The Hopkins House (83 Monroe St.) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document.  Adaptation copyright © 2003, The Gombach Group.
The Hopkins House (83 Monroe Street), one of Lockport's extant nineteenth-century stone residences, is located in a residential district located on the city's north side. The neighborhood surrounding the house consists of modest wood frame and stone houses dating from 1830 to 1900. The house is located on a 43 feet wide by 99 feet deep lot on the north side of Monroe Street between Allen Street on the west and Lock Street on the east. A poured concrete drive extends from the street, running along the east side of the house, to the rear of the house. Behind the driveway, a twentieth-century rubble-coursed stone wall defines the south boundary of the rear yard. The wall is connected to the northeast corner of the house by a stone arch containing a wrought metal gate. The west wall of the house abuts the driveway of the neighboring property.
Constructed in the 1830s, the Hopkins house is a three-bay, two-and-one-half-story, vernacular, front-gable single-family dwelling constructed of Medina sandstone. The house consists of a simple rectangular gable-roof block oriented with the narrow end facing the street. The exterior walls are constructed of quarry-face Medina sandstone laid with red-pigmented mortar. The main field of the primary facade consists of large blocks of stone laid in random-course ashlar. At the top of the facade, the wall at the gable is constructed of coursed rubble. Secondary facades are constructed of quarry-face squared stone laid in broken coursing. The corners of the building are reinforced with large sawed-finish quoins. Exterior wall openings incorporate dressed stone lintels and sills that are currently painted. Marks left from feathers and wedges used to split stone are visible on the exposed face of several stones used in the house's facade. The presence of the marks suggests scavenged or salvaged stone was used in the construction.
The house's south-facing street facade has a simple three-bay arrangement. Second-floor window openings align with the first-floor window and door openings. The main entrance, located at the east side of the front facade, is set within a wide opening spanned by a massive lintel. Although the opening retains a surround embellished with brackets and a dentiled architrave, the solid side panels and manufactured paneled door are modern replacement materials. The scroll console and chamfered molding found at each side of the entrance opening appear to date from the third quarter of the nineteenth century. The house's fenestration consists of uniformly sized, tall, narrow double-hung windows. Late-twentieth-century vinyl windows have replaced the original wood frames and sash. At the main facade, solid wood panels fill the top section of the masonry openings. Two former window openings, located at the rear and east facades, have been filled in with stone.
The gently sloped pitched roof incorporates broad projecting eaves with a narrow wood frieze. The eaves are probably a mid nineteenth-century alteration. The eaves and frieze are clad with aluminum.
A modern wood deck and a steel bulkhead door providing access to the cellar have been added to the rear facade of the house.
The house has a simple interior plan arranged around the open stair located at the southeast corner of the house. The interior of the house retains its historic configuration although it has been altered to provide modern kitchen and bath facilities.
The Hopkins House (83 Monroe Street) is an intact example of nineteenth-century stone architecture in Lockport, New York. The house is associated with the historic context "The History of Stone Architecture in Lockport: 1821-1909" which is fully described in The Stone Buildings of Lockport, New York Multiple Property Documentation Form. Although altered in the mid nineteenth-century, the Hopkins House is representative of the modest scale and use of readily available native stone that typified much of the city's domestic architecture during the first several decades of its existence. The Hopkins House represents the Medina Sandstone - Ashlar primary facade/uncoursed rock-face or rubble secondary facades type of domestic architecture described in Section F of Multiple Property Documentation Form.
Lockport developed directly as a result of the creation of the Erie Canal. Prior to creation of the canal, there was no settlement in the immediate area of the present town, but as a consequence of the canal survey, the area of present day Lockport was selected as the easiest location to cross the Niagara escarpment. The identification of the final canal route created a land rush in the area in the late 1810s and early 1820s. The development of the canal and the ensuing commerce and industry it spawned resulted in Lockport's first period of significant growth.
During the period between 1823 and 1833, the property at 83 Monroe Street sold and purchased by six different owners. In 1833, the property was bought by John Hopkins. Hopkins, a civil engineer from Rochester, was one of the hundreds of people who came to Lockport to work on the western section of the Erie Canal in the early 1820s. After the canal construction project was completed, Hopkins worked as an engineer for the Lockport and Niagara Falls Railroad and the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Railroad. On March 9, 1826 he married Sarah Chamberlin, daughter of Deacon Thomas Chamberlin of nearby Cambria. Sometime during the 1830s, Hopkins constructed a new house on Monroe Street on the village's north side. Like many of the modest homes built during the period, the Hopkins house appears to be built from scavenged and/or salvaged stone. The large piles of stone remaining from the excavation of the locks at the center of the village constituted obstacles to movement and development so their removal by any and all was encouraged. Hopkins remained in Lockport only until 1837, when he moved west to work on other canal and railroad projects in Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
Hopkins' career experience was typical of many technically trained men during the second quarter of the nineteenth century. The accumulation of practical knowledge from eastern projects such as the Erie Canal was taken to developing western areas and applied to new infrastructure projects. Many of the practically trained engineers served as educators in regions where universities had not yet been established. The mobility of people like Hopkins facilitated the rapid development and growth of western lands.
Over the next several years the house was bought and sold several times. In 1843, the house was purchased by Michael Wheaton. Wheaton, a Canal boatman, lived on an adjoining property at 66 Lock Street. He used the house as a boarding house serving canal workers who were in the area for relatively short periods or for those who were stopping and looking Lockport over to see if they wanted to settle down or move further westward. The operation of small scale boarding facilities appears to have been a common practice in Lockport during the 1840s when the village hosted a second wave of canal laborers, stonecutters, masons, and engineers working on the canal enlargement and reconstruction of the flight-of-five locks.
During the second half of the nineteenth century the house was occupied by the Fulcher and Douglas families.
The Hopkins House is an example of the simple, modest stone houses constructed by the village's working and middle-class families during the third and fourth decades of the nineteenth century. The houses' simple rectangular block massing, front-gable orientation, and three bay/side entrance facade are typical characteristics of Lockport's domestic architecture during the period.
The house displays masonry techniques typical in Lockport during the period including the use of dressed lintels and sills, massive quoins and the use of quarry-face stone. The street facade displays more refined masonry work than the other facades. The front of the house is laid in random-course ashlar while the secondary facades are constructed of squared stone and coursed rubble. The red pigmented mortar picks up the red and pink hues found in the Medina sandstone facing stone. Exposed notches in the face stone, left from feathers and wedges, are visible in several other modest stone houses within the city. Because purchased stone would be free of such marks, their presence and Hopkin's connection to canal construction suggests that scavenged or salvaged stone may have been used in construction of the house.
Like many of Lockport's remaining early stone houses, the appearance of the Hopkins house was affected by subsequent nineteenth-century alterations. Variations in the stone work at the front and rear facades suggest the roof of the house was raised to create a full second story. The present broadly projecting eaves, reflecting vernacular Italianate design, appear to date from about 1865. The chamfered moldings and scroll consoles at the entrance suggest it was reworked about the same time as the roof alteration.
Today the Hopkins house survives as a single-family residence in a nineteenth-century residential neighborhood. Despite minor twentieth-century alterations, the house remains an excellent example of Lockport's nineteenth century domestic stone construction.
(See Stone Buildings of Lockport, NY Multiple Property Documentation Form.)
Gooding, S. F. Interview with dated March 1896 - from the files in the Office of Niagara County Historian.
Lockport Observer, March 9, 1826.
Niagara Democrat, September 16, 1836.
Letter of I. C. Colton, April 18, 1896 - from the files in the Office of Niagara County Historian.