Henry Haut was a young man when he emigrated from Belgium. And he had come to Cardston to work as a finishing carpenter on the Mormon temple there. In 1913, Henry bought the old log house that had belonged to Joseph Young, the man sent from Utah to help with the Mormon settlement of Alberta.
According to historian Dorothy Field, the land around the two-storey log house was littered with rocks.
He moved them himself, and he also had a large black dog that he either hitched up to a wheelbarrow or to a small cart and had the dog transport the rocks for him. So he took these river rocks and proceeded to build walls around the original log building and eventually completely encased it in walls from 22 to 26 inches thick of these cobblestones.
But Henry Haut couldn't stop. Once he'd encased the house in stone, he added a coal cellar, two more large rooms, and a veranda. Then he finished the inside of the house with scraps of exotic hardwoods that were leftover from his work on the Cardston Temple.
He made, in one room, 125 different wood-paneling patterns for the ceiling, some of them with 50 or more pieces interlocking to form these patterns. He also had cobblestone fireplaces and quite an elaborate lighting system in one room with upwards of 40 different fixtures, recessed or hanging lights, some of them with fancy glass, much like a Tiffany lamp. So this was quite unusual and luxurious at the time, when a person would count themselves lucky to have a single light bulb illuminating the room.
Henry sweated over his Cobblestone Manor from 1913 to 1929. It was truly a labour of love.
He had a sweetheart off somewhere that he was proposing to bring to Cardston once the house was finished. Of course it took him about 16 years to do that and, apparently, when he was finished this sweetheart, in fact, did not want to come to Cardston. So, this brought a rather sad close to this story in that he was not able to cope with the situation and was committed to the hospital at Ponoka where he died shortly afterwards.
The stone house was occupied by the Cardston Freemasons until the 1960s. Cobblestone Manor has since been turned into a restaurant and, in 1982, was designated a provincial historic resource.
On the Heritage Trail,
I'm Cheryl Croucher.