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.