Post Rock Country…
Last summer I embarked on a virgin road trip aboard my new (to me) dual-sport motorcycle. I strapped down some gear, pointed West, and tore-ass out of Wichita to meet family for a hike in Colorado. As I was buzzing down a small Kansas highway, my overloaded KLR 650 giving all she had, I started to see fence posts… But no ordinary fence posts like I was accustomed to in Wyoming… These were all stubby, square, and white… I kept whipping my head to the side to try and get a good focus on one. Eventually, I just had to pull on over for a close inspection.
I walked up close and gave one a rap. They’re stone! Years of wind and abrasion had smoothed the corners. The barbed wire’s grasp had carved deep channels. My geologic observation was that they are limestone, and I could even pick out some fossilized shellfish and casts embedded in the surface.
So why go through the trouble of laboriously cutting fence posts from stone you might ask (as I did)? Don’t see many trees around, do ya?
Here’s a pretty cool article from the Kansas Historical Society about the background of this peculiar folk-art. Obviously, it’s much easier to get manufactured fence posts nowadays, but in the late 1880’s you couldn’t just cruise over to Home Depot (or Colorado for that matter) to pick up some material. Many of the post rocks you see today in Western Kansas are really that old!
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