Our Pennsylvania find boasts views, from the living room, of the picturesque Juniata River.
This circa-1727 home
located in Pine Bush, New York, is a fine example of early Dutch colonial style. Also known as Dwaarkill Manor, the home is in desperate need of a complete restoration.
The Ulster County beauty is nestled on 24 private acres of farmland, which includes 2 streams and a guesthouse.
This circa-1785 home
may not look like much, but beneath the white stucco lies old stone, brick and log. Who knows what you could do with this lovely single-family home in historic Aldie, Virginia?
Not only does this Virginia home boast its original wood floors, it features three working fireplaces — a great way to keep cozy on a cold winter’s night.
This circa-1847 home
in Baltimore, Maryland, is constructed of semi-coursed gneiss stone. The dividing wall was recently removed so the duplex can serve as a single-family home.
Our Maryland pick is one of the earliest homes in Woodberry, a mill village located on the west side of the Jones Falls Valley in Baltimore City. “Isolated from other neighborhoods by topography, transportation arteries and parkland, Woodberry retains a pastoral, village-like atmosphere characterized by narrow streets and footpaths, front and back yards and open space,” says the Maryland Historic Trust.
This circa-1790 federal-style home in Bloomery, West Virginia, features heart pine flooring throughout and a stone patio that overlooks 7 acres of property.
The historic home features its original walk-in fireplace, a fine example of early stone masonry.
This circa-1831 home
located in Greenfield, Ohio, is situated in a peaceful and private setting.
Views of farm fields and meadows from this historic Ohio gem are said to be idyllic.
Sure, the inside may need a complete gut, but the Indiana gem sits on over three acres of the prettiest wooded property you’re likely to find.
We scoured the market to find old stone homes that would suit the DIYer, someone who has a soft spot for all things early American. These magnificent examples of Colonial and Federal-style architecture are in need of serious TLC (and perhaps the demolition of an awkward addition or two). But just imagine the possibilities! Granted, each home is a bit off the beaten path, but definitely the makings of a great country getaway. Take a peek at our slideshow and tell us what you think!
So what was the “glue” with which the earliest settlers built their fieldstone homes?
Clay or clay mixed with chopped straw or animal hair would have been used to build the earliest foundations and interiors of chimneys, but this concoction would not have been strong enough to waterproof walls, fill gaps between stones and act as a cushion as walls settled. For that job, settlers needed lime, which when incinerated in a kiln and reduced to ash, was mixed with water and sand to create a superior mortar. The best sources of lime in early America? Natural lime deposits and seashells, whether combed off the beach or removed from an abandoned Native American rubbish heap (also called a kitchen midden).
So when we boil it all down, we may have both the land and the sea to thank for old stone homes.
The Early Domestic Architecture of Connecticut by J. Frederick Kelly
Indiana Folklore: A Reader, edited by Linda Dégh
The Availability of Lime and Masonry Construction in New England: 1630-1733 by Paul B. Jenison