Discovering New England Stone Walls

Thursday, October 116:30—7:30 PMThe Lois M. Anderson Community RoomThe Newbury Town Library0 Lunt St. , Byfield, MA, 01922

Kevin’s informal talk covers a few of the main topics from his book about New England stone walls, The Granite Kiss (Countryman Press), touching on history, technique, stylistic development, and aesthetics. He explains how and why New England came to acquire its thousands of miles of stone walls, the ways in which they and other dry stone structures were built, how their styles emerged and changed over time, and their significance to the famous New England landscape. Other topics may include: differences in approach between historical and contemporary wall-builders, a discussion of restoration tips and techniques, and information about design, acquisition of materials, preservation, and analysis. There is always a generous question-and answer period, during which listeners are encouraged to bring up specific problems or projects on their own properties. 

 Along the way, Kevin occupies himself building a miniature wall or walls on a tabletop, using tiny stones from a five-gallon bucket. He often brings along his collection of books about stonework, and copies of The Granite Kiss will be available for sale. 

Since the publication of The Granite Kiss, Kevin has presented his program at dozens of historical societies, bookstores, and town libraries all over New England, including Canterbury Shaker Village, the NH Historical Society, Castle-in-the-Clouds, Old Sturbridge Village, Boston's Arnold Arboretum, and many more. 


Kevin Gardner is a lifelong resident of Hopkinton, NH. Like a lot of independent rural Yankees, he’s been a jack of many trades, a builder, logger, writer, teacher, radio voice, even an actor and director.

For more than forty years he has been a stone wall builder in a family business widely known for traditional New England stonework, particularly for historic restoration of antique structures. In 2001 Kevin published The Granite Kiss: Traditions and Techniques of Building New England Stone Walls. His second book, Stone Building: How To Make New England Style Walls and Other Structures the Old Way, was published in May of 2017. He has also published poetry, songs, and essays, including “Land of Stone”, an examination of several historic sites in the Monadnock Region, in the 2006 anthology Where The Mountain Stands Alone.

From 1985 to 2010, Kevin was also an award-winning performance critic, feature writer, and producer for NH Public Radio. His pieces on arts, history and culture have aired on National Public Radio and the Christian Science Monitor broadcast network. In 2004, Kevin was a co-host of the nationally syndicated radio series Storylines New England, an interview and call-in program about our regional literature. He has written and produced other special programming for NHPR as well, including a 45-minute radio drama adapted by NH poet Julia Older from her own long poem, Tales of the Francois Vase.

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