Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dry stone fence

This past weekend I helped Secret Agent Man drop off some salt blocks on a a very old farm here in our county. Flyboy, Secret Agent Man's brother, is a partial owner of this farm and I must say it is quite beautiful. Quite a bit of this farm remains untouched. The group of men who own it use it strictly for hunting and a lot of of the natural beauty still remains.

In the early 1800's the original owners farmed tobacco on the property. This 180 acre farm stayed in the original family until the 1980's. The farm borders another important farm in our county. Back in the day a dry stone fence was constructed as a boundary marker between the two properties. At this time approximately half a mile of dry stone fence remains in tact between the properties.




A dry stone fence is unique in that it contains no mortar between the stones. In central Kentucky, it is estimated that between 5 and 10% of these 19 century rock fences are still standing. In Kentucky there are more dry stone fences than there are in any other place in the United States.



Many people use the term, "slave wall", to describe these walls. Actually this is a bit of a misnomer. Irish immigrants who came into Kentucky taught slaves their stone mason skills. The slaves continued to use this craft all over Kentucky.

If you are interested in seeing more pictures of dry stone fences in Kentucky just go to Google, click on images, and type in, "dry stone fences in Kentucky".

7 comments:

  1. Two things about Ireland that reminded me of home: these walls are EVERYWHERE, and so is John Deere farm equipment.

    There are workshops sponsored by the state historical society on how to restore or reconstruct dry stone fences.

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  2. When I moved to Kentucky as a bride I was blown away by all of the stone walls - I couldn't believe they were still standing - without any mortar! They really are beautiful.

    Thanks for sharing your pictures - I kinda miss those beautiful old walls!

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  3. These fences are so cool! Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Love love the fence. And what intersting history to go along with it. NEAT!

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  5. Wish we had that flat stone around here. I would definitely be building dry stone fences. We have plenty of rocks, but nothing flat enough to stack.
    Love those pictures. Makes you wonder about the hands that built it.

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  6. My great grandfather was a stonemason in Kentucky in the late 1800s. May I use one of your pictures to show an example of work he might have done?

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