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House now has future and past
Restoration project nears completion on historic stone house in Austin Ridge subdivision in North Stafford.

 The Robertson/Towson House, commonly called the 'Old Stone House,' is made of Aquia stone,
which is a generic name for the type of sandstone found in a band that runs through Stafford County.

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LEE WOOLF
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Date published: 5/29/2002

WHEN I VISITED an old
friend last week, I was
surprised by her new look. I hadn't seen her in more than a year, and it was clear she had undergone some reconstruction.

You know what I meansome patching here, some stabilizing there. I also detected some new caps and a general makeover.

The new look was flattering, especially when you consider my friend is about 180 years old.

I sensed that her spirit had been restored as well. She didn't seem the least bit offended when I joked that she was still as big as a house.

After all, she is a house.

My friend is commonly called the "Old Stone House," and she resides on a hill near Rocky Run on the southern edge of Austin Ridge subdivision in North Stafford.

Her more formal name is the "Robertson/Towson House," which combines the names of the two families who built homes on the site and operated a nearby sandstone quarry during the 1800s.

The house is made of Aquia stone, which is a generic name for the type of sandstone found in a band that runs through Stafford County.

Now just a great stone shell, the structure being restored is significant, according to experts, because it is probably the best example of an all-sandstone house as you will find in Stafford County.

"Aquia Stone was usually used just for basements and architectural trim during the 1700s and 1800s," said Jane Henderson Conner, a local historian who has done extensive research on Stafford's sandstone industry.

"It was unusual to have an all-sandstone house."

Conner also said there is documentation to show that stone from the nearby quarry was shipped to Washington for the construction of public buildings, including the U.S. Capitol.

"The site is important to the history of the nation, as well as the history of Stafford County," she said. "I'm delighted it's being saved. And I hope the people who live in Austin Ridge realize how important it is."

The restoration project should be completed by the end of June according to Rick Wolff, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Geo. H. Rucker Realty Corporation of McLean, which is developing Austin Ridge.


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