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Article: Living In History

Living In History

Living In History

As many of you know, Jeffrey and I are passionate about history provenance of old homes, and the magic of storytelling. It was a natural step for us in our journey together to find an historic home that gave us the opportunity to take on a restoration project that we could steward. The stars aligned and we were lucky to find The Stone Jug in the Hudson Valley, New York. Built in 1752, this farmhouse has 272 years of history…

We were recently given access to a collection of incredible photos taken of the house around 1940 which show just how little the original part has changed in many ways, with a few fundamental changes - One being the the house didn't originally have the window to the left of the chimney in the living room, probably to help keep heat in. 

The diamond pattern on the bricks either side of the chimney were also not part of the original home and was clearly added some time after the 1940's, when some repairs were made.

There was an outhouse/toilet still intact in the old photos and that became redundant when the addition to the house was added in the 1950s to include a bathroom and two bedrooms. We're told that some metal detecting might be a worthwhile pastime... who knows what fell out of one's pockets as they ran to the outhouse in the middle of the night.

The main dutch door to the living room is original to the home with the exception of the hinges... you can see that the door latch is still in use today. The stone lintel above the door has an engraving noting the year the house was built, 1752 and the initials of the three German Palatine brothers who lived on the land. It seems that at one point each brother had his own home. This one, occupied by Konradt Lasher, is the only one to survive.

On the interior side of the front door, the original skeleton key lock still exists, and is operable... although we don't have the key. But we're going to get one made!

At some point in the 40's, it seems that the house was used as a tea house for travelers passing by heading from New York City to points north. Very little is known about who lived here in the century and a half before that point... but we're always on the lookout for more information that can complete the story.

This window is one of the originals. It now sits along the staircase leading to the attic level. But in the days before the 1950's, there were not stairs, only a ladder in the corner of the house that reached from the bottom level, through the living room, and into the attic. The photo below, was taken in the 1940's, and it seems that they had a driveway in the front of the house, as evidenced. by the car seen directly outside the window.

The bottom level used to have a dirt floor which was common in the days when this house was built. Being a stone house built into an earthen bank, it is expected for moisture to work its way through. With a dirt floor, that moisture would just be absorbed into the ground. Now, we have a French drain system below a concrete slab floor to handle any moisture that comes through after a very heavy rain or big snow melt... which means that the room, centered around this massive fireplace (which used to be used for cooking) is now dry and cozy all year round.

This place has so much magic to it and inspires many ideas, one of which has come to fruition. A growing homeware line called, The Stone Jug drawing from the hues of the flora and fauna for the linens. For the ceramics, some of the jugs are inspired by the shape of the chimney which according to folklore, got the nickname, The Stone Jug because of it's resemblance to a jug. Back in the day when there were no street signs, "the house that looks like a stone jug" was used as a navigational landmark.

If you're interested in learning more, check out the Wikipedia page here, or follow us @hudsonvalleyfarm in Instagram, where we post updates throughout the seasons. And explore my collection, The Stone Jug here.
Sending lots of love,


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