In 1870, William Ward, a mechanical engineer living in Port Chester, New York , conceived the novel idea of building a concrete house. After preliminary experiments with reinforced concrete and tests for deflection, shear strengths and fire resistance, he engaged Robert Mock, a New York architect, to design what is acknowledged to be the first reinforced concrete house in the country. When completed in 1875, neighbors- expecting its imminent collapse- called it "Ward's Folly." as time went by and its comfort and durability became evident, its name was changed to "Ward's Castle." The description which follows is an abbreviated version of one appearing in THE AMERICAN ARCHITECT AND BUILDING NEWS, August 18, 1877: "Mr. Ward assumed all responsibility of construction. He set out with two resolves: to test everything thoroughly by actual experiment, and to have no contract work in his house. Its construction required four thousand barrels of imported portland cement, eight thousand barrels of machine-broken North River limestone, and an equal amount of white beach pebbles. Of the materials consisted mostly of the smallest and lightest forms of I-beams and three-eighths inch round-iron rods. Throughout, Mr. Ward followed the system of Coignet- making the concrete very dry and ramming it thoroughly." "The most interesting treatment is the construction of the floors. This is a combination of light rolled iron beams, small rods, and concrete; and though the materials are nearly the same as those employed for floor construction in France, the French system places main reliance on the beams used. In this building the beams are strengthened by being surrounded by a body of concrete, and filling between them is a homogeneous mass extending above the tops of the beams and to all four sides of the rooms. The floors are thus stiffened, not only in the direction of the beams, but in all directions. For this purpose a ledge is built out in the walls around each room to carry the outer edge of the concrete floor."