graestone manor - tours and history
trotting park 2
graestone manor root house gasport ny before 1940s black and white
graestone manor gasport ny - root trotting park 2
    Graestone Manor is a historic Victorian home that was built in 1865 by Curtis Root. The house sits in a beautiful and open farmland setting that is surrounded by sprawling cornfields and luscious green woods. Mr Root was a horse racing enthusiast and he built a quarter mile race track on the property next to this house. He called the track the ‘Roots Trotting Park’. He also bred and raced Hamiltonian horses which he kept in the massive 60’ x 80’ barn that once existed on this land. You can still see the massive stone foundations of which still stand next to this stately home today. People would come from all around to watch and participate in these horse races too.
This part of Royalton New York was known as Reynale Basin, and back in the 1850’s it was a bustling hub of activity. Nestled along the banks of the Erie Canal and next to the Medlna Railroad it was the place to be. There were seven hotels, saloons, a cigar factory, wagon and blacksmiths shops, saw mills, churches a shoe factory, boarding houses plus many more businesses. There also was a prestigious academy that was established in 1850 and people would come from all around to go there.
During the original construction of the house Mr Root had certain key pieces of the house shipped in via the Erie Canal. The large wooden spiral staircase in the front hall, as well as the large hand cut stone pavers that act as the pathways that surround the house were shipped in. He spared no expense during its construction. It now boasts all of the original woodwork and doors throughout the home. They have remained untouched since they were first installed in 1965. The three sets of massive 11’ wooden pocket doors are made of three different types of wood, mahogany, cherry and tiger oak, they are truly works of art. There are large plaster ceiling medallions that decorate the ceilings as well as other ornate ceiling plaster work that is all original. Some of these medallions measure up to 4’ in diameter. There are also many of the original interior wooden window shutters that are still in tact and functional.
Mr Root was killed at the turn of the 20th century in a horse riding accident that occurred over by the nearby train tracks. After his death, the house was then taken care of by his wife Melissa and their daughter Flora. The house then passed to Flora, but after her death in the 1940’s it was then sold to the Roszman family. They were a couple who never had any children. When Mr Roszman passed his wife then remained in the house alone for another 35 years. She was blind for most of that time and lived in only a few of the downstairs rooms and never went into the upstairs of the home for most of that 35 year span. As she became elderly the house fell into disrepair. After her death the house then continued to deteriorate, and this is when the previous owners discovered it in 1999 and purchased it. When they moved in they had a huge amount of restoration to do. Because the first two families never had any children, the house was in relatively good and original shape considering it’s age. They said when they walked in for the first time it was like walking in to a time capsule. Nothing had been touched since the 1800’s. The original wallpaper still hung on the walls and the original Victorian era fabric carpeting still covered the wide planked wooden floors. Because the house had been uncared for for so many years the roof had subsequently fallen apart and families of raccoons moved in.
The new owners then painstakingly had the ceilings, walls and roof replaced and repaired. They hired master plasterers to come in and restore the intricate plaster ceiling medallions as well. They also had the carpets in the upstairs bedrooms were imported from Europe. They are the same carpets that exists in the US Congress. After the owner had spent some time in the government, she fell in love with the carpets there. She then inquired where they were purchased from and had the same pattern imported in and installed in this home.
We then purchased this lovely home and are continuing to try and restore the house to its original 1865 glory.