OAK HILL, W.Va. -- Walking the 1,200 foot perimeter of Bob Brown's property as it snakes alongside Fayette County's Gatewood Road, it's hard to grasp the amount of work -- and stone - that went into the fence that divides the farm from the road.
He laughs when asked how many rocks were used.
"Be serious," his wife, Eileen, said.
The four-foot high fence contains tens of thousands of fieldstones taken from the Brown's 50-acre farm.
Brown started work on Gatewood Road's iconic fence in 1971. He finished the outside of the fence, building a four-foot stone barrier that runs more than 2/10ths of mile, a decade later in 1981.
"There's quite a few hours' work," he said.
Brown's literal landmark started as a simple request from his wife.
"I saw this pretty fence in Kentucky and said why don't you build me a pretty fence," Eileen Brown recalls.
The Browns located to Fayette County in the late 1960s, coming from Coshocton, Ohio. Brown got a job teaching health and safety and physical education at WVU Tech in Montgomery. The couple purchased property on Gatewood Road in 1968.
The Browns lived in the dorms for almost five years before they were able to get their farmhouse under roof.
Eileen Brown said contractors got the house under roof and then individual contractors assisted the couple with work on the house.
Bob Brown said they moved in in June 1970, but didn't (completely) finish the house until 1980.
"It was a continuous thing."
In addition to working on the property and teaching, Brown also coached baseball, track and cross-country at Tech.
He and his son later added a barn and built two ponds to maintain the cattle and horses.
"In the winter I would work in the house with a carpenter or by myself. With half-way decent weather I would be out collecting rocks," Brown said.
When Brown finished the exterior fence he erected two stone gateposts to guard the driveway.
Brown said he had no previous experience as a fence builder.
"I proved that showing you the first part of the fence I built," he said.
But the fence -- barring the occasional car accident -- has withstood the test of time.
Over the years Brown estimates about he's repaired his fence 15 to 20 times because of accidents.
He recalls car accidents in 2007, '08, '09 and 2011, and another just recently that (as of this writing) has yet to be repaired.
Brown estimates automobiles account for 95 percent of the destruction to the fence. Some are also the result of fallen trees.
Never at a shortage for rocks, Brown continued to work with the stones he encounters. Some of the rocks line his wife's flowerbeds. Others are piled on top of larger rocks to avoid running over them with the mower.
Others were used to build more fences.
He completed two interior stone fences run about 250 feet. They are tighter and straighter than Brown's first effort.
The fence serves a landmark for local providing directions to tourists heading to the river. The picturesque surroundings of the property have also been a featured spot for wedding photos. Last fall the farm was used for a local couple's wedding photos. They have had similar requests in the past, according to Eileen Brown.
"I've got a reputation here in the community," Bob Brown said. "There are those who think he's a very strange guy. Those who have a feeling he's got rocks in his head. And a third group that labeled him a plain damn fool.
"Sometimes I think I got pretty close to the last part."