Stone House Tour

When: Sep. 1 - Nov. 1, Anytime
Where: Around Perth County , Shakespeare
Cost: Free
Contact: or come to The Perth County Welcome Centre
Hosted by: The Perth County Visitors Association
For further details visit


Looking for something to do this fall? Why not try out our self guided Stone House Tour. The Tour map can be downloaded right from your house or look us up on your phone

Stone houses are steeped in old world character and nothing showcases the talent of a stonemason like the custom workmanship evident in a century old building. The quality of construction and the strength of the stone are apparent in the fact that there are still so many stone structures still standing. The heritage of Perth County is captured in the stone house, bridges, churches, and walls found in the area. A drive through Perth County offers examples of 2 distinct styles of stone buildings: 

1. Ashlar: This style is identified by smoothly cut stone constructed with minimal space between the stones, much like a typical brick design. 

2. River or Field Stone: This style has a more whimsical appearance. Because the stone is used more or less as it is found, these buildings constructed with river or field stones give each structure its own unique character

The use of stone in the construction process was a well-developed response to the resources that were locally available in the mid to late 19th Century. Scottish immigrants, who tended to be skilled in cutting stone, preferred to refashion the stone into regular rectangular blocks. Other immigrants, mainly German, were more likely to be skilled in working with wood. When working with stone, they preferred to split the stones but did not otherwise change the shape of the stone. This required a large amount of mortar. 

The variety of stone houses, buildings and other structures reflects the heritage of Perth County, specifically the large pockets of settlers of German and Scottish descent.

Hand quarrying was the method used most in the St. Marys’ area. It involved the use of iron wedges, known as feathers, inserted into hand-jumper drilled holes and forced apart by a cylindrical iron plug. After the stone was removed it required time to cure before being used in building projects. “Quarry sap” – the water contained in a block of limestone – would evaporate, leaving the normally porous limestone nearly impervious to saturation. St. Marys limestone is known to be soft when quarried, hardening upon contact with air, whereas several nearby communities have limestone that is hard to quarry but softens as it ages