Monday, June 04, 2007

Protecting Stone walls

Harwinton Hails Its Stone Walls
By: Amy Mulvihill

HARWINTON-By a voice vote at the annual town meeting Tuesday, residents approved the so-called stone wall ordinance. Championed by selectmen and preservation-minded residents, the ordinance is meant to provide greater protection for stone walls bordering town roads, and it will implement a permit requirement for residents wishing to alter or remove such a stone wall on their property…

“I often meet with community groups, heritage trusts, town officials and others seeking advice about protecting stone walls. In the past, I suggested that they sort their walls into categories and develop a plan for each type: Abandoned walls should be left as archaeology and woodland habitat; heritage walls should be inventoried and maintained; and recent and rebuilt walls should use original stone in a manner that respects local tradition. Since Harwinton passed its law, however, I have simply advised town leaders to review this trend-setting ordinance and adapt it for local use.” Robert Thorson

ORDINANCE # 2004-10-12 B
A. It is the intent of this ordinance to protect one of the Town’s important
cultural resources, historic stone walls, saving one of the beautiful
features of the Town for the people of tomorrow and preserving the
rural character of the Town. It is not the intent of this ordinance to
deprive a citizen use of their property, detract from that property’s
value or cause financial hardship.
B. Provisions of this ordinance will apply to stone walls flanking or
abutting Town and State roads and public ways within the Town and
provide a working process to identify and provide for the protection
and preservation of the Town’s stone walls of historic, aesthetic and
cultural merit.
For the purpose of this ordinance, the following definition shall apply
unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.
HISTORIC STONE WALL – A vertical structure of aligned natural stone,
originally constructed in the 17 th , 18th, 19thand 20th centuries, to designate
a property boundary between farmsteads or to segregate agricultural activities within a single farmstead.


  1. Really interesting. Wish there were stone piles in there with the stone walls, and wish other places were as enlightened as this one.

  2. Very cool, Tim! Thanks for sharing that.