A Mysterious Rock Wall

Last fall Buffy and I hiked south in the ravine up to the Shawnee National Forest land that borders mine. There’s a rock wall that I’ve visited so many times over the years and wondered why it’s there everytime.

With the angle of the sun, I went on to the south end and started back from there. Back in the 60’s a man built a small cabin at this end — which was illegal because this is National Forest land. He took part of the rocks at the upper end of the wall and made a tall elaborate fire place. I refuse to put it in the pictures. The cabin was gone before I started hiking here.

The wall was constructed with large sandstone rocks. It measures roughly 200 feet long.

A few rocks fell over in this section.

Here the creek altered its course over time and part of the wall collapsed into it.

What was it’s purpose? When was it built?

  The hills slope dramatically down to form a narrow ravine. The steep hills slope to both of the creek’s sides just up from here.

 Obviously, the wall wouldn’t have been used to corral animals. I’ve never been able to think of a single use for it.

 We started walking back north.

One thing I know for certain —

the wall didn’t build itself.


16 responses to this post.

  1. It was me. I built it in a previous life 😉 Beautiful walls and pics. I love imagining what it was built for and by whom


  2. Posted by Vicki on February 22, 2013 at 10:37 am

    quite strange but beautiful nonetheless..


  3. Here in New Hampshire we have many hundreds of miles of stone walls on lands that were once farm land. The farmers built the walls out of stones that they plowed up in the fields, so the walls weren’t as important as having a way to get rid of all the stones. Each spring the frost heaves more stones up out of the earth, so the walls just kept getting longer and taller.


  4. The stones don’t look like field stones that a farmer would dig up. It’s an interesting mystery. Hope you let us know what you find out! Kathi :O)


  5. These are great pix of a classic wall. Reminds me of many around here in the Adirondacks of NY. I love that kind of scene in a hardwood forest after the leaves are down, so you can see long views.

    I’ve always found rock walls intriguing. I think about who may have built them, why, what the area was like at the time, and how they moved such large stones. I assume ox or horse helped, and carts, ramps, sleds. I know one wall on state land that makes a complete enclosed square but for a possible gate space, so maybe it was an animal pen. It’s not a foundation.

    I have four parallel walls running due north-south, largely overgrown with trees, but not everywhere. From what I know of the history here, they were likely built some time between the Civil War and 1880.


    • The only rock walls we have here were around Native American villages, and there were very few of them. Most have been intentionally disturbed. There was a village site an half-mile west of this rock wall. The rock wall is a pleasant place to visit … and always gets me to thinking.


  6. At my place rocks rule. You absolutely CAN NOT dig a hole more than a foot deep and the width of a shovel without hitting a rock sized anywhere from a softball to a four-foot-wide boulder or thick slab. Many protrude above the surface. Maybe that’s why we have so many walls. (My location is especially rocky, more than the area’s average.) The turf in your area may be more friendly to farmers; i.e., not so rocky to make walls commonplace.


    • We have a lot of farming in Illinois. The southern tip of the state is hilly. Shawnee National Forest owns a lot of land and the state has land scattered around. They both offer a lot of opportunities for hiking. I prefer places with few people.


      • Great to be adjacent to a national forest. We have a lot of state land nearby … some as close to wilderness status as you can get in the Northeast.

        Yes, the fewer people the better. And no noise of traffic, machines, etc.

        Even with no people within miles, there still is no “solitude” in a forest. It is filled with companions every step of the way.

      • and they so enjoy our presence! Have you ever taken pictures of orbs? I just started that in November. It’s so fascinating to see evidence of spirits in my yard and other places too. I learned how to take their pictures during the day. Let me know if you are interested and I’ll give you some pointers.

      • You won’t believe this, but just as I noticed your message waiting, I was arranging pix for an orb post, because your orbs have cousins over here. They go by a different name around here, except for the immigrants from the Midwest. More to come.

        I can use all the pointers I can get. Feel free to send them to pointer central: http://thebalsamean.com/contact-me/, or make comments on my orb post coming today.

      • I had an unbelievable orb experience last night when it was snowing. All the pictures were taken with our security light in them. I’m anxious to see my orbs’ cousins. I’ll email you later.

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