22 August 2008

the hitching post

When we moved into our charming old house, there was an unsightly and out of control Chinese Elm hedge growing along the north property line. Between our house and the neighbor to the north is a platted alley, abandoned many years ago by the city. Under the hedge, along the alley was a large rock pile...probably dating to when the alley was abandoned.

I love relics.....relics that tell a story, tie a place to a time. After we moved in, I wanted to put an authentic wood picket fence around the backyard (yes, I paint it frequently). So I tore the hedge row out and used the stone for landscape border. I found one stone that had me baffled for a while. It was a piece of limestone, tapered on all four sides, with a metal rod buried in the top. At first I thought it came from the railroad, then thought it was an old stone window sill. Then I found another square stone under the hedge, flush with the ground that obviously had this stone mounted on top of it. It became clear........it was a hitching post along the old alley-way.

It now serves the function of garden ornament, greeting visitors at our back gate. I also found an old tin stop sign, light blue in color and square. It was near the corner where alley and Michigan Road met. It's in rough shape, but I have it in the barn and hope to do something with it someday too. Many times we pass by things and have no idea of their history until the story is revealed. I love the stories tying relics or places to points in time. They tell us something about ourselves many times.

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