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’
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
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
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
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
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.