Thursday, August 28, 2014

GOOD FENCES

The light bulb went off thanks to one of my nieces.  I remembered her taking a group photo of our family using her panoramic feature on her iPhone last October.  I have no idea why I decided to use it for the first time when we were on one of our local walks recently.  I spotted the pano feature again and actually wondered what it was. After several unsuccessful tries I managed one good shot of these old colonial split rail fences, so I knew I was going to share it on Good Fences today.


This is called a split-rail fence.  We have them all over our area.  I first started noticing them at the Manassas Civil War Battlefield years ago, but mine today were found near the visitor center, which is up the road from Walney Pond.  According to Wikipedia:

"A split-rail fence or log fence (also known as a zigzag fence, worm fence or snake fence, historically due to its meandering layout) is a type of fence constructed out of timber logs, usually split lengthwise into rails and typically used for agricultural or decorative fencing.  

Such fences require much more timber than other types of fences, and so are generally only common in areas where wood is abundant.  However, they are very simple in their construction, and can be assembled with few tools, even on hard or rocky ground.  They also can be built without using any nails or other hardware.  

Such hardware was often scarce in frontier areas.  They are particularly popular in very rocky areas where post hold digging is almost impossible.  They can even be partially or wholly disassembled if the fence needs to be moved or the wood becomes more useful for other purposes.  

During the American Civil War these split rail fences were a major source of firewood for both the Union and Confederate armies."  

If you are curious and want to know more you can click on the link above.

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Thank you Theresa at The Run*A*Round Ranch Report for continuing another great meme.  Click on the blog link to see other participants, and the button below to find out more information.  

25 comments:

Ginny said...

We have lots of these fences around here, but what a nice surprise!! I never knew what they are called or anything about them, THANK YOU!!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Love the panorama shot -- I've been experimenting with that feature too (like you I sort of stumbled on it). Such a lovely fence; it is kind of sad to think of the armies having to tear them down to use for firewood. (I guess that's probable the least of the terribly sad things about that war, but still .....)

Elephant's Child said...

Simple - and with a lot of charm. Thank you.

eileeninmd said...

Denise, I like these zig-zag fences..Have seen them around Gettysburg and other battlefields in Maryland.. Great fence shot.. Have a happy day!

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

Interesting piece on the ubiquitous fencing. During the Civil War, the Union soldiers burned any wood they could find, even the interiors of churches. I worked as a docent at Pohick Church, and we always pointed to the woodwork around the ceiling as the only remaining Antebellum wood. Too bad because Buckland..the famous Colonial architect designed the railings, pews, etc.

You will see similar fencing in New England. Before the Indians complained, the colonists let their livestock run free into the woods and Indian farms. So, these fences were originally designed to improve neighborliness.

Debbie said...

I really love those cool, unusual fences!!

Adam said...

I can see the soldiers using it for firewood, looks perfect for the job.

TexWisGirl said...

i like these fences! love the look and the ease of utility - unless you have to mow next to them!

thanks (in advance) for linking! :)

Ileana said...

Nice fence! :)

CJ said...

Thanks for the history lesson. I am an information junkie. When I see a photo, TV show or film that interests me, I look up more info about it online. Even when I read a book about something else, but it mentions an odd fact or a person I never heard of, I've got to look it up.

I'm in W. PA and we have lots of similar fences here, although most are not full logs, but are indeed split, then stacked in zig-zags. The advantage, I think is that no post holes are necessary ---which are next to impossible to dig on rocky ground.

Some I see, though, have posts with holes in them and the rails slide into the holes.

ellen b said...

I enjoy seeing split rail fences. Interesting history!

William Kendall said...

I have seen similar styled fences here and there in the countryside in our area.

Stephanie said...

We have them here as well, in fact a neighbor a couple houses away has this type of fencing, she installed chicken wire behind it to keep ctitters out. Great shot!

ladyfi said...

What a cool-looking fence!

Breathtaking said...

Hello!:) This is a new type of fencing for me, very rustic but
the zig-zag effect is pleasing. All the information about what happened to the wood in the Civil War is very interesting, Good post!:)

Phil Slade said...

Denise, I don't think such a fence would work around a typical English lawn do you? All that zig-zag would mean hard work for the man with the mower.

John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

I've seen a lot of those fences during my travels back east but never once considered the Union and Rebel forces taking them apart for firewood. Huh! Thanks for visiting my stone fence.

Felicia said...

I love these kind of fences and your images are great

Betsy Adams said...

That's my favorite fence, the split-rail fence (as I have always called it).. We see them in the Smoky Mountains and along the Blue Ridge Parkway in spots... LOVE THEM.

Hugs,
Betsy

thirtysevenandcounting said...

I think this is a very attractive style of fence!

Thanks for your visit and comment on my fences.

Lindy

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

Those are some beautiful fences. We had some on our place here in NC when we lived in an old cabin. Perfect for good fences!

lorik said...

What a interesting fence and so much history!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

This is interesting! We have such shallow soil, but lots of trees. The fences are amazing here! Good research.

Brian King said...

We have some split rails here. I really like that kind of fence!

Kay said...

Excellent job with the panoramic, Denise! I was so happy to discover that feature on the iPhone. We've played with it by having KC run around us and pose on the other side so that we'd have two KCs in one photo.