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Our sandstone heritage

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Kent resident takes pride in cobblestone house, sandstone step

Photos by Tom Rivers – Pete Consler bought two hitching posts and a carriage step about three decades from a Hulberton man who didn’t want them. Consler keeps them in immaculate shape in front of his historic cobblestone home on Kent Road.

KENT – Pete Consler was driving through Hulberton about three decades ago when he saw buckled sandstone sidewalk panels. He thought they would be a nice complement to his home, a cobblestone house built in 1843.

Consler has just moved into his parents’ former cobblestone cottage home on Kent Road more than 30 years ago. Consler and his wife Joan would raise two sons in the historic house.

Consler’s father Art added sandstone steps a few years before Consler noticed the sidewalk panels. He stopped in Hulberton and the owner said he would sell them – if Consler took all the pieces.

Consler also noticed a carriage step and two hitching posts. He asked if they were for sale and the owner threw them in the deal. The owner was glad to be rid of them.

Consler had a friend help him move the heavy stone to his home, where Consler established two sandstone walkways and put the hitching posts and carriage step near the road, trying to recreate a setup from the horse-and-buggy days.

I was on Kent Road last evening to do a story on Chet Wheelock and his family’s hot air balloon ride. I drove past Wheelock’s farm and ended up at Consler’s. His property is a showcase of our cobblestone and sandstone heritage.

The house has been in his family since 1949, when his parents Art and Rose Consler bought it as a cottage. Consler remembers spending the summers in Kent, and working for a dairy farmer down the road – “Boy did I get an education.”

Consler worked as a union plumber and as a pipefitter for General Motors. He has used his skills and hard work ethic to keep up an immaculate property. He repointed all the mortar on the house and has kept many of the house’s interior pieces, including a cast-iron potbelly stove and pre-rotary phone. His wife has developed a garden that could be featured in a magazine. Pete’s mother secured the tops of two old Rochester street lights that her son fixed up and mounted in the front lawn with toned-down lights.

The hitching posts include Italian lettering. Consler would like to know the story behind the symbols.

Pete Consler is a proud owner of a cobblestone home, and a sandstone carriange step.

Consler has battled cancer five times in the past 22 years. He is thankful for each day, he said.

“I’ve been blessed to have the best doctors in the world,” he said.

Consler also traveled to Rome, and met the Pope. Consler even shook his hand. He thinks that experience has helped him survive cancer.

I told Consler about my hitching post obsession, how I’m trying to build a database of all these relics from the horse-and-buggy era. I think Orleans County may be home to more of these than anywhere else, and could be part of a draw for tourists, especially if the hitching posts and carriage steps are part of a bigger sandstone and cobblestone story.

Consler’s two posts have lettering in Italian. If anyone reads this and knows what it means, please send me a note. These are two of the most ornate posts that I’ve seen. I’d guess they were owned by a well-to-do resident of Hulberton.

Consler feels such pride in his home, he had his name etched in the carriage step, just like many families did more than a century ago.

I told him he has done a great job with the place.

(If you have a hitching post story to tell, send me an email at tom@orleanshub.com.)