The Cobblestone Era: A History

by

Megan Weiss

Nonfiction, Historical

Short Description

Today, 90 percent of the remaining cobblestone structures in the United States can be found within about a 75-mile radius of Rochester, New York. As families prospered thanks to the building of the Erie Canal, homeowners wanted to build more prestigious and permanent homes. Today, many of the structures still standing can be identified based on their appearance to determine when they were likely to be built. Therefore, by learning about the history of New York State’s Cobblestone Era, residents of the region can see how this roughly 40 year period played a vital role in shaping the material culture of antebellum New York.

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Description

Emerging around 1825 and dwindling out around 1860-61 upon the outbreak of the American Civil War, residents in the state had started constructing buildings out of cobblestones. Today, 90 percent of the remaining cobblestone structures in the United States can be found within about a 75-mile radius of Rochester, New York. As families prospered thanks to the building of the Erie Canal, homeowners wanted to build more prestigious and permanent homes. The predominantly rural building method thus took over the countryside. Despite the popularity of cobblestone construction during the mid-19th century, however, very little is known about the motivations behind the trend’s emergence or about the masons who built these structural beauties. Today, however, tens of thousands of New York State residents in Wayne, Monroe, Orleans, Ontario, Livingston, and Yates counties, and more, drive by or see these buildings as part of their daily lives. Dialogue and literature about the history of cobblestone construction in New York State is sparse, however, which tasks local historians and researchers with encouraging the masses to better appreciate and understand the history that surrounds them every day. Upstate New York’s Cobblestone Era is divided into three periods: Early, Middle, and Late. Each of these periods reflect different construction techniques and desires by masons and homeowners. Today, many of the structures still standing can be identified based on their appearance to determine when they were likely to be built. Therefore, by learning about the history of New York State’s Cobblestone Era, residents of the region can see how this roughly 40 year period played a vital role in shaping the material culture of antebellum New York.

Megan Weiss

Biography, Exclusive Interview with the Author and more...