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Historic Preservation: 175-year-old walls (circa) restored at Dutton Farm, Dummerston, VT

Thanks to Jamie Masefield for contributing this description of the workshop.

It’s one thing to work on a beautiful workshop wall at the Stone Trust, where walls go up and down every month. It’s another to dive into an historic farm wall that has been part of the landscape for over 100 years. It creates a sense of respect to think that the wall that we are rebuilding will hopefully stand for another 100 years.

All the participants of this workshop came well-versed in the principles of dry stone walling. They arrived with a high skill level, thanks to having taken an intro class, and other more advanced classes, previously. The experience these wallers brought helped them adapt to the mixture of original stone and its irregularities; they varied greatly. Some cap stones were ten inches thick and some were three, but this is the character of a farm wall.

Jim Wood (board member) certainly deserved the award for furthest traveled, coming all the way from California. As a geologist, he provided a lot of interesting information about the different types of stone we used to build. At one point Ree Davies, Ethan Bodin, Strephon Treadway, and Glenn Bunting moved off the wall to do a bit of work with hand tools. They cleaned the edges of a magnificent cap stone for one of the pillars to place later. Towards the end of the five-day workshop, Andrew Chardain did some very impressive work on the second pillar. Two participants were Entry-Level Professional Waller Scholarship recipients!

Throughout the workshop, the group enjoyed conversations about the difference between walling with strings on a straight wall compared to a curve, keeping its batter even on both sides, and growing more comfortable using ones eye. They also experienced the humorous banter that happens on walling crews.

In true April fashion we experienced sun, rain, snow and wind shifting quickly. Everyone adapted with a smile and enthusiasm and bluebirds and wild turkeys watched with interest.

Erin Hammerstedt, a Landmark Trust USA board member, stopped by to bring the group wonderful snacks. Landmark Trust USA is the proprietor of the Dutton Farm. On Thursday, Michelle Powers, Operations Coordinator for the Landmark Trust USA, joined the group for a day of productive walling. The next day she brought a time capsule filled with a Vermont quarter and other fun goodies to place in the wall. The best goodies of all, though, were the cider donuts. Thank you!

Instructors Jamie Masefield and Robert Faraone felt very fortunate to be housed at the beautifully restored Dutton Farm house.

Many thanks to Dan Snow who volunteered three days to build a magnificent pillar!

And special thanks to Jared Flynn for nurturing the restoration of the Dutton Farm walls over the course of many years and creating such an amazing learning opportunity!

To get a sense of how wallers build a curve, please see Building a Curve in Various Ways.