Twin brothers Leslie and Wesley Cobb have from an abandoned stone quarry, grown dense with trees, soap weeds and plum bushes, Leslie and Wesley Cobb, have made two beautiful homesites which are often mistaken for a park.
Entrance to the circle drive which goes by the two Cobb homes is off West Second street at 502. This part of the yard has been cleared of rock and a deep fill of dirt holds the roots of tall trees, grass and flower plantings. To the rear of the lot rises a 24 foot stone cliff of South Dakota Sandrock which has been cut back eight to ten feet by blasting digging and hard work. This make the walls right angles to the west right angles to the west wall which is the same height. A long stairway of 42 cement steps extend on this wall and lead to the upper garden and the site of the new home of Mr. And Mrs. Wesley Cobb. The stairway was put in three steps at a time in the middle of the winter when water for the cement mixing was heated and calcium chloride was used to keep the cement from freezing. Neighbors interested in the project kept the coffee pot on the stove and supplied hot drinks and encouragement to the working brothers.
The Cobbs work at their project when they arrive home from a days work at their electric shop downtown. They accomplish a great deal on holidays when they have the entire day to work an their long range plan for beautification of their home grounds which comprises a half block.
Many cases of dynamite have been used in blasting the rock and literally thousands of loads of rock have been hauled away. Dynamite was used for the last time in 1947 when rocks lighted in the neighbors yards and some citizens thought they shook the town, so dynamiting ceased and rocks have been torn away the hard way.
The property was acquired from W.L. Prose through the real estate agent H. J. Jacquart in 1921 and work began at once to clear the lots. Rock was quarried for foundations of the house of Mr. And Mrs. Leslie Cobb which was remodeled and the garage and an earthen slope was removed. Dirt was hauled in from every site in Larned where basements were dug and a fill of 11 feet affords plenty of room for tree roots and roots of smaller plants.
A portion of the original stone formation has been left as nature intended and from this section of the rock, large Chinese elms and smaller bushes have grown in the cracks and crevices adding to the beauty of the natural formation.
A deep hole extends into the north wall which is 16 feet and 4 inches deep and is used for a garage before the stone was cut back the opening was 40 feet deep and 12 feet wide and 8 feet high and was used for storing creek ice by Mr. Prose this was packed in straw for later sale. The stone garage is a practical storing place for nothing ever freezes in the deep recesses of the cave like structure.
Mounting the 42 cement steps one comes out onto the upper garden where a trellis and two seats await the stair climber. Following one of the many curved sidewalks in the flower garden, a summer house is reached which is perched on the corner of the meeting of two rock walls. This restful spot is equipped with comfortable benches and the round roof is completely covered with a thick growth of silverlace vine which hangs below the deep roof to sway in the breeze. The Cobbs refer to this beauty spot as "The Web" on account of the thick growth resembling a tightly woven web.
The upper garden boasts a blooming rose bed and many flowering annuals among which are blooming and producing tomato plants. All the ground has a light straw mulch and weeds are not allowed to raise their threatening heads before they are cleared away.
When the old third ward school house was torn down the Cobb brothers brought home 36,000 bricks from the building and at once began to clean the mortar and sort the bricks into sizes to be used later. Many of the buff bricks are being used in building the new home of Mr. And Mrs. Wesley Cobb which will be in the upper garden. Already the lower level of the house is nearing compellation and steps of the buff brick lead to the upper walks from the south and north ends of the structure.
The house will have six large south windows in this ground level which will let in light for planters along the inside and will form a background for planters to be placed along the outside of the windows between the house and the driveway. Six red bud trees line the driveway just off State Street.
Only steel, bricks and cement have been used in the construction of this part of the house which has five supporting columns for the front which are made of six inch oil field pipe drill stem and poured fill of cement. Threads are on the outside of the upper part of the stem to allow for addition to the column. No wood is to be used in the construction. Plans for a marquee to shade the windows in the summer and let in winter sun are in the offing, but iron bolts have been placed in the cement ready on hold the weight of the huge shade.
The entire area of the half block is wired and may be lighted at night and fences run along the far reaches of the cliffs and hand rails have been placed for protection of those going up or down the many steps to the different levels of the yards
Flowers bloom later in the Cobb garden than in the open spaces, for the warmth from the rock which has absorbed the suns rays, keep the roots warm and active. Birds of many varieties abound in this lovely spot and squirrels scamper here and there amount the vines and flowers.
A visit to the yard at the rear of the lot shows stacked baskets, buckets, cement mixers, wheel barrows, tubs trowels, picks and shovels and many other tools and equipment all cleaned and in order ready for the worker the following evening.
The Cobb brothers have a most unusual place with the many rock walls at different levels, a variety of flowers, trees and scrubs. Its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.
Used With Permission of the Author
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