Thursday, November 9, 2017
Limestone Houses Still Stand Near Dorchester
As the leaves continue to drop from the trees, take a late autumn drive in the countryside south of Dorchester and you will spot an old stone house or two.
These structures played an important role in the permanent settlement of the Dorchester and Pleasant Hill areas.
Fortunately for us, more than 125 years after their construction, some of these homes still stand, allowing the residents of the 21st century to take a step back in time.
When the first European settlers came to Saline County in the 1850s and 1860s, quality lumber had to be brought via the Missouri River and by wagon from Nebraska City. That was a trip that could take several weeks. As an alternative, most homes were either dugouts or made from sod or limestone.
Luckily for our pioneer ancestors, a vein of limestone runs near Pleasant Hill and Turkey Creek. Quarries and lime kilns could be found throughout the Pleasant Hill precinct, according to the Dorchester Centennial history book.
Some of these quarries operated until the mid-twentieth century, when they ceased to be financially viable.
The Sukraw house, Brown house, Pisar house and barn, Freude house and See house were prime examples of this early architecture.
They were as practical as they were sturdy.
A map of the stone home locations can be found on page 198 of the Dorchester Centennial history book. (Note: The centennial book can be found here, using the username "dorchester" and password "longhorns".)
We encourage Times readers to explore the living history and heritage of their home area. But please respect the rights of the owners and don't set foot on these properties without getting permission.