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August 20, 2014

On our recent trip through my husband's old stomping grounds, Maryland's Catoctin Mountains, we saw some beautiful rolling farm land.  One of the remarkable things about farms in that area is the number of rock fences still standing.

It got me to thinking, "What happened
to our country's rock fences?"

Let's step back a few hundred years and look at the
importance of natural rock in our country's history.

 When settlers first came to America there was
an abundance of trees for wood and log houses.
Most of the early homes had rock foundations.
Colonists tamed the wilderness and were able to sustain themselves through farming and hunting.  At the same time building became more sophisticated.

As farmers tilled their fields behind a horse and plow they uncovered rocks which they used to build homes, out buildings and fences.

The Old Stone House, left, is located in Georgetown and was built in 1703.

This old stone house sits at the crossroads in Wolfsville, Md.

By the middle of the 19th Century, at the height of the industrial revolution, steam powered rock crushers were efficiently reducing rocks into rubble.  As automobiles became popular in the early 20th Century, country dirt roads were paved with gravel.

My husband remembers his grandfather telling him that portable rock crushers were brought to their area in the 1930's.  Many farmers donated the rocks from their fences to be crushed into gravel to pave the dirt roads as more efficient and less labor-intensive fencing was becoming available.

So, there you have it.  Modernization made stone fencing obsolete.  

But, wait.  Look what we saw as we drove back home:


These beauties might not be used to make fences but it's heartwarming to know that they'll probably be used in someone's garden.

The Circle of Life is so satisfying, isn't it?


  1. Great photos!!! The log cabin is awesome!

  2. my comment flee lol I love all those lovely old houses, I love all photos, it's all so beautiful thank you for sharing

  3. Some beautiful homes, particularly the log cabin. We still have a lot of the old stone walls here in the UK.

  4. I love stone walls. Having seen so many on our trip to the U.K. I would love one in my garden.

  5. I still think that we could have done with fewer auto mobiles.

  6. Hi Jan! What beautiful pictures. My house in Connecticut has stone walls on both sides. I love them. New England has a ton of of them. Hope all is well!