Faux Cobblestone Structures

The purpose of the Cobblestone Info Base is to gather and make available all known information about the cobblestone structures of the style popular in New York State during the period of roughly 1825-1860. Later in that period, that style was emulated by builders in other states and the Ontario Province in Canada. These structures include houses, barns, out buildings, schools, commercial buildings and houses of worship as well as walls and foundations. They are characterized by the orderly application of carefully sized small stones, gathered either from the field or lakeshore, arranged in horizontal rows and embellished with either horizontal or vertical masonry joints of a "V" cross-section. Built by local farmers and masons, they vary in architectural styles, decorative patterns and level of skill and detail.

The following structures are not true cobblestone architecture. They have been included in documentation provided by contributors; therefore, this listing assures that all contributor content is available.

Vic-4 Barn, 12449 Coleman Rd., Town of Victory, Cayuga County (Demolished) - Source: Roudabush Survey
Wil-10 Barnum, 2804 Maple Rd., Town of Wilson, Niagara County - Source: Roudabush Survey
Eau-1 Country Inn Wall, Gossho Village Japan - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Iro-5 Clubhouse, 4535 Culver Rd., Town of Irondequoit, Monroe County - Source: Christopher Brandt, Architect
Fau-6 Dewey Memorial Hall, 91 Main Street, Sheffield, MA - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Fau-14 Farm House, ON-48, Ontario, Canada - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Fau-17 Gift Shop, SpringBank Park, Byron, London, Ontario, Canada - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Yar-1 Garage, 6 Central St., Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Yar-2 Garage, 56 Hawthorne St., Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Fau-4 Garden Wall, Holyoke, MA - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Mac-5 Hoffman, Farm Building, 815 Pittsford Palmyra Rd., Town of Macedon, Wayne County - Source: Roudabush Survey
Fau-15 House, off ON-48, Ontario, Canada - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Fau-16 House, 93 North Street, Sutton West, Ontario, Canada - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Swe-2 Paroia House, 323 Gallup Rd, Town of Sweden, Monroe County - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Mal-2 Patenaude, 63 Maltaville Rd., Town of Malta, Saratoga County - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Fau-3 Residence & Wall, Taos County, Taos NM - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Mar-22 Sanforde, 3541 Parker Rd., Town of Marion, Wayne County - Source: Richard Palmer
Fau-2 Second Reformed Church, 1894, 118 Putnam Rd., Rotterdam, Schenectady County - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Wil-13 Smith-Hedrich, 2995 Maple Rd., Town of Wilson, Niagara County - Source: Wilson Historical Society
Fau-8 Stone Chimney, 25 Leonard St., Adams MA - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Fau-10 Stone House, 508 East Jefferson St., Burlington, WI - Source: "Cobblestone Buildings in Wisconsin", Racine #13
Fau-12 Stone House, 24427 ON-48, Baldwin, Ontario, Canada - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Fau-5 Stone Porch, Conway Rd, Ashfield, MA - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Fau-7 Stone Porch, Main St., Cummington, MA - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Fau-13 Stone Porch, ON-48, Baldwin, Ontario, Canada - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Fau-9 Stone Porch Foundation, 17 Summer St., Adams, MA - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Fau-11 Stonecroft Gifts, Highway 48, Baldwin, Ontario, Canada - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Bar-1, United Baptist Stone Church, 15 Church St., Clark's Harbour, Nova Scotia - Source: Martin and Sheila Wolfish
Wil-13 Unknown, Wilshere, 2995 Maple Rd., Town of Wilson, Niagara County - Source: Wilson Historical Society
Sod-33 Wilshere, Wilshere, 6599 Sergeant Rd., Town of Sodus, Wayne County - Source: Roudabush Survey

Two movements (Cobblestone vernacular architecture and Arts & Crafts rubblestone architecture) [are defined] as the two are totally different styles, with utterly distinct techniques, and above all different origins.

  1. Upper New York State cobblestone houses are of a style and technique of their own, most likely drawn from similar vernacular cobblestone techniques in Sussex and Essex in England, likely carried to NY by English immigrants and masons who were known to be flooding the region then (theory yet to be fully proven but the resemblances are too uncanny to ignore) and brought to a level of perfection unique to the lake region centering around Rochester from about 1825 to 1860.

  2. a--Rubblestone Arts & Crafts houses, from the 1890-1940 era, a particular American phase of the British origin Arts & Crafts Movement which went international. This specific American version originates, NOT in New York State from the now old and forgotten cobblestone houses as some would like to believe, but rather from two other sources: New England and California, not exactly cobblestone territory. The New England brand typically features a wooden Colonial Revival house, but with a very rough rubblestone foundation, porch, piers and chimney, as a nod in the direction of those early homes which depended on "found" materials, like fieldstones, to fashion early colonial homes (See photo of the Arts & Crafts Colonial Revival house, the C. Howard Walker house, known as "Pine Cone", in Tamworth, New Hampshire, built in 1891). This is the stylistic origin for the Syracuse Arts & Crafts houses, in other words they are exports from New England.

  3. b--The other source for Arts & Crafts rubblestone houses would be California, where there was an explosion of wood shingled California Bungalow houses with rubblestone foundations, chimneys, porches and piers. The Greene & Greene designed Ladd House comes to mind (1913) in Ojai, but really Pasadena has dozens of them (See photo of the Arts & Crafts California Bungalow house, the Ladd house, in Ojai CA, built in 1913). An interesting variant is the all-rubblestone James house in Carmel CA, also by Greene & Greene (1916-22), quite the sight being 100% rubblestone.

David Hanna PhD (McGill University and UQAM), Vernacular architecture specialist, email 02/21/2020.

Howard Walker house-Pine Cone-Tamworth NH 1891 New England Arts and Crafts
Howard Walker house-Pine Cone-Tamworth NH 1891 New England Arts and Crafts.jpg ¹ Howard Walker house-Pine Cone-Tamworth NH 1891 New England Arts and Crafts
Ladd House, Ojai CA 1913 California Arts and Crafts
Ladd House, Ojai CA 1913 California Arts and Crafts.jpg ¹ Ladd House, Ojai CA 1913 California Arts and Crafts

¹ Image courtesy David Hanna PhD. Attribution not provided.

Additional Resources:

Rubble Masonry
Vernacular Buildings: A Global Survey, by Allen Noble, page 84
Old House Journal Jul-Aug 1991, page 29