Rock Fences of Kentucky
Central Kentucky is world famous for Thoroughbred horses and endless miles of rock fences (Dry stone walls).
There are more rock fences here than any place in the USA.
In Central Kentucky only 5 -10% of these 19th century dry stone walls built by Irish Immigrant stone masons still stand.
These stone masons passed their craft on to black slaves that became masters of the craft of building rock walls.
This is where the term,"slave walls" came about. Since I grew up here in the Bluegrass, this is what I had always thought they were. I had no idea that the dry stone walls originated with the Irish immigration to the Bluegrass!
Our Kentucky rock fences are mostly built with local limestone that is plentiful in the fields. Once cleared and prepared for agriculture, the stone was easily used as border walls to pastures.
All the stones are laid free-handed with no mortar. My examples of Central Kentucky legendary rock fences below were photographed on Spears Mill Rd. in Bourbon County, Kentucky. These walls are where the bridge crosses Stoner Creek.
Building these rock fences has almost become a lost art.
Dry Stone Conservancy in Lexington, KY is dedicated to preserving dry-stone structures and training a new generation of artisans in their construction and maintenance.
Fayette and Scott counties have ordinances to prevent removal of rock fences in public rights-of-way.
Just to note: The Bluegrass has the largest extent of quarried rock fences in the country. While some fences near the river are of field gathered rock, all of those in the Inner Bluegrass are built of quarried rock -- rock was not near the surface there.
Also, A great advantage to dry laid fences is that when accidentally hit, it is easy to remove the damaged section and re-lay it, unlike mortared fences where a whole section is damaged from one place.(Submitted by Carolyn Murray-Wooley, Director Dry Stone Conservancy)
This has protected many from disappearing forever.
When they get damaged in large sections from accidents it is difficult to restore them and many just fade away.
I drive by these everyday and I have to respect the time that went in to design and building them from materials from our beautiful land.
Every now and then you see the bumper sticker that says, "Growth Destroys Bluegrass Forever". It is true.
I always laugh and tell people that I live in the land where time stands still... but I do see it fading away stone by stone.
Sad that we all want progress and conveniences.
One day in the future all this will just be these few pictures I took on a sunny March day.
A moment in time.
Come see it now.
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Lizette Fitzpatrick- Principal Broker at Lizette Realty.
Publisher/Author for the only Central Kentucky email newsletter on local real estate listings and sold properties, Kentucky relocation, local events, homeowner information and fun!
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Copyright © 2010 By Lizette Fitzpatrick, All Rights Reserved.*Rock Fences Of Kentucky - Dry Stone Walls*