Rail fences

Courtesy of James M. Barnhart, 3746 Winter Garden Road, Orlando, Florida 32805 Picture# 1. See story.

James M. Barnhart

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3746 Winter Garden Road, Orlando, Florida 32805

Two or three times I have seen photos in I.M.A. showing rail fences. As works of art, and as illustrations of the subject, I thought I could dig up some negatives of mine that would do better. Here they are.

They picture not only the fence, but a very historical era and place: The Natchez Trace Parkway, which runs from Natchez, Mississippi, to Nashville, Tennessee. In early days it was a foot trail. Then widened for horses and wagons, and now is a National Parkway, though the northern part was not open to auto traffic in 1963, when these photos were taken.

Since these rail fences were erected under supervision of the National Park Service who are meticulous in their care of detail, I think any debate as to these fences can be dispensed with. I think one observation may be permitted, however: The fences are newly installed, and are probably incomplete. The complete fence, as I recall, were exactly like the pictured fence here, except that each rail junction had shorter rails anchored in the ground on one end and leaning against the ends of the main line rails. Despairing of describing exactly how this was, I have drawn lines at one of the corners, illustrating how the classic old 'stake and rider' idea worked, how it prevented animals from pushing over a fence.

Doubtless the National Park people now have the fence completed as shown by my lines. It might be worth a trip there to find out.

The other photo shows the famous old Mt. Locust Inn (the original, not a reproduction) of the 1870's and '80's, before which the old time stage coaches once stopped with a flourish.

And now, cheerio! See you at Mt. Locust!