‘A small jewel at the end of the road’: Rochester’s last Cobblestone house saved from demolition

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The last cobblestone home in Rochester has been saved from demolition. 

The Lockwood-Alhart house has been vacant for decades. News10NBC found out Thursday the owner of the home has donated it to the City for restoration.

News10NBC’s Hailie Higgins has been looking into the plan for this historic home. 

When Hailie got up close to film the gorgeous masonry, another photographer said that you could smell the mold inside. Hailie took a deep breath, and found he was right.

The nearly two-hundred-year-old house needs a whole lot of work. And thanks to the community, it’s going to get it.

Earlier this month, concern grew for the house on the corner of Culver Road and Grand Avenue. A Facebook group and online petition started circulating, trying to save the building from what the community believed were apathetic owners.

The North Winton Village and Beechwood Neighborhood Associations joined the cause petitioning the City.

So, what makes an old house so special?

News10NBC talked to Bill Lattin with the Cobblestone Museum in Orleans County. 

Houses were only made like this for a short period of time, and literally 95% of them are in our area. The stones are laid slowly and carefully by hand, with lyme mortar — the precursor to cement.

Only about 1000 of them were built, all in the early 1800s. And they’re made to last. 

The Lockwood-Alhart house was built in 1835, and with the city’s help, some think it could stay standing for another two hundred years. 

“This is hopefully on the path towards being a success, because of the people who are advocating for it, the folks in the neighborhood who have been pushing for it, and partners like the City of Rochester and the mayor,” says Lattin. “I can’t – it takes a village, as they say, and that’s really true when it comes to preservation.”

The name of the house certainly rings a bell — at least to local news junkies.

That home — which was built in 1835 — was purchased in the 50s by the family of Don Alhart, the anchor over at 13WHAM. Don told News10NBC he is among the many saddened to see it deteriorate over the years. 

The cobblestone home became a place for family gatherings, and eventually a showroom for his aunt and uncle’s furniture store, before it was sold.

“It was always the small jewel at the end of the road, right at the end was that cobblestone house which was the footprint of all of it there,” says Alhart. “There’s always been an effort to preserve it. And because it was a part of the Alhart family for so many years, I think there was always a personal desire, as well, to see it survive.”

As is the case with any major construction — it will take time. But the goal is to see some major renovations over the next few months. There’s no set budget yet either, since the acquisition is so new.

The goal is to figure out the cost and get started immediately, according to Mayor Malik Evans. He says they’ve got big plans to bring this thing back to its former glory.

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