Old Gates, New Gates

Old Gates

New Gates

This gate is a part of a fence where every panel is different than the last, and could be equally gate as fence.

While a gate usually implies, and expects, a fence, a gate can as easily stand on it’s own, whereas a fence without a gate is an exercise in futility – the primary purpose is defeated – entry and exit are uncontrolled, and hence, the fence, had for a pence, extracts many pounds. A gate “closes” the fence, provides it’s elemental purposes. A gate without a fence, however, must be more than a gate whose design is all utility – this, too, would be pointless. The Brandenburg Gate, for example, has been many things in its history, both utilitarian and ceremonial. But even in its utilitarian persona, it has never really been much of a fencing element. Today it is closed to vehicular traffic, but it still allows people to pass through its wide embraces.

This gate does not say, “Welcome to my house.” Yet welcome and triumph are its central motifs.

What is it that a gate encloses, repels, restricts, invites? Over the hundreds of thousands of years humans have employed enclosures, gates have served many purposes, but control of entry is its earliest and most critical function. To keep out the wolves, the alien hoards, the Black Knight, the greedy neighbors. Stone enclosures sought to hold predators at bay as much as keeping the livestock where one could keep an eye on them. In some countries, Ireland’s as good an example as any, it is hard to say which need drove the building of stone enclosures more – the need to control the wandering of one’s sheep, or the need to clear the stones from the fields so that the sheep actually had someplace to graze, stones being as plentiful as they are in that green and glorious land.

Welcome to The Front Gate Project

Welcome to the start of the Front Gate Project, a blog where you, the reader, can help create a place for both sides of the front gate, whether you are leaving through that gate, or coming inside, perhaps for a spot of tea. Gates, after all, are nearly-universal. They are means of egress and ingress, they define boundaries, keep the riff-raff out and the livestock in, protect the people inside and hold the world at bay. They are a bow-tie for fences, and make fences do their jobs properly. But beyond utility, gates frame the experience of arriving and leave-taking, and can often spell the experience one may anticipate upon entering. And furthermore, they often possess great looks!


So this is a place to talk about gates, share photos of interesting, artistic, bizarre, and creative gates, and share stories of how gates have affected your life.


So, why not open the front gate, and step up here on the veranda. I just finished making a nice pitcher of iced tea – care for some?

The tall gate, the high gate, good for keeping in the high jumpers and keeping out the low lifers all at once!

The Gate is Open

This project depends on you - and your photos of gates. Great gates, different gates, unusual gates, non-obvious gates. Be sure to include your contact information, permission to use your photo, and a name for proper credit where credit is due! Be a part of the Gate Project.