The 5 Most Endangered Stone Homes in the United States 2017

One word: Heartbreaking. These historic homes are on the verge of being but memories. Endangered, in peril, at risk …here’s hoping local preservation groups and concerned citizens can step in and save irreplaceable pieces of our Early American history.

1. Mifflin House

Wrightsville, Pennsylvania
Mifflin House Hybla Wrightsville
The stone farmhouse, built in the late 1700s and coined “Hybla,” was a very important stop on the Underground Railroad when owned by prominent Pennsylvanians Jonathan and Susanna Mifflin. Later, while owned by J. Huber, a crucial Civil War battle played out on the site. So why would anyone not consider the home and the land that surrounds it hallowed ground? The most recent owners sold the home and its over 9-acre property to Kinsley Equities, which has been chomping at the bit to tear the home down. Locals believe warehouses will be built in its place. A report issued by the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office states that the home is eligible for historic designation. Hopefully, the report will make demolition efforts more difficult, although the home’s future remains uncertain.

2. McKee House

Lombard, Illinois
McKee House Churchill Woods Forest Preserve
The limestone Colonial-Revival-style home, nestled in the Churchill Woods Forest Preserve, was built in 1936 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and served as home to DuPage County’s first forest preserve superintendent. The home has stood empty since 2002 and neglect has led to deterioration. In 2006, the DuPage County Forest Preserve District announced plans to raze the structure; local preservation groups have fought valiantly to save a piece of DuPage County — and American — history. For more information, visit the McKee Preservation Group Facebook page.

3. Phillip Kaes House

Ballwin, Missouri
Phillip Kaes House Castlewood
This home, built between 1850 and 1860, sits atop land that was once part of a Spanish land claim. A two-story wood-framed addition was added to the original three-story stone structure, creating one of the area’s first true “split-level” homes. Lore says that the home served as a stop on the Underground Railroad and that Civil War soldiers were held prisoner in the property’s stone caves. In 1980, the home was acquired by the state park system as part of a land purchase and has remained unattended since. If the park is not willing to part with the land, it might at least consider a resident curatorship program now established in several other states.

4. Troy Hill

Elkridge, Maryland
Troy Hill Elkridge
This circa-1820 stone home was built atop the former “dwelling plantation” of Colonel Thomas Dorsey, one of Howard County’s most prominent 18th century landowners. The State of Maryland purchased the property in December 1958 with plans to raze the home to make way for a highway. Demolition deemed unnecessary, the home sat vacant for years, until Howard County acquired the homstead in 1971 as part of a land purchase. Troy was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, but sadly continued to sit in a state of decline. In 1991, a fire destroyed the interior. The county now has plans to restore the structure as part of a larger park improvement; adaptive reuse is being considered.

5. Kimball Castle

Guilford, New Hampshire

Kimball Castle

Bottom right photo by Jason Baker.


The former estate of railroad magnate Benjamin A. Kimball, the castle was built over the span of two years (1897-1899) and incorporates both English oak and local granite. It sits atop a 24-acre tract of land and boasts spectacular views of both the Lakes Region and the White Mountain. The estate fell into the hands of the Town of Guilford, which turned a 260-acre portion of the estate into a nature preserve. The town invited developers to submit ideas for the property’s development and a resort and restaurant plan was eventually approved by the town. Lack of funding put the project on hold.

Old Stone Home Needs a Hero

We don’t often dedicate an entire post to one stone home, but this sweet Hudson River Valley property tugged at our very heartstrings.

The circa-1750 Colonial-era stone farmhouse, located in the historic village of Saugerties, is presently for sale. Before you scoff at the price, take note: You get the home, nestled on a gently sloping piece of land, a circa-1800s barn, a lovely bit of meadow, a few more outbuildings (chicken coop included!) and almost 70 acres of lush farmland (right in the middle of which once existed a major Indian path to the Woodstock valley).

The structure itself is described as in “poor condition,” but we’re certain that it could spring back to life with the tender touch of a caring owner. Just another run-down, run-of-the-mill farmhouse? We think not. In the 2005 Town of Saugerties Historical Resources Survey, experts noted, “This house can be directly compared to vernacular farmhouses of Northern Europe. Its builders and the first farmers to till this land may have been among the earliest permanent settlers of Saugerties. To find an early structure this historically intact is an extreme rarity and this house deserves separate, comprehensive study and protection.”

Don’t have the cash to snatch up this historic gem but interested in seeing more of the Hudson River Valley and its concentration of old stone homes? This map will help you see the coolest stone homes the area has to offer.

Diamond in the Rough?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, after all. Take a look at these fixer uppers and tell us what you think: Two thumbs up or two thumbs down? It would take a lot of love to bring these stone homes back to life, but the rewards may just be worth the pain and effort.

