On February 13, 2005, The Hartford Courant published a cover story for its literary supplement Northeast Magazine about the new book Exploring Stone Walls. As part of that story they ran a sidebar with a short list of TEN GREAT WALLS, selected by the editor from my larger list of 45 touristy and noteworthy walls. Each is superlative in its own way. Here’s what they picked:
#1 – MOST FAMOUS
Robert Frost’s famous “Mending Wall” in Derry, New Hampshire
#2 – MOST NON-TRADITIONAL
Modern wall in Chilmark, Martha’s VIneyard, built of recently blasted quarry rubble and well-milled glacial stones.
#3 – MOST VOLCANIC
Tall faux dry-stone wall at the Sunken Garden of Hill Stead Museum, Farmington, CT is built almost entirely of basalt that fractured into columns.
#4 – MOST HUMBLE
Pinhead wall on the roadside at Acadia National Park, Mt. Desert Island, Maine. These “one-hander” stones were tossed in a pile at the end of an inconsequential wall.
#5 – MOST IMPORTANT
Crude wall at the Old Manse, in Concord, MA. Important for three main reasons: (1) pasture fence; (2) military expedience; and (3) it helped inspire Ralph Waldo Emerson to publish Nature in 1836.
#6 – MOST THREATENING
Tall, “no-trespassing” wall in Dixville Notch, NH is out of place in this quasi-wilderness environment.
#7 – MOST TALL
Mortared sea wall beneath the Cliff Walk in Newport, RI.
#8 – MOST BOULDERY
Glacially milled boulders of New Hamsphire Granite rolled and levered into place in Center Harbor, NH.
#9 – MOST DIVIDING
Historic scene of old single wall along Highway #49 in North Stonington, CT. Though collapsed, it’s still evocative.
#10 – MOST FENCE-LIKE
Well-maintained pasture wall still being used as a fence (note posts) in the Tiverton-Sakkonet area, East Bay, Rhode Island.