A few days ago, I posted some pictures from a nature preserve on Lake Ontario.

The lakeshore there has stretches of coarse gray sand and a fair number of fallen trees, where the clay bluffs eroded during winter storms.

And lots and lots of rocks, what they call a cobble beach.

I wanted to show what folks in the area did with all those “cobblestones.”

This is a one-room schoolhouse, built around 1820-24 and used for over a century.



I was happy to run across it and see the local historical society is maintaining it in fine shape.  But it did strike me, that perhaps because it was a schoolhouse and not a bank, store, or private residence, the stones may not have been selected with as much care as usual, for uniformity and smoothness.   It’s seven or eight miles from Ontario, so they may be rocks from local fields or a glacial dump and not the lakeshore, there’s moraines and eskers a bit farther south.  But nonetheless it’s a mellow, handsome little building.




1820's, architecture, Great Lakes, History, NY, Ontario, Upstate New York

Walks Around Upstate New York. Cobblestone Schoolhouse, Wayne County, October, Late Afternoon


21 thoughts on “Walks Around Upstate New York. Cobblestone Schoolhouse, Wayne County, October, Late Afternoon

  1. The cobble in cobblestone appears to be a diminutive of the enigmatic cob, which is “a word or set of identical words with a wide range of meanings, many seeming to derive from notions of ‘heap, lump, rounded object,’ also ‘head,’ and metaphoric extensions of both.”


    Whereas glaciers carry materials forward, your talk of moraines and eskers carries me back to my ninth-grade earth science class.

  2. What beautiful photos, and what a creative way to make use of an easily available natural resource. I especially like the photo of the window and walls; that’s especially nice light that you captured. In the Flint Hills of Kansas, rock was used as a common building material, too: for walls, of course, but also for buildings. It was one way to make use of what they had to clear from the fields before planting.

  3. Darts and Letters says:

    I love cobblestone walls and cobblestone houses. Years ago we had just a very short section of cobblestone wall made that looks lovely but we used rocks that were too unique so it does’t have the feel of the old craft and hence didn’t achieve what I wanted (now its disappeared behind ivy and plants of my garden). I’ve been scheming for years to make a cobblestone bird bath, I love those. Don’t take your old, fire hazard bedside lamp to the dump, turn it into a bird bath! Next spring I’m goign to try and make a cobblestone bench out of some ugly concrete in my backyard that’s part of an old retaining structure, it forms a perfect seat for two.

    • Was it a halogen light with a metal bowl shape? That sounds like a great recycling coup if you can use it for a bird bath.
      I’m impressed with the old-timers who sorted out enough matching rocks to cover an entire house and also whatever (lime & sand and don’t know what else) mortar they mixed up that holds up to the winters & freezing/thawing for 100+ years.
      I guess you can find the right kind of stones along the shore?

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