|The More House 1829|
|"The Stone Jug" 1814|
From December 29 through January 31 on view at the Roxbury Library is Catskills Folk Connection's display "Stone in Winter", exhibiting photos of Roxbury's six traditional stone houses. The display was funded in 2017 through an Action Grant from Humanities New York. Photographed for the display by Jill Ribich, the houses are shown in their winter habitat that emphasizes the shape and texture of the stone structures. The display was fabricated by Deb Fleming of Sign Designs and features a portrait of each house, showing the design of its facade. The display is available for public viewing during the Library's regular hours Monday, Wednesday and Thursday 10-5, and Saturday 10-2.
Constructed in the first three decades of the 19th century, the Roxbury stone houses share common traits, but yet are distinctive one from another. Two of them, among the earliest, are two stories high with a symmetrical facade and refined details, such as contrasting brick trim or a version of a Palladian window, that bespoke the influential status of the first owners. The others are one story high, two with the same symmetry of facade, two with doors that are off-center.
Three of the houses share the feature of having a walk in cellar. Dan Underwood, descendant of the builder of the Oliver Underwood House, explained that this was not unusual in stone houses because he understood that the builders kept the cellar open as long as possible so the stone boat or wagon could be driven right into the cellar hole, easing considerably the labor of transferring stones up to the walls. At the Hardenburgh House the on-grade cellar door led to a store, while in the Underwood House it led to a cellar kitchen.
The display at the Roxbury Library includes information about each house, as well as the winter portrait for each. More information can be found in The History of the Town of Roxbury by Irma Mae Griffin, available to borrow or purchase at the Library, 53742 State Highway 30, Roxbury, NY 12474 607-326-7901.
Catskills Folk Connection is sponsored by the Roxbury Arts Group, and is funded in part by the New York State Council on the Arts Folk Art Program, by an Action Grant from Humanities NY, by Gov. Cuomo and the NYS Legislature, and by the O'Connor Foundation.