Monday, March 27, 2017

The Land of Lincoln

From Dave Brigham:

I've trod across a lot of conservation areas in service of this blog, but I've never seen a sign like that one above. I have to admit, as simple as that sign is, I don't fully understand it. "WALKERS & RIDERS WELCOME," it says. "BUT CONTROL YOUR DOGS!" OK, got you so far. "KEEP OTHER DOGS OUT". Huh?

Located in Lincoln, Mass., the sheep pasture is part of a conservation area that turned out to be quite a bit bigger than I was expecting. A leafy suburb of Boston, Lincoln has many beautiful homes dotting a rather rural landscape. I recently checked out the Silver Hill Bog/Pigeon Hill/Browning Fields area, which is close by the Stony Brook conservation area on the Lincoln/Weston line (see February 17, 2017, "Stone Cold Surprise").

I'd come in search of some stone ruins that I'd seen online while researching the Stony Brook post. I parked next to what's called the riding ring. Lincoln is a very horsey town. I believe the riding ring is a public feature.

(Colorful logs awaiting warmer weather and the chance to serve as obstacles for horse jumping.)

(A small jump.)

(This looks like a decoration, but I have a hunch it's more than that.)

Beyond the riding ring you quickly enter the woods, which is dotted with stone walls. I had no idea where to search for the ruins. I had a feeling which way I needed to go, but I didn't follow my nose right away. I was aware that often when I'm wandering in the woods -- or a cemetery or an old mill town -- I find much more than I thought I would, and something better than my original quarry.

So I wandered through some boggy lands and alongside the sheep pasture. I didn't see any fleecy ewes or rams, or dogs or horses. Hell, I think the only member of the wildlife community I saw was a squirrel. Once in a while I see deer on my outings, but usually it's birds and squirrels.

Eventually I hit a dead end and had to turn back in search of the ruins I knew were in this area. I wandered back through the woods, took a few different paths than I'd walked along on my way in, looking for something -- anything -- to take pictures of. Other than stone walls, and large homes through the trees, I saw little.

As I strolled along I tried to get logical about my search, rather than just walking aimlessly. No more than ten seconds after I thought, "The ruins will probably be on a hill," I looked up through the trees and saw what I'd come for.

This is the Pigeon Hill area, about which I've been able to find exactly zero information.

The stone ruins appear to have been a small house. There is a chimney at one end, a few doors and windows, and evidence of partying.

I'm not sure the era of the structure. There is cement mortar holding some of the stones together. Above is a close up of a nail in the notch of the wood beam you see in the first photo of the structure above.

I'd love to hear from anybody with a good guess as to the age of this place.


  1. That area is much bigger than it appears on the map. Found the little stone house by accident, it would be hard to find it again.

    1. I agree. What's your best guess for the age of that house? Or at least what decade? I don't know much about building, but the concrete mortar makes me guess it's less than 100 years old.