“Who” designed and “who” cast the iconic iron fence enclosing the Pine Street length of Old Pine’s historic graveyard remains undocumented. (Note: the 4th Street iron fence is a 1903 recasting and installation.)
Here is what we know
Installed in 1835, the iron fence was built in modules and set on marble bases of differing lengths. “Anthemian” uprights designed as artistic castings get their decorative character from well-documented surface ornament.
As late as 1834, the Pine Street burial ground appeared to be a single property, when in reality, it was not. An invisible north-south boundary line, eighteen feet west of the church building, divided ownership between the Third Presbyterian Church (eastward) and the First Presbyterian Church (westward). To complicate matters, the westerly property was reserved for burial of First Church members only. Both churches, however, built and maintained solid board wooden fences along Pine Street which were subject to rot and being chopped up for firewood by chilly neighbors.
History points to the First Church as the catalyst for the Pine Street iron fence as a way to reduce wood maintenance costs and, at the same, time, visually open-up and publicly unify the two properties divided by a 1790’s liturgical rift.
Supposition suggests the Pine Street iron fence may be the work of John Haviland, a brilliant architect, who in 1823 designed a new edifice for the First Presbyterian Church after they sold their colonial building at Second and Walnut Streets and relocated to the southeast corner of 7th Street and Washington Square. Haviland designed a fashionable cast iron fence having anthemion supports and arrow-like finials to enclose the street sides of the new property.