A good fence made better at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm
October 19, 2015
Every summer, crowds gather at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury, Massachusetts, to watch baseball games played by nineteenth-century rules. Many enjoy the games while leaning against a rail fence that separates the ball field from the yard of the 1690 manor house. This fence recently underwent repairs by the Historic New England carpentry crew.
The four-rail fence appears in photographs as early as 1922. It is sturdy, practical, and, with its turned posts and decorative trim, elegant too. The current fence was built to match a deteriorated historic fence in 2003. By the fall of 2014, more than a decade of exposure to farm’s seaside weather left it in need of repairs.
Thanks to an elaborate and clever installation that used a PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe sleeve and preservative-saturated sand below ground, all but one of the turned posts were still sound. The rails, however, needed replacement.
Our staff located material for new eastern white pine rails in Central Massachusetts and milled it to size in the Historic New England carpentry shop at the Lyman Estate. Repairs at the farm began in late fall 2014.
This fence now stands ready to withstand another decade of sunny baseball games and howling winter gales. Please consider helping us maintain the many other fences and structures that make up our historic sites with a gift to the Preservation Maintenance Fund.
See the step-by-step process below: