You can’t drive down Main Street in Clarence without noticing the stone walls – whether the ramshackle falling down bits in front of the big yellow barn, or the more serene creations in front of the Town Park and the Asa Ransom House.
No walls are as glorious, however, as those on the north side of Main Street just east of Davison Road. They are the works of a modest man, Neil Crocker. You can learn about him at www.Rockscape.us.
Stop and talk to him about his craft and he will tell you his work is nothing compared to what he’s seen in Vermont, or New Hampshire.
Examine it more closely however, and you will have a hard time imagining someone more carefully or artistically stacking stones from the Onondaga Escarpment.
The entire thing, I’m told, is actually a testament to Lois Kreher, matriarch of the Kreher empire, the dominant agricultural force in Clarence.
Crocker’s walls go together slowly – painstakingly slowly. Admiring his work, however, I am brought to paraphrase Elbert Hubbard. Hubbard said “it’s not how cheap, but how good.”
Looking at Crocker’s work, I am brought to say “It’s not how slow but how well crafted.”
The day will come when we are gone. Those walls will endure.
(Joe Genco has always admired stone walls. In fact, he gathered the cobbles from the rear of his house and built a ramshackle planter in his front yard. He wishes he could hire Neil instead.)