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Sunday, December 13, 2009

OLD RURAL KENTUCKY FENCING

EARLY 1800s PROPERTY WITH ORIGINAL DRY STACKED LIMESTONE FENCING

Dry stacked fencing has a history reaching back into ancient times. In Kentucky its history of construction can travel as far back as the late 1700s -- believed to be built by slaves and/or Irish immigratnts. Kentucky's natural limestone beds have provided the resources to construct the beautiful fences. Today there is an effort to maintain what still exists through training by the Dry Stone Conservancy. Also an excellent researched book by Carolyn Murray-Wooley presents a fascinating history of the early years of building Kentucky's limestone fences. Unfortunately, of the hundreds of miles of fencing of this type in the state, much are in need of repair. It takes knowledgeable people to maintain them of which the Dry Stone Conservancy is working toward.

SPLIT-RAIL OR ZIG-ZAG TYPE OF FENCING, KENTUCKY
Source: city.data.com
Abe Lincoln was raised in Kentucky and was known as a rail splitter in his youth. Therefore, split-rail fencing has become associated with him. I picked this photo (above) off the internet and am not sure as to its age. Let's just say it is similar to what he might have made. I do not see old split rail fences, perhaps if I do I will post it. The split rail fences that I have seen are the Home Depot or Lowes newer types.

1800s PRIMITIVE COUNTRY PICKET FENCING
Crudely made fence posts arranged as precursors to the more polished type of picket fences are found in old photographs of Kentucky's early log homes. It reflects a "get by" existence that for either economic reasons or lack of appropriate tools served early settlers as well as fine fencing. Also referred to as paling fencing.

1931 MORTAR AND LIMESTONE MASON BUILT FENCING
This beautifully constructed fence is located in Central Kentucky. It is located on land that has been in one family going back to some of the earliest settlements in the area. Built as this country was falling fast into the Great Depression. The date 1931 is chiseled on the gate post. The mason that built the fence probably was grateful for the work.

REMAINING SECTION OF OLD PICKET FENCE ON ABANDONED PROPERTY
Many times I come across properties that have much of their cultural landscape missing. It might be the homestead house or a few outbuildings, etc. Here was a stand-alone fence. No trace of its position in its relevance to the landscape. If one looks carefully or enlarges the photo one can see the nicely turned tops of the pickets.

20TH CENTURY BOARD AND POST FENCING
Reaching into the 20th century one finds the board and post around many properties. Usually left in a natural state or perhaps with some white wash applied. With the cost of wood accelerating I assume that in the future these will become a thing of the past.

4 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Very interesting, Barbara. The white vinyl fences have become popular here, but they don't sure don't have much personality.

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  3. Hi Genevieve, Thanks for the comment. Yes, I do see some of the new white plastic fences in this area of Kentucky mostly on town lots. Out in the country the board and post or the wire and post still rule. The stacked limestone fences are still prevalent in the rural agricultural areas. They certainly speak a language of the past. I plan on doing a post of the various dry stacked fences soon. -- barbara

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  4. Nice article, thanks for the information.
    Paling Fence

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