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Walls Coming Down

Failed Moss Rock Wall

Failed Moss Rock Wall

In light of all today’s talk about tearing down that (Berlin) wall, here’s some photos of the biggest wall to come down in my neighborhood this past winter, when a section of hillside pushed a moss rock retaining wall into the road. Must have been a shock to the homeowner and whoever built it (not me).

Though, without sounding like I’m piling on the unfortunate builder of the wall, it was predictable that this wall would fail. A three foot high wall is supposed to be two feet thick at the base, and this wall isn’t even one foot thick. It also doesn’t have a proper foundation or gravel backfill. I see a lot of failed retaining walls around town, and the common denominator is that they are always backfilled with dirt instead of the drain rock or rubble that virtually every book or manual recommends.

Failed Moss Rock Wall

Failed Moss Rock Wall

Intact Section of Wall

Intact Section of Wall

The wall is still intact where the bottom course has bigger rocks and the rocks are toed in against the curb.

Failing Section of Wall

Failing Section of Wall

Failing Section of Wall

Failing Section of Wall

Moss Rock

Moss Rock

Two more waller nightmares are below.

Berlin Wall Demolition, Image from the German Federal Archive via Wikimedia

Berlin Wall Demolition, Photo from the German Federal Archive via Wikimedia

Images to haunt a waller’s dreams: a German with a sledgehammer attacking a wall and, perhaps scariest of all, David Hasselhoff singing on top of one (mercifully in this case with a reporter talking over much of his singing).

And an odd but true fact about the Berlin Wall: A woman married the Berlin Wall and had a relationship with it for 29 years. Apparently she had a disorder called Objectum-Sexuality in which people fall in love with objects. The wall coming down must have been a genuinely traumatic thing.

– Update 4/15/11 –

This is the replacement for the failed section of wall. Quite a shame. A correctly built dry-stack wall would have worked perfectly fine, but I’m sure there was not much appetite to do another one after the first wall failed.

And here’s a collection of recent Berlin Wall photos.

2 Responses to “Walls Coming Down”

  1. November 10th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    lostlandscape(James) says:

    Funny the different things that walls can do. There probably weren’t too many people celebrating the moss rock retaining wall’s collapsing, but the wall separating Berlin brings out luminaries like Ronald Reagan and David Hasselhoff…

  2. November 10th, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    ryan says:

    Right, and any event that brings together Reagan and Hasselhoff… The media seems to think of it as Reagan’s greatest accomplishment; it makes me think of Hasselhoff and that great jacket, and it obviously has a much different meaning for Germans. Surprisingly, I’ve recently met some younger East Germans who are nostalgic for old East Germany, though probably not the wall.

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