Here at Indiana University, several historic houses are being relocated to make room for a new building. It is a shame to see the houses moved from the sites where they were built more than a century ago, but the community thought this to be the best compromise. While everyone gawks at the spectacle of an old brick house rolling down the street, few took notice of the old stacked-rock wall that the movers tore down to facilitate the relocation. Building walls without mortar is an art. The dry-stone wall at the corner of Ninth Street and Fess Avenue in Bloomington, may date to the late 1800s. Though no doubt maintained and altered in spots, they are an excellent example of local limestone masonry.
Not to be confused with the rock fences that line family farms in southern Indiana and that date from the early nineteenth century, the dismantled wall was of humble construction, built to raise the houses above the streets and to make basement constructing easier. Nevertheless, my heart sank just a little, when the movers stacked the stone on wooden pallets to make room for the housemoving change that was coming to our neighborhood. I thought I would write this short post honor the mason’s trade and the wall which for a century students have walked past, sat on, and occasionally admired.