr. Spence purchased his interest and the next two years he spent in Northern Canada in a silver camp at Elk Lake, 60 miles north of Cobalt. This was from 1908 to 1910. He loves to recall those days of prospecting with its winter hardships and its pioneer life. The two year stay in Canada resulted in a slight financial return for Mr. Spence.
    In Canada he did contracting work, sinking shafts for silver, surface work, etc. His brother, Theodore Spence, died and Mr. Spence returned to the farm home for the winter. He managed the farm for about a year and then left for Texas, where he planned to invest in some irrigated fruit lands in the Rio Grande Valley. He spent two months in the southwest and changed his mind. While in Texas, he visited Mexico and of course went to the bull fights which were not to his liking. He still has a souvenir of the bullfight, one of the sharp pointed instruments the matadors use to dispatch the bull.
    Leaving the southwest, he became a salesman, traveling through Ohio and Kentucky. Later he was a salesman working out of Syracuse, where he met the future Mrs. Spence. Mr. and Mrs. Spence will observe their 25th wedding anniversary this coming January. Mr. and Mrs. Spence began their married life on the place of his birth. The property was then owned by his nephew, Byron Spence and Mr. Spence purchased the property in 1929. He has operated the farm for the past 25 years.
    A decade ago, Mr. Spence began to raise turkeys and today is considered an authority on them. More than 1,000 birds on his ranch were ready for the Turkey Day and Christmas.  Mr. Spence raises his birds on wire from the time of birth until ready for the table.  The birds are fed under a scientific plan and a turkey's diet contains a regular ground mash, consisting of proteins, fat, fibre, carbohydrates, dried skim milk, liver, meat, fish, dehydrated alfalfa leaf meal, wheat bran, corn gluten, soy bean oil, pulverized heavy barley, ground yellow corn, pulverized heavy oats, fortified cod liver oil, salt and manganese sulphate. The manganese sulphate, Mr. Spence regards as very important in raising a perfect bird. Only a quarter of a pound is used in a ton of feed. It is a preventative of a malformation similar to rickets. Gravel of course is placed in the feet troughs to grind the feed up in the gizzard.
    Raising turkeys on wire, instead of allowing freedom of the range, results in a better flavored bird, as the animal easts no grubs or worms. Mr. Spence through the years has been cross breeding, making a better bird, better flavored meat and one that will fit a roasting pan perfectly. His stock is composed of White Hollands, Bourbon Reds, Black Spanish breeds. He has crossed White Hollands and Bourbon Reds, which has resulted in a very good turkey.
    The best selling turkey, Mr. Spence said, is one that weighs 12 to 15 pounds. This year there was a fine crop of turkeys and Mr. Spence believes that a good season for the grower was due to the war in Europe. "Most people in this country were so thankful this year that this country is not at war, that they wrapped themselves around a a pretty good turkey," he said.
    The price was about the same as last year, a home dressed, number one turkey sold a little higher than the western turkey. Strange as it seems, Mr. Spence says that although Thanksgiving is known as "Turkey Day," there is a bigger demand at Christmas. 
    In addition to 1,000 turkeys, on his 260 acre farm, Mr. Spence has 40 to 50 sheep, 25 head of cattle, one to two hundred capons,s a few dozen pigeons and three dogs. Despite the large number of animals around the farm, Mr. Spence has a wish for a couple of beautiful peacocks and he says he is going to have two another year.
   Mr. Spence holds a deep interest in persons and books. He is an ardent reader of newspapers and periodicals and boasts of a well stocked library.


The Barden Home at 2492 Ferguson Corners Road  was built in 1843, according to date stone over the doorway. Presumably the structure at the rear was built at the same time. It was built by George Barden of field cobblestones.

                                 The Barden farm in 1870.

The Nichols House at 1980 Alexander Road, Town of Benton. This Greek Revival house was built by mason Purton Grow (sometimes listed as "Elmer") between 1838 and 1844 for William Nichols. Grow reportedly had worked on the Erie Canal and then turned to house building. The cobbles were hauled from Lake Ontario by ox team. It took three years to collect enough stones. Small red sandstones dominate the front facade. 

 This is a one and a half story Greek Revival structure built of red sandstone, lake washed cobbles. It was placed on the National Register in 1992.


The Morrison-Wagner-Guyle House at 105 Highland Drive, Penn-Yan  was built in 1834 for Roderick Morrison, a country gentleman from the South,  by his father and is said to be the earliest form of cobblestone masonry in the area. Fieldstones of greatly varying sizes from 2 to 10 inches in diameter are laid in random pattern, some being split to prevent a smooth face to the weather. Corners and openings are framed with brick to give the nessary straight, square surfaces at these points. This form of construction was used in the 18th century in the Hudson Valley.
                             Daniel Supplee House

The Daniel Supplee farmhouse is located at 4306 Lakemont-Himrod Road. near Dundee. The farmhouse was built about 1843 and remodeled prior to 1876. It began as a vernacular, "L"-shaped structure. It is of the late Federal or early Greek Revival style architecture and built of a variety of colored and irregularly shaped field cobbles. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.

                                                   Bates House

Bates House is located 6521 Route 364 Town Line Road in the Town of Middlesex.  This is a one-story, five-bay rectangular house reputed to have been built as a tenant house in 1836. It is an intact example of a cobblestone farm house of that period. It was placed on the National Register in 1992.

                                         Potter School House

Potter Rural School District No. 5 was located on West Swamp Road in the town of Potter  and was built in 1838.  Very few round school houses are known to exist. It replaced an earlier school on the site housed in a log cabin. It was 30 feet in diameter and 11 feet high. Seats were circular.  It was heavily damaged beyond repair in a fire on January 20, 1920. At the time there were 10 students and Miss Gertrude Wheeler was the teacher. After being deemed impractical to restore, it was replaced by a wooden structure that was later moved to Castle Street in Rushville after Middlesex Valley Central School was formed. The property reverted to the Underwood family.
-- Yates County Historical Society

Leach House,  2601 Route 14, Town of Torrey, built in 1837. Three sides are herringbone stone pattern George R. Young was the mason. The house was in the Leach family for six generations.

Olney-Ryal House, 1250 Route 14, Town of Benton. This was built for the Ryal family in 1835. It features unusual triangular windows that solved the problem of limited space caused by the sloping roof.  Also unusual is the large ground floor wing on the north side, as well as the plaster cornices on the first floor rooms. Porch is a later addition.  This house  is immaculately well maintained.

Scattered throughout the countryside acre numerous where meat and fish were cured. This one is at 1050 Italy Valley Road near Naples. They were the only means of preservation before the advent of refrigeration. A smoke house is a small enclosed out building, often with a vent, and a single entrance with no windows. Smoking meat was a European tradition carried over into this country. The meat, such as pork, was heavily salted  and then smoked over a slow burning wood fire.  The upper areas of smokehouses are blackened with smoke. A meat house has a solid wood floor, a smokehouse will have a brick pit in the center of the dirt floor, or sometimes a broken/cast-off cast iron pot, for the fire.


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