September 14, 2005

The University of Kentucky Physical Plant Division (PPD) and the College of Agriculture honored the work of community partners at Kentucky Department of Corrections, Blackburn Correctional Complex, and Dry Stone Conservancy, Inc., who assisted in the building and repairing of UK Maine Chance Farm’s stone fence. The partnership helped to preserve this historically significant feature that dots the Bluegrass landscape.

UK PPD and the College of Agriculture presented the community partners with a certificate of appreciation for the service provided to the university at the stone fence location Sept. 12. 

“The university always strives to partner with local entities and provide educational opportunities. This is a wonderful example of how organizations can come together and positively impact a community. We are grateful to our partners for assisting us in preserving the Maine Chance’s stone fence, which is valuable to the bluegrass landscape,” said Bob Wiseman, vice president of Facilities Management at UK.

The new partnership was arranged by the Conservancy, who provided trainer Neil Rippingale, a master craftsman from Scotland, to teach a three-day workshop and a refresher course on proper dry stone masonry techniques. Seven inmates under the direction of Blackburn’s Officer Nicholas Dunaway were able to not only develop masonry skills they could use when applying for future jobs, but were also able to contribute to a community that values the beauty and utility of this form of fencing. 

When asked about the partnership, Jane Wooley, a restoration manager at Dry Stone Conservancy said, “It was an exciting experience to work with the various partners on restoring this beautiful stone fence and give something back to the Lexington area.”

Repair was necessary to the fence that runs parallel to Newtown Pike due to the age, weather, and traffic accidents that had impacted it over the years. The inmates undertook this sizeable project starting in fall of 2004, putting in approximately 300 man hours of labor a week in all types of weather. 

The technique they utilized at Maine Chance is dry lay. Dry lay denotes the absence of mortar which is applied in modern stone fencing to adhere to the limestone. For every three feet of fencing, one ton of rock was used. UK and Maine Chance neighbor Vulcan provided the limestone to lay the fence from scrap collections on their properties. The project was completed in late June 2005.


Writer: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-1754