Naturally sculpted out of a solid bank of New Hampshire granite, the Stone House is one of Brooklime’s more glamorous physical curiosities.
The 'house' consists of a square room carved by the elements from a solid rock wall, with a crevice directly above it serving as an upper floor. Tradition has it that this unique structure has played many roles in the history of Brooklime’s early years.
Located off Old Milford Road, the Stone House was probably formed by glaciers when they swept through the area millions of years ago. The 'house' is set partway along the length of a towering granite formation that stretches about a quarter of a mile through the woods and contains dozens of caves. The granite forms a ravine which is the source of Storehouse Brook.
What specific powers of nature were able to remove this square block (approximately eight feet by eight feet) of stone at the base of the rock wall is difficult to surmise. The room has two fairly smooth perpendicular walls, a window-sized crevice on its west side and a doorway cut naturally into its southern side. A third wall is made up of a huge granite block extending upward and seeming to support the massive weight of the cliffs above. A closer look shows that the 'roof' of the house actually does not rest on this block.
The upper floor, or 'chamber', as it is called, is cut into the rock above the 'main room' and is large enough for several persons to lie down at one time, though it usually serves as home to some animal.
There is little history about the Stone House that can be specifically documented, but stories and rumors abound linking this rock-carved room to a few of New England's major political and historical upheavals.
It is said that Indians were the first to use the Stone House, and that they set up a trading post within its walls. Next came hunters, who used the structure for shelter during the harsh New England winter, a practice that has continued until recent times.
Political activity, it has been rumored, was also no stranger to those granite walls. The Revolutionary War was a case in point. While there are no specific cases of Tory activity in Brookline during the War for Independence, Edward E. Parker relates in the town history that a group of British supporters met at the Stone House to secretly plot the overthrow of the fledgling colonial government.
Active Tory groups existed in Hollis, New Hampshire and Townsend, Massachusetts and they were eventually run out of their respective towns by the local Committees of safety. The Townsend Tories were said to have fled directly northward, and it is possible to speculate that they used the Stone House for a secret meeting place or even as a rest stop for fugitives.
Almost seventy-five years later, it is rumored that fugitives were again hidden amongst the crags and crevices of the Stone House. Prior to the Civil War, the Underground Railroad ran from the southern states up through parts of New England into Canada. Milford and Townsend were both documented stops on this line and it is possible that the Stone House was used for stops between stations.
Since those tumultuous times, the Stone House has been visited by writers, rock climbers, artifact seekers, village children and sightseers. A well-known minister and author in the beginning of the century is said to have written many of his sermons there. There is a story related by Parker in his town history that recalls a cobbler who set up shop in thee Stone House early in the 1800's, and other rumors speak of a blacksmith shop.
The Stone House area with its many shelters would certainly have been a prime dwelling or hiding site for Indians and there is some evidence of Indian use. The Conservation Commission is hoping to find both an archeologist and a geologist to help study this area.
Many people have made their mark on the 'house' in the form of initials carved into the walls. Some that are over a hundred years old are still clearly readable. According to Parker who wrote in 1914, there are many names on those walls that have ''...never appeared on any memorial stone other than this in this town."
Getting there: Park behind the Stonehouse Press (17 Old Milford Road).