Between 1825 and the Civil War era, cobblestone masonry originated as a form of construction in Upstate New York. Local masons, some of whom may have worked on building the Erie Canal, developed this new skill to perfection. Many early cobblestone buildings were constructed from the seemingly endless supply of glacial field stones, while later structures used water-washed stones (cobbles) gathered along Lake Ontario. Ninety percent of the cobblestone buildings in America can be found within a 75-mile radius of Rochester, N.Y. By 1865 this form of building became too expensive for the Industrial age and the art diminished. It is estimated that about 900 cobblestone buildings were built in New York State.
The following is a “drive-by” list of about 100 cobblestone structures and their locations in Orleans County. Since most are privately owned homes, no access beyond the roadway is permitted. The Cobblestone Museum offers annual tours of several cobblestone structures. Visit their website for an event schedule and list of buildings on the tour. Come experience the heart of cobblestone country!