by Chris Clemens
I thought I’d give myself a bit of a challenge this year and send myself on a statewide scavenger hunt. Each month in 2015 I’ll choose a new item to find 15 examples of around the state and share them in one post. For now, I’ve made a tentative list of 12 ideas, but if there’s something you think represents the landscape of the state in some interesting way, I’m open to receiving challenge suggestions!
For my inaugural ’15 in 2015 Challenge’ I’ve chosen the subject of cobblestones. Though there are cobblestone structures and roads that exist around the world, New York state has a bounty of the perfect type of stone. Basically a large pebble, a cobblestone is one that has naturally been formed by years and years of being tumbled over and over by water until the edges are rounded and smooth. Because much of Upstate New York was covered by glaciers 10,000 years ago, our soil is literally littered with cobblestones of all sizes. When the Erie Canal was dug between 1817 and 1825, the supply of cobblestones went sky high. In fact, if you look at a map of each of the cobblestones buildings, you can basically trace the general route that the canal took through the state. Our region has the best collection of cobblestone buildings in the entire world! According to my friends at The Cobblestone Society and Museum in Childs, there are approximately 1,500 cobblestone structures in the U.S. and 90% of them are within a 75 mile radius of Rochester! Additionally, Wayne County boasts more cobblestone structures per capita than any other place on the planet! I vowed to make these ’15 in 2015 Challenge’ posts less wordy and more photo-y, so without further ado and in no particular order, I present to you:
15 Cobblestone Structures in NY
1. The former Alexander Classical School was built in the 1830’s and is one of the few three-story Cobblestone buildings in existence. It is also one of the few to have been built for public use and today is the only cobblestone building that is used as a public space.
2. A cobblestone home located on Rt. 14 just south of Geneva, NY
3. This Starbucks Coffee location in Victor, NY uses a restored cobblestone structure
4. This cobblestone smokehouse was originally in a different location, but moved here to the park across from the famous Seabreeze Amusement Park on Culver Road in Irondequoit
5. The Tinker Homestead Museum was built in 1830 and now is a historic landmark museum located in a nature park in Henrietta, NY
6. Just around the corner from the Tinker Museum, this one is on Pinnacle Road in Henrietta just south of Caulkins Road
7. The Cobblestone Academy building in Pittsford, NY was first built as a school in 1842 by Samuel Crump. It was later repurposed and is now Masonic Lodge #426
8. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995, the William Covert cobblestone house in Greece, NY was built in 1832
9. I was able to find exactly NO info on this one located on Route 104 in Spencerport, NY
10. An unfortunate victim to negligence on Route 104 near Murray, NY
11. The District 5 cobblestone schoolhouse built in 1849 in Childs, NY located on Route 104, part of the Cobblestone Historic District
12. Private single family cobblestone home in Childs, NY on Route 104
13. This private single family cobblestone home in Childs, NY on Route 104 sits next door to the one above!!
14. The Universalist Church built 1834 that is now part of the Cobblestone Society and Museum just north of Albion, NY
15. The Ward House sits next to the Universalist Church above, built in around 1840
BONUS: I’ve always really liked this one so I thought I’d share it too. Located behind The Mission in Conesus, NY (formerly St. Michael’s Mission), this old school bus had cobblestones built up around it by the monks who used live on site, somewhere in the 1970’s and used it as a shed.
I missed quite a few of course so if you have a great example and want to share, be sure to tell me about it in a comment! Now, on to the next ’15 for 2015′ challenge….
Chris Clemens is the Founder/Publisher of Exploring Upstate. From his hometown in Rochester, he spends as much time as possible connecting with the history, culture, and places that make Upstate New York a land of discovery. Follow him on Twitter at @cpclemens