Polly Crispell Cottage // c.1700

Another of Hurley’s stone houses is this beauty, known as the Polly Crispel Cottage. The house was built before the American Revolution c.1700 by an Anthony Crispell, a cordwainer. The home was likely a half cape in form with the door and two windows to its right. The other half was added at a lower level later on with the floors uneven, likely in 1735 where a construction date plaque read. The home also features a dutch door, which I wish we had more of in New England.

Abram Elmendorf House // c.1789

As the Elmendorf family put its roots down in Hurley, Ulster County, New York, the descendants built stone houses as a nod to their ancestors of Dutch heritage, following those building traditions. This five-bay stone house was built around 1789 and is a vernacular Federal home with Dutch and English building influence. The property exhibits shed dormers and a Colonial Revival portico, but exudes 18th century charm.

James Spaulding House // c.1840

This Greek Revival cape house in Cavendish, Vermont sits along a rural road and is one of the few dozen examples of Snecked Ashlar buildings in this part of the state. In the early 1830s, skilled masons from Scotland settled in central Vermont to work on building projects there. A number of these builders, mainly from the Aberdeen area, were experienced in snecked ashlar construction, in which plates of stone are affixed to a rubblestone wall. This home was built for James Spaulding, and remained in the Spaulding family for generations, lovingly maintained as an excellent example of a Snecked Ashlar home in Vermont.

Barber-Perry Farmhouse // 1843

Known locally in Canton as the “Stone House,” the Barber-Perry House was built in 1843 by two brothers, Volney and Linus Barber, seemingly for their brother, Samuel. They used local stone for the construction, that was quarried to the north of the property. The house was bought by George W. Lamphier in 1866 and by Thomas M. Perry in 1944. Perry was a physicist working on gears for naval ordinance during the war. He worked in a shop on his property and soon started the T.M. Perry Company in 1955. The property here is still a working dairy farm, known as Perrys Dairy, and is reportedly the last working dairy farm in town!

Case Tavern // 1786

I now have a new favorite house! This STUNNING stone Georgian house with gambrel roof is located on a quiet country road in Canton, Connecticut. The house was built in 1786 by Dan Case (1761-1815), who served in the Revolutionary Army as a boy. Case operated the building as a tavern with an events/meeting hall in the third floor. Daniel later moved to Ohio, likely for more opportunity. The property is a single-family home and just looks so dang cozy. I am picturing small candles lit in the windows, with wreaths and snow dusting the lawn. Is it too early to dream about old houses dressed up for the Holidays?

Mathes House // c.1835

Benjamin Mathes built this stone home around 1835 for his family, of the same stone he used to build a store across the street. The Federal/Greek Revival building has amazing granite quoins (stone blocks at the corners) and lintels (blocks above the windows). Even though there are later alterations, including the bracketed door hood and massive central dormer at the roof, the home remains one of the most visually stunning buildings in town.

Israel Moore Snecked Ashlar House // c.1846

Located on Main Street in Chester, Vermont, you can find this perfect little Snecked Ashlar home. The building technique is very local and can be found in just a handful of towns in central Vermont. Scottish-born masons from Canada introduced the technique to local masons while erecting a mill in nearby Cavendish in 1832, and within a few years, the first stone structure in North Chester village was built by local masons. Soon after, the local school, church and other homes were all constructed the same way. This home outside the Stone Village district was built later than almost all other examples in town. It features Federal and Greek Revival detailing with a central fluted fan at the door and large gable-front roof.

Have you heard of Snecked Ashlar before?

Old Stone Studio // c.1820

Just a stone’s throw away from the Marion Town Hall and Elizabeth Taber Library (yes, pun intended), this beautiful 200 year old stone building oozes charm. The building was constructed around 1820 as a salt works storage facility, and is an extremely rare surviving storage facility associated with the early 19th century salt industry. While many storage facilities we know today are void of architecture and soul, this building looks like it was plucked from the French countryside. The salt industry in Massachusetts began on Cape Cod during the Revolution. Salt was a vital necessity for the preservation and curing of fish and meat for sale in this country and overseas. According to local lore, the Old Stone Studio was originally “a place for the conversion of sea water into salt.” Around the Civil War, the building was being used as a whale oil refinery, a fitting use for a fireproof structure. It had fallen into disrepair by the 1880s, until New York magazine editor Richard Watson Gilder bought and restored it as a studio for his wife, artist Helena de Kay Gilder. Gilder renovated the building in the early 1880s as the town of Marion was becoming a vibrant summer colony. He added a massive stone fireplace and new windows to flood the interior with natural light. The towering fireplace, with its 9-foot long mantle, was apparently designed by leading 19th-century American architect and Gilder’s friend Stanford White of McKim, Mead & White. The fireplace provided a stunning backdrop for guests, including President Grover Cleveland and First Lady Frances Folsom Cleveland, who summered in town. Ms. Gilder even painted the First Lady in the studio, and hosted her on occasions.

South Reading Union Meetinghouse // 1844

A very rare example of a snecked ashlar church, the South Reading Union Meeting House in Reading, Vermont remains in a great state of preservation, and a testament to innovative building styles seen in rural parts of New England. Built in 1844, the stone church was built by local stone masons based on the unique regional stone construction method. The church features a triangular stone in the facade which shows its construction date. There is something so stunning about stone churches..

Snecked House // c.1850

In the early 1830s, skilled masons from Scotland and Ireland came to central Vermont to work on building projects. A number of these workers, mainly from the Aberdeen area, and specialized in a specific building style in which plates of stone are affixed to a rubblestone wall. This method of bonding stonework is so prevalent in Scotland and
Ireland it has been referred to in some journals as ‘Celtic Bond’, but in Vermont, it is known as “snecked ashlar”. The mixture of stone sizes and colors produces a strong bond and an attractive finish. This home is a rare example in the state, which is estimated to have about 50 of these homes left. I could not locate any information on the owners of the home, but the house has seen better days, with the wooden front porch shifting away from the main house. Also, if you look closely, you can see the original wood shingle roofing breathing under the sheet metal roof!