One of the most stunning summer “cottages” in Newport, Rhode Island is this stone behemoth named “Belair”. The house is set back way off the street and was one of the first summer estates built in this section of Newport. Belair was built in 1850 for New York oil baron H. Allen Wright in the Italianate style and constructed of roughly dressed stone and was originally about half of the size of the current footprint. The mansion was designed by architect Seth C. Bradford, who is also credited as architect of the similarly designed Chateau-sur-Mer, built one year later. Wright sold this house to George H. Norman two years after its completion. Norman (1827-1900), founded the Newport Daily News in 1848 and made his fortune as an engineer, first establishing gas works and later water works systems across New England, New York, and the Midwest. Norman made a fortune, and renovated and expanded his mansion in 1870 from plans by Newport architect Dudley Newton, with grand Second Empire additions, including the high convex-mansard corner tower. The original four acre Belair property has been extensively subdivided, and this house now occupies a lot of about an acre; with the original outbuildings sold off, and Belair is now 11 condominium units!
For my last building feature in New York in this series, I feature the Roosa-Van Deusen House on Hurley’s Main Street village of old stone homes. This house dates to 1744 and was built upon land owned by Jan Alderts Roosa, who emigrated to New Netherland (New York) with his family on the Spotted Cow in 1660, when he was 14 years old. The house was likely built by Jan Van Deusen (Jan Roosa’s grandson), a blacksmith who worked in town. The Van Deusen House famously became the capital building of New York when in 1777, the newly formed New York state government moved here for two months while Kingston was being rebuilt after the British Army had burned it in retaliation for the creation of the state. It is thus the second of the state’s three capital cities, the present, Albany, being the third.
Built circa 1780, this old stone house is fairly new compared to some of its neighbors (it was built after the Revolution). The land upon which the house sits was originally owned by Anthony de Hooges and his wife Eva. It was purchased by Conrad Elmendorf, who likely built the home after the War. and handed down to his great-grandson Col. Jonathan Elmendorf who served in the War of 1812. The property is now home to the Hurley Historical Society, which host an Old Stone House Tour every year.
One of my favorite houses in Hurley is the Dumond House (also known as the “Spy House”), a pre-Revolutionary stone cottage built in Dutch traditions. The house is one and one-half stories high, and is built of limestone. The limestone walls are of various thickness, from a nearby quarry, with the square ends laid up in mortar made of clay, and pointed with lime mortar outside. The house was built by Jacobus Van Etten (1696-1779) and used as a Guard House during the American Revolution. In 1777, it was famous for housing the convicted British spy, Lt. Daniel Taylor after he was caught carrying a message between British Generals Henry Clinton and John Burgoyne. Lt. Taylor was arrested as a British spy, convicted in court of spying and held in the basement of the Du Mond House as a prisoner. He was hung on October 18, 1777 from a nearby tree. American soldiers encamped in the area were paraded by the body as a warning to any potential British sympathizers. The home was later owned by the Dumond Family. It has been owned by the Kent family since 1933.
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.
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.
When Pieter Ostrander settled in Hurley, NY with his family in the late 1600s. Being of Dutch descent, he (and other settlers) built their homes and barns in Dutch traditions. This lot along the village’s main street was acquired by Pieter and inherited by his son, Arent in about 1710, about the time the home is estimated to have been built. It was acquired by the Elmendorf Family by the early 19th century. At that time, the property operated as the Half Moon Tavern, after Petrus Elmendorf purchased it in 1804. The addition to the east (right) was built as a weaving room. The property remained in the Elmendorf family until 2008 (that’s almost 300 years in two families!) It was acquired by the new owner who has been restoring and researching the home ever since. He runs a blog documenting the property’s rich history.
This house in Cavendish was constructed in 1850 by Joshua Parker and is an outstanding example of a gothicized snecked ashlar house. The house is in the Cape form and largely exhibits a more traditional cottage layout, but with the steep gable dormer, giving the home a distinctive Gothic feeling. The 1850 home replaced a late 18th century farmhouse, but in the iconic snecked ashlar construction. The farm grew over the subsequent decades, including a c.1900 snecked ashlar barn (not pictured), which is probably the last building of “Snecked Ashlar” construction erected in the State of Vermont.
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.
In the early 20th century, Norway, Maine and the surrounding towns were sought-after for their natural beauty with large lakes and rivers with untouched expanses of forest. Upper-middle class residents of Portland, Boston and other larger cities in New England built more rustic summer homes, compared to the elaborate “White Elephants” in Newport, Rhode Island. This home in Norway was named Wrightstone and was built in 1925 for the Wright Family. The U-shaped home is constructed from rubblestone, likely gathered from the land on which it sits. The house blends the Arts and Crafts movement with the uncommon (in Maine) Spanish Colonial Revival style, with the terracotta roof! I bet the interior is so cozy!