Old Stone Architecture

The Unitarian Church in Keene, NH
 I love old stone churches.  Actually, I like all old stone architecture.  One of the features of New England that I have always really enjoyed is the amount of stone architecture.  Little stone churches, houses and of course, rock walls running everywhere through the state.

Back in the 1800s New Hampshire was mostly cleared land.  It's hard to tell that from the forests we have today, but the majority of New Hampshire was either farmland and pastures or logged.  I've read that during that time 80% or so of the state was without trees and most of New Hampshire has very little "old growth" forest left.  As the farmers and ranchers prepared their lands, they would remove the stones from the fields so they could plant.  Ever wondered why there are stone walls running through forests seemingly going nowhere?  They were all once fields.  Well, this overabundance of stone also flowed over in the architecture.

While other parts of this country had little stone available (short of quarrying and hauling it from miles away) giving way to the wooden architecture of the heartland, New England was absolutely littered with stone of all size.  Buildings and bridges all benefited from this abundant building material.  Most of these structures are still standing today, in various states of use and repair.

One of the things I love to do when driving around New England and New York is to look for the little stone buildings tucked away in interesting settings.  It's definitely one of the charms of New England.