“Stonewalling”–Moulded Stone Wall-Facing

Rostone house

Retrieved from Library of Congress, Historic American Buildings Survey

Rostone was one of many “simulated masonry” developments.  Produced in 1933 for the Chicago World’s Fair Century of Progress exhibition, it was used to create the Wieboldt-Rostone House designed by Walter Scholer (McKee, Stonewalling America: Simulated Stone Products).   Last week, we took a look at StoneKote, one of the simulated masonry techniques, and, well, frankly, one thing led to another in trying to track down some local examples.  And no, the Wieboldt-Rostone House is not local, nor has due diligence turned up any local examples of the apparent many versions of simulated masonry, though I am in hopes you all will locate some and pass them along to us here at MissPres.

Among the manufacturers of simulated masonry, such as last week’s featured Stonekote, included Formstone, Perma-Stone, Fieldstone, Dixie Stone, Rostone, and Stone of Ages.  According to McKee, Perma-Stone was the “originator of moulded stone wall-facing” and debuted in 1929.  Materials included portland cement, aggregate, crushed quartz mineral colors, and metallic hardeners, and “spawned many competitors.”

Rostone was manufactured as a pre-fab panel measuring 16″x24″ and shipped to assemble on-site.  Simulated stone masonry provided

…an inexpensive way for the middle-class American to enjoy the prominence of a ‘stone’ house. (McKee)

The Wieboldt-Rostone House was one of several produced for the 1933 fair, and moved to Beverly Shores, Indiana after the fair closed.  Currently owned by the National Park Service, the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, and began to undergo restoration in 2013.  The simulated stone was

…not as durable as originally predicted and deteriorated by 1950.

The owners covered the Rostone with Perma-Stone concrete stucco, and only the area surrounding the front door remained original Rostone.

original entrance



Categories: Architectural Research, Historic Preservation


1 reply

  1. There are 5 or 6 of the World’s Fair houses at Beverly Shores. They are well worth a visit if you are in Chicago or northern Indiana. Beverly Shores is perched within the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a remnant of the sand dunes and marshy swales that once rimmed the southern rim of Lake Michigan.


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