The myth of the FQ Cornstalk Fence

If you happen to be strolling in the 900 block of Royal as the tour buggies come by, you might hear the driver tell of how the one-time owner of the Cornstalk Fence Hotel and his Iowan (it’s usually Iowa) wife came to have this lovely fence. It seems his wife was homesick for the sight of the crop and so he commissioned this fence to appease her. Even our paper of record told the same tale!

The only problem with this…

there are at least 4 other cornstalk fences in town.

I know of examples in Bayou St. John, Lower Garden District (1448 Fourth Street), in the Faubourg Marigny, and a bit on a fence on Canal Street. And here is another example at the Metal Museum:

The reason is there are so many examples is because it was a cast iron form offered by local ironwork company in the 19th century by Wood, Miltenberger & Co on Camp Street, which was an affiliate of Philadelphia ironwork company Wood & Perot.


The BSJ house even has a plaque:


BSJ fence

2400 Dauphine

Canal near JDavis Parkway


Instead, the story is that this lovely design works for a variety of house styles, especially those with a long fence line. And it continues to be loved across many generations, whether by Iowans or by native New Orleanians.



About DW

New Orleans resident, writer, activist. Public market consultant.

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