Before the Civil War, about 900 cobblestone houses were erected in Western New York– that’s 3/4 of all American cobblestone homes! Historians say that the construction of the Erie Canal had an indirect link to cobblestone architecture. Once work was completed on the canal in 1825, masons were looking for something new. They found it in the cobblestones, a free building material that was scattered about the area and believed to be a remnant of the Ice Age.

After gathering and sorting the stones by size and hue, the masons created a design and set them in their own concoction of soft lime mortar. Typically, they created intricate designs for the front of the home, with plainer rows for the sides. Some homes took three years to complete, and just like snowflakes, no two cobblestone buildings look exactly alike. Check out these gorgeous cobblestone homes from across Western and Southern New York: