ALBION — The Cobblestone Society at Childs is broadening its Tour of Homes this year to include fine examples of cobblestone masonry in Orleans and Niagara counties.
Scheduled for Sept. 28, this year’s tour has both self-driving and bus tour options.
The tour will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Self-drive tickets are $15 for Cobblestone Society members and $20 for non-members. Bus tour tickets are $40 for members and $45 for all others.
The Cobblestone Society’s first tour of homes was in 1960, the year that the society was formed, according to executive director Doug Farley. Tours have not been done every year, but for many years, he said.
“This will be the first time we’ve offered the bus option for the Cobblestone Tour,” Farley said. “We tried it last year for the Christmas Tour and people really appreciated it.”
Stops in Orleans County will include the exterior and interior of the Ward House (1840s), 14393 Ridge Road, Childs; exterior of the Lake/Hurd House (1846), 3505 Butts Road, Albion; exterior and interior of Arthur Barnes Art Studio (1841), 12387 Maple Ridge Road, Medina; and exterior and interior of Stewart/Ciechanowicz House (1830s), 12387 Ridge Road, Medina.
Ward House — No written records exist for the house, but it is believed to have been constructed around 1836 under the direction of John Proctor. It remained under his ownership until 1861 was likely intended to serve as a parsonage for the Cobblestone Church. The house was next owned by Benjamin and Mary Anne Woodburn Dwinnell. Mary Anne was the aunt of New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, who held the mortgage until 1863.
Lake/Hurd House — For many years, this home built by Nathaniel Lake in 1846 was known as “Lake Manse,” because of the lake-smooth cobbles that face the walls. An Italianate-style wooden porch fronts the north wing and offers a pleasant contrast to the more sober original Green Revival details.
Arthur Barnes Art Studio — The building used by Arthur Barnes as his art studio was built in 1841 as a Quaker Meeting House. In 1896, it was converted to a general store and post office. When Barnes acquired the property, it was his goal for it to become a meeting house for artists and others.
Stewart/Ciechanowicz House — Wilber and Betsey Stewart came to Orleans County from Connecticut in 1831. Their cobblestone house was built in the late 1830s as a Greek Revival cottage. The quoins and lintels are sandstone, while the sills are wood. John Amos purchased the home in 1864. His descendants lived there for 100 years, after which Sheri Egeli owned it and made many interior restorations. Current owner Margaret Ciechanowicz has made recent repairs.
Continuing in Niagara County, the tour includes: the exterior and interior of Cobblehurst (1836), 8856 Ridge Road, Gasport; exterior and interior of Hartland Schoolhouse No. 10 (1845), 9713 Seaman Road (at Carmen Road), Middleport; exterior and interior of Babcock House Museum (1848), 7449 Lower Lake Road, Barker; exterior of Morgan Johnson/Schwarzmueller House (1844-45), 2533 Wilson Cambria Road, Wilson; exterior of Morse/Gallagher House, 2773 Maple Road, Wilson; and Wilson House Inn (1844), 300 Lake St., Wilson.
Cobblehurst/Monter House — This building was erected in 1836 as a Friends’ Meeting House. The outside walls are faced with large field cobbles of varying sizes, shapes and colors. After World War I, the house was acquired by Emma Reed, who turned it into a resort for the wealthy in 1919-1920, with the help of architect Walter Landephear. Its interior is in the “Mission” style popularized by the Roycroft movement. Dormers and an indoor swimming pool were added by a later owner. Current owner Victor Monter is credited with restoring and saving the structures, which was vacant for many years and in serious disrepair. He and his family reside there and operate it as an Airbnb.
District No. 10 Cobblestone Schoolhouse — This one-room schoolhouse is a one-story cobblestone structure built about 1845 in the Greek Revival style. It features smooth, slightly irregularly shaped and variously colored cobbles. It operated as a school until 1947, when it was converted to a private residence. The property, now owned by the Hartland Historical Society, is one of 47 cobblestone structures in Niagara County.
Babcock House Museum — This cobblestone Greek Revival home was built in 1848 by Jeptha Babcock near the shores of Lake Ontario. Babcock was a farmer, the first postmaster in Somerset and a New York State Assembly member. Through a 1982 agreement with NYSEG, the former owner of the nearby power plant, the property is maintained by the Somerset Historical Society as a museum and visitor center.
Morgan Johnson/Schwarzmueller House — This majestic house built for Captain Morgan Johnson is probably the most elaborate of Niagara County’s cobblestone homes. Johnson was captain of the ship “Milly Cook,” which caught fire and burned in Wilson Harbor. The area is still known as Milly Cook Cove. The home is constructed with a herringbone design, unique belly windows with grill facings under the steps, and two stone columns at the front door. It is also known as the “Anchor House” because of the 500-pound anchor on the front lawn, which was lost from the Schooner Franklin Pierce during a storm in 1840 and found near the Wilson pier around 1897. Current owners Anton and Arlene Schwarzmueller purchased the home in 2001.
Morse/Gallagher House — Built circa 1840, this home is a well-preserved example of middle-period cobblestone construction. The style is Greek Revival with interesting features including a number of “belly” or eyebrow windows on the west and south sides, and large stone lintels above the windows that have a “Holland Hat” (English Gothic) look. The lintels were made in Lockport and delivered to the site for $10 each. Original owner James Morse came to Wilson from New York City in 1840 and purchased 50 acres on what is now Maple Road. Current owner Francis Gallagher, Wilson town historian, secured state and national Register status for the home in 2010. Its most noticeable modern feature is the large array of solar panels on the south side, supplying about 95% of the property's electrical need.
Wilson House Inn — Mike and Loretta White and sons recently remodeled this cobblestone home originally built in 1844 by Luther Wilson, on the site of the village’s first schoolhouse, which had been erected in 1820. The two-story structure with hip roof and half windows was built with small water-washed stones. The home later became the Wilsonian Club, a private club for area businessmen, with a bowling alley in the basement and a dance hall on the second floor. In 1947, it became a bar/restaurant.
Bus tour takers will be given time to order a meal at Wilson House Inn, where the White family has arranged several menu specials.
Tickets for the tour may be purchased at www.cobblestonemuseum.org.