Missouri Rocks: Historic Stone Homes of Carthage

Real Estate Agent with United Country Countryside Realty

One of my favorite things about selling Carthage real estate is the opportunity to see so many beautiful homes made from locally quarried stone.  In the 1800s and early 1900s, limestone quarries were a big part of the local economy, along with other mining and manufacturing concerns.

Carthage limestone is a very high quality building stone, with such a fine texture that when polished it was referred to as "Carthage marble".  It was used throughout the Midwest for both interior and exterior purposes, including in the Missouri state capitol building.  The Jasper County Courthouse is also built of Carthage limestone.

Phelps House



Early industrial magnates added a high-end touch to the real estate market in Carthage by building themselves ornate stone mansions.  Limestone was hauled in and hand-hewn to fit on-site.  One of the loveliest homes in town is the Phelps House, owned by Carthage Historic Preservation, Inc.  I snapped this photo the other day when the autumn leaves were at their peak.




Mixed Stone House 


More modest Carthage homes also make great use of local stone.  This unusual home mixes the formal, pale grey Carthage stone blocks with what is called "native stone" here.  Native stone at its simplest is the rocks that a farmer works hard to dig out of his fields.  Not all native stone looks the same, but it is generally some shade of reddish-brown, and irregular in shape.  It's used in chunks; you can't really call them blocks.  I think this house looks just great with the native stone foundation and limestone walls.  You can see the more formal stone on the left hand wall and porch interior.



Throughout Southwest Missouri, rural properties also use native stone for barns and outbuildings.  Sometimes the farmhouse itself is also built of stone.  After all, it was free and they had plenty of it!  I'll add a little country stone tour in another blog entry. 

I'm still fascinated by the historic stone homes of Carthage.  Recently, I ran across a great project called "Early Stone Cutters in Western Missouri".  This is a great read for anyone who enjoys learning about early industry in the U.S.  I've always enjoyed finding out more about "anonymous artists":  stonemasons, quiltmakers, furniture builders and so many more.  Enjoy your reading and I'll be back with more Carthage history another day.



Comments (8)

Mike Norvell Sr
Morris Williams Realty - Leesburg, FL
Norvell Consulting Group
Hello Judith, nice post ,,and nice pitures too. Keep on doing the local post, that will get you noticed by a buyer one day. I got a sale here already for AR, It works...best wishes
Nov 15, 2007 08:41 AM
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
Good photos, Judith, and good explanations of your native stone. I liked the links as well. Thanks for posting.
Nov 15, 2007 09:14 AM
Judith Reppert
United Country Countryside Realty - Mount Vernon, MO

Thank you Mike and Sharon for your compliments, I sure appreciate you taking the time to read my blog.  My husband and I were in South Florida for 10 years before we moved here early in 07.  I think that's part of why I enjoy these old houses...I missed them so much while we were in Florida. 

Sharon, you'll have some nice historic stuff up in St Pete I'm sure, but there wasn't much down around Ft. Lauderdale.

Mike, I'm trying to be patient and just post interesting stuff, I figure it will eventually interest some customers too.  Congrats on your AR sale, that's great!

Nov 15, 2007 12:49 PM
Dena Stevens
Rocky Mountain Realty - Canon City, CO
Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004
I love the use of the natural stone, native building materials - of course I would.
Nov 16, 2007 01:01 PM
Amber Bourland
Ozarks' Independent Realty - West Plains, MO

The old houses and stone homes in the area is one of the reasons I love this part of the country. However, trying to garden here can be a challenge, as our best crop is the stone!

Thanks for the info, Judith! I have lived here for a lot of years and never got the information you provided. Goes to show that sometimes it takes "new eyes" to see what we drive past every day!

Nov 19, 2007 03:20 AM
Donna Medley
Dean Williams Realtors & Co. - Springfield, MO
My husband works for D&D Sexton there in Carthage, but we live in Dadeville, near Stockton Lake. Anyway, I get to drive up to Carthage with him every once in a while, and I love seeing all the beautiful Carthage Stone homes. I think Carthage is one of the prettiest towns in this part of the country. I like the stone accents that builders are using now in the new homes being built, too.
Mar 16, 2008 06:22 AM
Christi Wolverton
House of Brokers Realty - Columbia, MO


Great photos!  I grew up in Carthage and happened across this blog post.  I love to drive my family through Carthage and show off all the beautiful homes.  What a wonderful place to sell real estate.  Best of luck for you in 2009!

Apr 27, 2009 06:18 AM

Thanks everyone, Carthage sure is a pretty town.  I enjoy the more rustic stone buildings out in the country too.

Apr 28, 2009 02:22 AM