Stone Walls in Lynn, Salem, and Peabody

by Leslie Courtemanche

In 1939, the Department of Agriculture estimated that there were approximately 240,000 miles of stone walls in New England. Some of these walls fortunately still exist throughout the North Shore area in Massachusetts. I’ve photographed some of them in Lynn, Peabody and Salem.

Stone walls connect us to the past and to nature. The stone walls of New England are the leftover remains of our agrarian/rural past. According to a book called, Stone by Stone by Robert M. Thorson, some of the oldest stone walls were constructed in 1607, but most were constructed between 1750 to 1850.

Stone walls are a part of our history. According to another book, Sermons in Stone , by Susan Allport, the early farmers constructed stone walls to fence in pastures to use for different purposes, such as dividing areas, retaining water basins, and channeling water flows for cattle. Also, the stones could be moved to allow exit and entry of farm animals. Stone walls were also used as boundary lines.

Back then, they served an important purpose. Now, we get to look at their beauty and appreciate the craftsmanship. In a woodland setting, a stone wall can beautifully frame an outburst of spring flowers. On a slope of a hill, a stone wall can add an artistic focal point.

There are several stone walls in our area. Some are obvious, but others are well hidden, or overgrown with vegetation. But all are important remnants of the past.

Middle Pasture Wall is in Lynn Woods. According the Ranger Dan Small, the date of construction is unknown, but it was used to divide pastureland for grazing different types of livestock during the 17 th century. There is also Dungeon Pasture Wall, which follows the Lynn/Lynnfield boundary. The walls also were used to mark off private parcels during the 18 th century.

Unfortunately, there is little legal protection afforded to these artifacts. We do need to preserve these early- American artifacts. They are, after all, part of our heritage .

stone_wall_top
stone_wall_bot

 

See Also

Our Purpose

Earth Day 2005

Message from the Incoming President

Which is the highest hill in Lynn?

Calendar of Events

Wild Owls Lead to Serenity by Lisa Capone

Meet the Board Members!

Annual Meeting 2005

Gypsy Moth Crew by Ranger Dan Small

Stay Tuned… by Jeanne Curley

Special Guest Speaker at the April Membership Meeting

Contact the Hot Line at 781-593-7773 with any comments or questions.