Forgotten Farmhouse in Frenchtown

Situated on the edge of historic Frenchtown, New Jersey, you will find this stone farmhouse (tax records say it dates to 1875). The home sits on almost 80 acres of secluded farmland that boasts horse trails, wooded areas and even a pond. The three-bedroom farmhouse is in a sorry state, indeed. But the land has such potential — and who wouldn’t love living right across the Delaware River from Bucks County, Pennsylvania!

Hopeless Case in Havre de Grace

Located in the sleepy harbor town of Havre de Grace, Maryland, this patchworked property is being sold for the land, not the home, which dates to 1860. The place is in such a bad state of disrepair that potential buyers must sign a “Hold Harmless & Right-of-Entry Agreement” before entering the property! We’re not sure about you, but we couldn’t bear to tear down this historic structure.

Timeworn Cottage in a Port Town


Not much information exists about this old stone cottage in the woods. It’s age? Hard to say. Maybe circa 1930s-50s? The cozy home is nestled on over three acres of woodland in Huntington, West Virginia, which itself sits at the confluence of the Guyandotte and Ohio Rivers. With a heavy dose of elbow grease and some vision, this dilapidated structure could truly shine. The perfect weekend or summer getaway!

Last Hope for La Loma Treasure

A rare find, this Southwest-style cottage located in La Loma, New Mexico, features solid adobe, stone and block construction. Although this home sits on only 3/4 acres, the seller also has 11+ acres — with water rights on the Pecos River — available nearby. Granted, interiors are a wreck right now, but a handyman could quickly whip this home into shape.

Pioneer Home Turned Rehab Project

This pioneer homestead, constructed of limestone, circa 1878, has a new standing-seam roof and windows. It only needs the touch of an old stone home lover to preserve interiors. The Fredericksburg, Texas, property includes an old smokehouse, a storage building and over 77 acres of lush farmland.

5 Most Endangered Stone Homes of 2015

Our first-annual list of threatened historic properties! We’re bringing to light stone homes and structures that are historically signifanct and in need of caring folks and funds to stabilize and/or restore them for future generations. Take a look at this list and let us know if you have more details or updates on any property listed. Also feel free to reach out with a property you think we should add to the list.

1. Henry Varnum Poor’s ‘Crow House’

Crow House, Henry Varnum Poor, New York, old stone home, old stone cottage, endangered historic properties
Rockland County, New York
Henry Varnum Poor, a famed American architect, painter, sculptor, muralist, and potter, built the main part of his cottage in 1920 and 1921, with all locally sourced materials. His design successfully melds elements of the Arts and Crafts movement with features of a French farmhouse. The town of Ramapo purchased the property in 2007 with hopes of restoring the home; plans have since been put on pause as the property continues to decay.

2. Naugle House

Naugle House, Fair Lawn, New Jersey, old stone home, old stone cottage, endangered historic properties, old stone houses
Bergen County, New Jersey
In North Jersey, the Naugle House, a beloved local landmark, is just one of many historic properties in jeopardy. This circa-1740 Dutch Colonial-style home was built into a hillside along the Saddle River and has ties to the Revolutionary War (Marquis de Lafayette may have visited this home in 1784). The home, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, boasts coursed ashlar sandstone block walls. The township of Fair Lawn purchased the home in 2010 with plans to restore it, but rehabilitation has been slow in coming. Residents continue their efforts to save this unique property.

3. Circle Creek Farmhouse/Guy’s Distillery

Circle Creek Farmhouse/Guy’s Distillery, old stone home, old stone house, endangered historic properties, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Chickies Historic District
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
Circle Creek Farmhouse, originally used as a commercial distillery, was built in 1826 by John Guy, a hotel owner from Baltimore, Maryland. In 1834, Christian Haldeman converted the structure to a farmhouse. The stone home is located in the Chickies Historic District, a collection of historic homes built by the area’s wealthiest iron masters, plus the remains of iron pits and furnaces and limestone quarries. The home, placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, has been sitting vacant and neglected since 1988.

4. The Pest House

Pest House, Cockeysville, Baltimore County, Maryland, old stone house, old stone home, endangered historic property
Baltimore County, Maryland
Built in 1872, the Pest House was designed to house the sick and those suffering from communicable diseases (and perhaps segregate African American men from other ill patients residing at the adjacent almshouse, currently home to the Historical Society of Baltimore County). It is believed that the structure was built with limestone quarried in Texas, Maryland, by African Americans. The home has been vacant since the early 1900s and its interior damaged by vandals. Recent news reports indicate that African American historian Louis S. Diggs is leading an effort to raise funds to rehabilitate the building.

5. Rural Mount

Rural Mount, Tennessee, old stone home, old stone house, most endangered historic places
Hamblen County, Tennessee
Perched atop a hill that overlooks the valleys of the Nolichucky River and its tributaries, this stately Georgian-style mansion was built in 1799 by Alexander Outlaw as a wedding gift for his daughter Penelope and son-in-law Joseph Hamilton. Both men were instrumental in the formation of the State of Franklin and, later, the State of Tennessee. The home is an excellent example of early Tennessee stone construction, boasting walls of limestone set in a random ashlar pattern. Surrounded by active pastureland, the home was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 but, sadly, has sat vacant for the past 30 years. In 2010, several Tennessee advocacy groups joined forces to clean and secure the mansion from vandals. According to a recent newspaper report, the present owner continues to work with preservation groups to develop a plan for the home’s rehabilitation.

