This downtown garden wall is unique for several reasons. First, it was constructed in the Rubble Built to Courses style, which is not prevalent in the Kingston region. In this style, large stones are set at intervals, and the space between is infilled with smaller, random pieces. This is an efficient way to build because it allows the mason to level only the larger pieces, knowing that the fill in between will eventually come to level heights. The second thing that makes this wall unique is the size of the larger stones, or ‘jumpers.’ which were found to be 13-16” in height. This is a sedimentary bed height which is not common in this region’s buildings, and would have required more than one person to set in place.
When we first surveyed this wall, it had collapsed, and was clearly an example of what not to do with a stone wall. All of the previous repair work had accelerated deterioration including repointing with portland cement, and grouting voids with concrete. To cap things off, a tree had grown against the wall, and its roots had disrupted the wall’s foundation.
We completed dismantle of the wall and salvaged the stone pieces as much as possible. The tree and its roots were removed. We selected almost 30 tonnes of Limestone from a local quarry and worked the stone to match the size and finish of the original material. We then rebuilt the wall to its original configuration, matching the rubble built to courses style. Some of the jumpers were over 300 pounds, and required a hoist to set in place. Lastly the wall was finished with blueskin and a cast-in-place concrete cap.