The Oldest Stone House Museum
A House Full of History
Lakewood’s Oldest Stone House, built in 1834, contains a treasure trove of memorabilia that unlocks the pioneer past of the city.
It’s a dwelling made of sandstone from area quarries by settler John Honam, an immigrant from Scotland, and has been preserved as a typical early period home.
It served as a residence in its original location on Detroit Avenue from 1834 until 1870, in eastern Rockport Township (now Lakewood). It remained there for the next 82 years with a diversity of tenants. At various times it was a post office, shoe repair shop crockery, doctor’s office, upholsterer’s store and barbershop.
Today the Oldest Stone House sits in Lakewood Park, moved there in 1952 by the founder of the Lakewood Historical Society, Margaret Manor Butler through her tireless efforts to raise funds as well as the profile of the little house which was the last surviving example of what was a rather prominent style along Detroit Avenue. Today the house serves as a museum of Rockport Township and Lakewood history, still sitting on the Honam farm’s original property.
The Oldest Stone House Museum houses a rich collection of cultural artifacts, not limited to those of the Honam/Hotchkiss homestead, that reflect the broad depth of Lakewood’s history. The museum is furnished in the style of a middle class pioneer and early settler home that would have fit the standing of the Honam/Hotchkiss family and the surrounding area.
The house also houses many artifacts from the Nicholson Family, a prominent family that lived in the house on Detroit Ave. which is also managed by the historical society. Items such as the family spinning wheel and storage chests are on display.
Also on display in the front parlor are items which were recovered from Whippoorwill, the former residence of Dr. Jared Potter Kirtland. Dr. Kirtland was Lakewood’s most celebrated 19thcentury citizen and was a naturalist, botanist, doctor, legislator, teacher and writer.
He is credited with originating 26 varieties of cherries and six of pears, and held the distinction of giving his name to a warbler, water snake mollusk, raspberry, strawberry and fossilized plant.
Behind the house is a garden with an original grapevine from the Nicholson fruit farm which stood on Detroit Ave. A centuries old English rose bush grows there which was brought from England by the Hall family when they emigrated to Rockport Township in the 19th century.
In a corner of the garden are tombstones for early Rockport Township citizens, abandoned from the relocation of the old Wagar cemetery on Detroit Rd.