A good fence made better at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm

Oct 19, 2015

Every summer, crowds gatherat Spencer-Peirce-LittleFarm in Newbury, Massachusetts, to watch baseball games playedby nineteenth-century rules. Many enjoy the games while leaning against a rail fence thatseparates 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 appearsin photographs as early as 1922. It is sturdy, practical, and, with itsturned posts and decorative trim, elegant too. The current fence wasbuilt to match a deteriorated historic fence in 2003. By the fall of 2014,more than a decade of exposure to farm’sseaside weather left it in need of repairs.

Thanks to an elaborateand clever installation that used a PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe sleeve and preservative-saturatedsand below ground, all but one of the turned posts were still sound. The rails,however, needed replacement.

Our staff located material for new easternwhite pine rails in Central Massachusetts and milled it to size in theHistoric New England carpentry shop at the Lyman Estate. Repairs at the farm began in late fall 2014.

This fence now stands readyto withstand another decade of sunny baseball games and howling winter gales. Pleaseconsider helping us maintain the many other fences and structures that make up our historic sites with a giftto the Preservation Maintenance Fund.