THE CROTON HEIGHTS STONE WALL
Route 118 and Croton Heights Road
Construction: In late 1934 or early 1935 Chester Tompkins, a
stone mason, was contracted by H.L. Wilson, one of the
developers of Croton Heights, to build a stone wall to
distinguish the entrance to Croton Heights. Chester designed the
wall. The granite blocks in the two pillars, carved with the
name of Croton Heights, were ordered from the quarry in Mohegan.
Chester hired his brother, Wally, and Jim Wilson to work with
him. The stones were laboriously brought up from the stream area
below the road.
Because he was so busy during the other times of the year,
Chester had to undertake building the wall in the winter. This
meant a difficult problem with mixing the mortar and getting it
to set properly. To deal with this he and the other masons kept
a fire going and mixed the mortar with hot water. They also
added a type of special salt to the mortar to help the setting
process. Chester used a particular technique in constructing the
walls in order to show off the size, shape and color of the
stones. The mortar was not brought out to the face of the stones
but, rather, set in. The wall took several months to complete.
As Croton Heights was developed, stone walls and paths were
built throughout the area, including a path up from the train
station which included a series of descending pools. Sadly, most
have been destroyed over the years and the walls at the entrance
stand as the only reminder of the stone work which once graced
the entire area.
The walls not only provide a
distinguishing entrance to the historic Croton Heights
residential area but also serve as an example of the fine
stonework which has been done in the area over the years.