Save an Old Stone Home

Now’s your chance to live the dream: buy an old stone home at a steal and renovate from inside out to suit your needs. These fixer-uppers require a few cans of paint and some elbow grease, for sure. But the return on investment? Priceless!

Audience participation requested: If you have a few moments, pick a home, click on the image to review the details and then tell us how you would bring your favorite stone treasure back to life.

old stone farmhouse for sale in Pipersville, Pennsylvania, fixer upper, as is home for sale

Stone farmhouse in Pipersville, PA, circa 1740


old stone home for sale in Asbury, NJ, fixer upper, as is home

Stone farmhouse in Asbury, NJ, circa 1780


old stone home for sale in Mason Texas

Old stone cottage with windmill in Mason, TX, circa 1900


stone cape cod, old stone home for sale, Melbourne, Kentucky

Stone cape cod in Melbourne, KY, circa 1875

Pave Paradise and Put up a Parking Lot

That’s exactly what a company called Hillwood Enterprises LP would like to do in Lower Swatara Township in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The company is attempting to rezone 500 acres of what is now some of the most picturesque farmland in the area and replace it with a mega warehouse, in and out of which hundreds of trucks would travel per day.

And right in the center of this parcel of land? You guessed it: An old stone home, now slowly fading away. Sadly, this home was once a stunning mansion, built by one of the earliest settlers of Dauphin County.

Residents who surround the property have banded together in an effort to sway local commissioners and stop rezoning. To learn more about the stone mansion and what an industrial warehouse might do to the environment and the community, please visit the Save Lower Swatara Agriculture blog. If you live in the area and wish to protect vanishing Pennsylvania farmland, please show your support by joining the Save Lower Swatara Agriculture group on Facebook and signing the petition to stop the rezoning. And, last but not least, if you have super-deep pockets (all the Jay Zs and Bill Gates of the world), consider buying the land and preserving it for future generations.

Old Stone Homes in the News

Three properties popped up in the news this week: one in desperate need of repair and two others of historic significance. Let’s take a look.

A Stone Home in Danger
Lapole Tenant House, Farmlands estate, Cantonville, Maryland
The Lapole House (Lurman House) in Catonsville, Maryland, may not look like much at first glance. The boarded-up stone cottage is located on the grounds of Catonsville High School but was once part of a much larger estate. The story starts with Edward Dorsey, who gave the name “Farmlands” to the area in the late 1700s. He passed the large tract of land to his son, Hammond, who built a mansion on the site in the 1790s. In 1820 the house with six hundred acres was sold to Henry Sommerville, who renamed it “Bloomsbury Farm”. In 1848, Gustav W. Lurman, Sr. purchased the estate and restored its original name. The Farmlands estate passed down through the Lurman family until 1948 when Miss Frances D. Lurman sold the last 65 acres to the Board of Education. The main house and most outbuildings were demolished in 1952 to make way for the high school. The tenant or gardener’s cottage, once the home of estate caretakers Charles and Ida Mae Lapole, is all that remains today. Local resident Jim Jones is raising awareness in hopes that the cottage can be saved from the ravages of time, weather and vandalism.

A Stone Home That Needs an Owner
Stone mansion, Fieldston Historic District, Bronx, New York, old stone home
It’s a mansion in fine condition. The only thing lacking is an owner. And for $3.7 million the home could be yours! Located in Fieldston, a privately owned neighborhood in the Riverdale section of the northwestern part of the Bronx, this 100-year-old home of solid fieldstone construction features eight spacious bedrooms, 5.5 bathrooms, a formal dining room and a renovated eat-in kitchen. The Craftsman-style home, designed by architect William B. Claflin and built for Columbia University professor George B. Pegram, sits at the top of a 1/2-acre sloping, terraced lot and exists within the Fieldston Historic District.

A Stone Home That Wants to Tell Its Story
River Street neighborhood, old stone home, sandstone, Boise, Idaho, Erma Andre Madry Hayman
The 900-square-foot home at 617 Ash Street in Boise, Idaho, was once surrounded by timber-framed homes in a bustling neighborhood coined River Street. Built in 1907 of sandstone, the house became home to Erma Andre Madry Hayman and her husband Lawrence in 1943. Erma raised a large family in the small home and lived to the ripe old age of 102. After her death in 2009, grandson Richard Madry sold the house and property to the Capital City Development Corporation. Hopes are to protect the home via a National Trust for Historic Preservation designation and learn more about the vibrant multicultural working class community via an archeological dig at the homesite, led by the University of Idaho field school.