Stone Wall Repair, Restoration, Design and Construction

The tradition of dry-laid stone wall building in New England is fascinating.  Native people had been building various structures out of stone for ages, but farm style walls began to get built as soon as settlers started clearing woodlands to make fields suitable for farming. As the trees and vegetation were cleared, the stones buried in the soil rose to the surface to be laboriously dug out and dragged with oxen to the edges of fields and along property boundaries. Usually in the spring, everyone around the farm would help with this monumental task. The farmers, their wives, hired help, the kids, and the neighbors would all pitch in.At first, the stones were just thrown in a long pile along these areas. Sometimes, they were thrown loosely and relatively quickly into walls. Many of these “thrown walls” are still seen around New England today.

Later, as farms got more prosperous and survival wasn’t the only goal, more care was put into the construction of the walls reflecting the pride that  the American farmers had in their farms.  During the mid 1800’s, gangs of stone wallers traveled around New England rebuilding many of the hastily built walls on people’s farms.  Most towns had laws in place regarding mandatory heights of stone walls and fencing to prevent neighbor disputes over livestock as far back as the 1600’s.

Although many of these walls are still standing tall on farms, near homes, and throughout the woodlands of New England that were once farm fields, many more have been lost. Some have fallen apart to be reclaimed by the soil, some have been broken down and used in other building projects, and many more were crushed and used for building roads around New England when stone grinding machinery was developed.

Native history, colonial history, and American agricultural history are all closely intertwined with the thousands of miles of dry-laid stone walls that remain and run throughout New England. It is my hope that awareness of the historical importance and raw beauty of these structures will lead to their preservation and appreciation, and I for one am proud to be one more person in a long line of stone wall builders, helping to preserve the stone wall legacy, one stone at a time.

Now servicing Watch Hill • Westerly • North Kingstown • Little Compton • Jamestown • Foster • East Greenwich • Block Island • South Kingstown • West Greenwich • and beyond!

The tradition of dry-laid stone wall building in New England is fascinating.  Native people had been building various structures out of stone for ages, but farm style walls began to get built as soon as settlers started clearing woodlands to make fields suitable for farming. As the trees and vegetation were cleared, the stones buried in the soil rose to the surface to be laboriously dug out and dragged with oxen to the edges of fields and along property boundaries. Usually in the spring, everyone around the farm would help with this monumental task. The farmers, their wives, hired help, the kids, and the neighbors would all pitch in.At first, the stones were just thrown in a long pile along these areas. Sometimes, they were thrown loosely and relatively quickly into walls. Many of these “thrown walls” are still seen around New England today.

Later, as farms got more prosperous and survival wasn’t the only goal, more care was put into the construction of the walls reflecting the pride that  the American farmers had in their farms.  During the mid 1800’s, gangs of stone wallers traveled around New England rebuilding many of the hastily built walls on people’s farms.  Most towns had laws in place regarding mandatory heights of stone walls and fencing to prevent neighbor disputes over livestock as far back as the 1600’s.

Although many of these walls are still standing tall on farms, near homes, and throughout the woodlands of New England that were once farm fields, many more have been lost. Some have fallen apart to be reclaimed by the soil, some have been broken down and used in other building projects, and many more were crushed and used for building roads around New England when stone grinding machinery was developed.

Native history, colonial history, and American agricultural history are all closely intertwined with the thousands of miles of dry-laid stone walls that remain and run throughout New England. It is my hope that awareness of the historical importance and raw beauty of these structures will lead to their preservation and appreciation, and I for one am proud to be one more person in a long line of stone wall builders, helping to preserve the stone wall legacy, one stone at a time.

Now servicing Watch Hill • Westerly • North Kingstown • Little Compton • Jamestown • Foster • East Greenwich • Block Island • South Kingstown • West Greenwich • and beyond!

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