Talk of the Town Lewisboro image

April 2, 2021

April has arrived with robins and bluebirds, spring flowers, and town and county taxes. As of April 1, this bill can be paid online at, or dropped off at the Town House, located at 11 Main Street, South Salem, either in the front door mail slot or in the black mailbox at the back door; or mail payment to: Deirdre Casper, Lewisboro Receiver of Taxes, PO Box 412, 11 Main St., South Salem, NY 10590. Please remember deadlines do matter. Taxes must be received by Friday, April 30, 2021. For more information call 763-3100 or email

The Lewisboro Library is calling all teens in middle and high school to join a Harry Potter Trivia challenge Saturday, April 10, at 2 p.m. via Zoom. Test your knowledge of the Harry Potter series and play Kahoot trivia online with readers from Croton and Lewisboro. Prizes will be gift certificates to local ice cream shops. For registration and more information, visit

On Thursday, April 15, at 7 p.m., the library is cohosting a Victory Garden Talk with the Bedford Free Library. Learn about the Victory Garden model of family food gardening so successful during both world wars and get tips on starting your own Victory Garden. For registration and more information, visit

My next historic hamlet tour will feature South Salem on Sunday, April 11, at 3 p.m. My talk will feature most of everything you wanted to know about the governmental center of our town, the houses, the people and the stories they have to tell, from Leon Levy Preserve to the Town Park borders. Join the tour at or call 232-6162 for registration and more information.

The Lewisboro Land Trust is offering a toddler hike and seed planting Wednesday, April 14, at 10 a.m., at Old Field Preserve on Mead Street. Group members will plant a toddler pollinator garden. For registration and more information, visit


The Shredder Truck will be stationed at Lewisboro Town Park Friday, April 16, from 9 a.m. until noon for the convenience of residents. Remember to remove all metal clips, fasteners, binders, folders and hard covers and place the papers loosely in a box. Hard covers, cardboard or plastic covers on items and hard-cover books cannot be shredded. Residents must rip pages out from hard cover books for shredding and throw the covers in their regular household recycling. Documents should be boxed and placed in the trunk of resident’s vehicle, if possible, or in the back seat of the resident’s vehicle for staff to remove. For more information, call the Town Clerk’s office at 763-3511.


Lewisboro History. Local author Susan Allport wrote a marvelous book about stone walls in 1990. “Sermons in Stone” explores the mysteries of the stone walls in northern Westchester and Fairfield counties and nearby New England. The book is a “must” for stone wall enthusiasts and it has supplied me with much of what I can pass on to the readers of this column.

Ms. Allport relates a vignette from Samuel Goodrich’s autobiography, “Recollections of a Lifetime” (1856). To quote from Ridgefielder Goodrich, “We used to have ‘stone bees,’ when all the men of a village or hamlet came together with their draft of cattle and united to clear some patch of earth which had been stigmatized by nature with an undue visitation of stones and rocks. All this labor was gratuitously rendered, save only that the proprietor of the land furnished the grog. Such a meeting was always a very sociable affair. When the work was done, gymnastic exercises such as hopping, wrestling and foot racing took place among the athletic young men.”

Many of these stones found their way into the stone walls we see in our towns today. Unfortunately, today’s replacement walls are not native walls. They are made in a European-influenced way — much too regular and finished in appearance and held together with mortar. Our original walls have a character to them taken from the natural shape and texture of the individual stones. Levels and chisels are less important than balance and durability; New England walls are held together with craftsmanship, not mortar.

Early wall cross sections show very simple balanced single rows of stones, often without a foundation and containing stones of all shapes and sizes. These took less time to construct and probably did not prove as lasting. This type can be seen around the perimeters of the fields. The barnyard or garden was another matter where walls had to be stronger and longer lasting. Here the stones were laid upon a foundation that burrowed below the frost line. Called a dry-laid wall, the larger, more matched stones were carefully placed and chinked in with smaller stones to hold everything in place. A third type is a double-faced wall with large stones composing the two outer walls and a middle area filled in with nondescript stone rubble. There is a magnificent rubble-filled wall running the length of the Onatru farm road. This wall is about 4-feet wide in places. It must have been built more than a century ago. I consider these walls to be one of our town’s treasures to be preserved forever. Treat them with respect.


Please send me information suitable for this column so I don’t have to make things up. Contact me at or 763-3326. Offering wishes for a joyous holiday season and a needle in everyone’s arm so that we may soon celebrate together.

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