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Stone Walls in Wayne County

Stone walls have been dotting the landscape in Wayne County for the past two hundred years since the beginning of farming in this area. Wherever you see a stone wall,at one time that piece of land probably had been a farmer's field. In the beginning Wayne County was a forest. Trees, bushes, and stones had to be removed to clear the land. It was logical for farmers to place the stones around the perimeter of the field. When another field was needed, the same process occurred. Most stone walls were made by carefully laying up larger stones at the base, and then tapering in smaller stones. Gravity serves to hold the stones together. Stone picking was a job every farmer had to look forward in the spring. During the winter the earth freezes and thaws, causing stones to rise to the surface. The farmer had to bring out the "stone boat" before spring plowing, attach it to the horses (later the tractor), and carefully proceed over the entire field looking for stones that had surfaced since the previous year. The "stone boat" was simply a flat "boat" constructed of wood that glided over the soil, and stones were tossed onto it. These stones were added to the stone walls. Stone walls serve as wildlife habitat and give character to the landscape. They are disappearing by gradual deterioration, concealing them in man-made ditches, and transporting and selling them out of state. It is important to preserve our stone walls so future generations will be able to enjoy this aesthetic link to Wayne County's agricultural history.

Text by Marge Hook

Line Drawing by William Amptman

From 1993 through 2008 the Honesdale National Bank published an annual wall calendar, each featured 13 historic sites. The sites were chosen and researched by a committee of the historical society and artwork was commissioned to Judy Hunt and William Amptman by the bank.

This page was one month of the calendar and was made possible through the Wayne County Commissioners and a Tourism Promotion Committee’s Tourism Grant.