This research in its entirety was done in May 2002 by Nina Simon, a 6th grade student at Briarcliff School, as part of the class’s Environmental Integrated Curriculum project on the Tourne. In the EIC, each student picks a topic and does separate sub-projects on that topic in Social Studies, Science, Math, and English. Miss Simon’s teacher is Ms. Robin Anderson.
In 1759 to 1767, the Tourne land was just noticed, and farmland was beginning to be placed out. An area right next to the Tourne, now known as rattlesnake valley was used as cattle land, and very near a swamp. The field is now known as Rattlesnake Valley, because in the 1920’s and 1930’s rattlesnakes were seen sunning themselves on the open light of the valley, but they have been hunted out, and are not in this area anymore. When used as cattle fields, the stone wall guarded the animals from escaping, even though the walls go into the forest. Though there are many gaps in the wall now, there were probably some in the original stone wall, because now, in many spots there are no hidden rocks or anything in certain areas. Some of the wall follows roadway and some is next to the river. The wall doesn’t stand anymore, it has broken down and fallen apart, but is a very interesting sight built almost 250 years ago.
The Stonewall crossing through the Tourne, was originally used for cattle land, and was fixed and mended every year. It stopped getting fixed in the 1800’s, when the farming stopped. Since then, time, weather, and even the plants and animals around it has changed the wall. Now, there are just piles of rocks left, and many sections have been covered by leaves and dirt. Seeds from near trees have fallen down into the cracks of the wall, and grown. The wall is so old that many of those trees are full-grown. Some of the trees around and in the wall are Tulip trees, Beech trees, and Maple trees. There is moss and poison ivy growing up the rocks. The plants around the stone wall are trees, tree saplings, skunk cabbage, flowers, and ferns. There are more ferns and skunk cabbage on one side, because it is swampy and next to a stream.
A few of the animals on the swamp side are snakes, frogs, and birds. On the other side, some animals are squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and birds. On either side there are many differences, so the stone wall can be looked on as to separate the swamp from the forest.
Length: 200ft.= 2400in.
Average Size Rock
Formula: Volume= Length x Width x Height
Average Size Rock: 12in x 11in x 9in= 1,188 cubic inches
Stone Wall: 2400in x 108in x 24in= 6,220,800 cubic inches
Number of Rocks in Stone Wall: 6,220,800 / 1,188 = 5,236 Rocks in the Stone Wall
Here I am, strong and tall, newly built,
I face the forest and the animals,
And guard the cattle from running off,
Green is every where,
Birds and squirrels walk all over me,
Rain beats hard against my back,
I stand as strong as a tree.
Flowers are every where,
And the cows are tired and hazy,
Children come and play on my back,
The sun shines bright,
I still stand as strong as a tree.
I feel chills,
And everyone seems to be leaving.
Crunch leaves fall onto my back,
And rub into me when it rains,
The sun has gotten colder,
I still stand strong.
The cows are gone,
The air feels like the icicles,
Which hang down my sides,
The wind cracks me open,
And slaps my rocks,
I am covered in snow,
I still stand.
It is warm again,
My scars from winter,
I have been mended,
The cattle are back
I see green once again,
I stand as strong as a tree.
How to get there
Start at the Tourne parking lot by the ballfield. Stand with your back to the first-base fence. Straight ahead of you is the path into the woods. Enter the woods. Pass the picnic tables on your right. Continue straight for another 50 yards to a large boulder on your left, about 5 feet high. Approach the boulder. To your left is the start of the wall. It doesn’t look like much now but, if you look closely, you’ll see it is definitely man-made. It goes on for several hundred feet.
(The students have graduated and are long gone. This e-mail link goes to the Webmaster who will attempt to answer.)
Please preserve these irreplaceable pieces of history for future generations. It’s up to you!