I'm thrilled that this photo of mine appeared on Shutter Sisters as part of their "weekending" series, so I figured I'd better share it with you all as well. As I was going through my photos from my recent trip to Kentucky I realized the stone fences I was so enamored with deserve their own little photo essay, so here we go. This particular one is the southern fence of Shaker Village.
Driving out of Lexington on State Route 68 towards Shaker Village, I was completely charmed to find these stone walls lining some of the meadows and fields. I only knew them from Ireland and felt transported back to the bicycle tour my sister and I did of County Clare many years ago. To find these dry wall structures in the picturesque landscape of the Kentucky River Valley was unexpected.
Upon research I found that they are indeed rare in the U.S. and the Kentucky Bluegrass Country is famous for them. In Ireland we were told they were built to get all those stones off the fields so they could be farmed, and indeed, these kind of walls are found in areas where the soil is full of rocks, such as Kentucky, known for its brittle limestone. Dry stone wall building is a particular method where a wall is constructed without any mortar to hold the stones together; rather, the mason figures out which stones will fit together best according to their shape. Thus these walls can be hundreds of years old as they don't depend on mortar that deteriorates over time.
All these photos are taken around the Shaker Village property. I wanted to take pictures earlier along Route 68 but it proved impossible to park the car safely along the narrow road and wander about.
Here with this newer stone fence in the Historic Farm section of Shaker Village you can see the dry wall technique at work. Stones are fit together perfectly to support a hole in the wall!
The classic white fence is what we expect to see in American farmland, at least in standard depictions of horse country, and here, right behind it, is one of those old stone walls.