Cobblestone Buildings

Chapman House

Chapman house on Maple Avenue in Palmyra is immaculately maintained by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is one of the finest examples of cobblestone architecture in Wayne County.

(This very insightful letter tho the editor appeared in The Genesee Farmer, March 8, 1838, Vol. 8 Number 9)

Building Cobble Stone Houses

Mr. Tucker - I observed in the Monthly Genesee Farmer of February a request for some one who was qualified to answer the inquiry concerning the manner of building cobble stone walls, of their durability, the proportion of the mortar, the expense of building, &c.

Having had some experience in this business, I cheerfully transmit a few facts relative to the foregoing request.

Having erected two or three buildings each season, for several years past, I shall only mention one which I built last season. It is 40 feet by 60, four stories high. The foundation is three feet high, the first story 10 8-12 feet high, the second 11 2-12 feet high, the third 13 3-12 feet, the fourth story 10 3-12 high; making from the foundation to the plates 48 4-12 feet in height, with a wing 24 by 34, one story. The whole was built of cobble stone, (not of the first quality) the outside was laid in courses of cobble stone four inches in thickness, and larger stone on the inside.

It is a steam flouring mill and has been in operation three months. It stands perfectly well - it is situated in the village of Palmyra, on Canal-street. As regards their durability, if they are laid with good materials and in a workmanlike manner, I am perfectly convinced they will stand and their solidity will increase as their age increases.

The quality and quantity of sand with the lime is very essential. The coarser and purer the sand, the stronger will be tho cement and the firmer the wall. As for the proper quantity of sand with the lime, it depends on its coarseness and purity. The proportion which I generally use is from five to eight bushels of sand to one of lime in the stone. As for elegance and taste, every one who has seen a cobble stone building built as it should be, will acknowledge that it surpasses quarry stone or brick buildings.

As for the expense of building, it is cheaper than almost any other kind of building.

If the above, after such corrections as you may deem expedient, will be of use to your readers, let it have a place in your paper; if not, throw it under the table; suit yourself and you will suit.

Your ob't servant,

Marion, (N.Y.) February 27, 1838. Chester Clark.

Wayne County Cobblestone Architecture: Bounty of the Field and Shore, 1979

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