Indigenous to the Ozark region of Missouri and Arkansas, the stone veneers known as “Ozark Giraffe” are a highly memorable vernacular construction technique.   Examples of structures clad in this manner are also commonly found in adjacent areas of Oklahoma and extreme southeastern Kansas.  Believed to have been used as early as the 1910’s, the technique flourished when popularized by agricultural extension bulletins in the 1930’s.  Resembling the coat of a giraffe, the veneers are made of large, thin, slabs of stone which frequently have an orangish hue.  The slabs were set with unusually wide and convex mortar joints which were frequently painted white — enhancing the resemblance to a giraffe.

While the style is still common in the Ozarks, it is rarely seen far beyond the South Central states.  Below are three photos of two houses I ran across in Southwest Nebraska which are representative of the style. These houses appear to have been built around 1960 – about 10 years after the style fell out of favor in the Ozarks.

This end wall is a classic example of a "Giraffe house".

The side of a “Giraffe house” in Nebraska…

...and the front of the same house.

…and the front of the same house.

A nearby house was also built using the technique, with brick incorporated into the veneer (also seen in the Ozarks):

A bit of the Ozarks in Nebraska!

A bit of the Ozarks in Nebraska!

The following houses actually are in the Ozarks (images courtesy Google Street View):

Batesville, Missouri.

Batesville, Arkansas.

Springfield, Missouri.

Springfield, Missouri.  A frame Victorian house which was later re-clad in stone.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas.  Here, the mortar joints are atypically painted black… more frequently they are painted white.

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