Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Newark Ohio’

Newark Earthworks Connection to Ancient Civilizations

An eight foot wall and 5 foot deep ditch created the Great Circle.

An eight foot wall and 5 foot deep ditch surround the Great Circle.

“Walk with me. We lived here long ago. Large ceremonies with many people were held here.” This was the feeling that permeated the atmosphere while walking over and around the large mounds called Newark Earthworks built by the Hopewell culture at Newark, Ohio. There are three sections to these earthworks: The Great Circle, The Octagon, and The Wright Earthworks, which were not visited on this road trip.

Surrounded by fields of wild strawberries and gigantic trees, these mounds take your mind and spirit back many years to somewhere between 100 BC and 500 AD. The Great Circle, representing the circle of life, is located in Heath and has eight foot high walls, which surround a five feet deep moat. In the center of the Great Circle are some smaller mounds, one called the Eagle Mound, which covers the remains of an old ceremonial longhouse of the Hopewells.

The only known artifact could have been the form of a shaman.

An ancient artifact from these mounds could have been the form of a shaman.

An ancient artifact that is known to have come from these mounds is a small stone sculpture. No one is certain whether it is a person, who was a hero in one of their stories, or perhaps a spiritual being. Some even think it could be a shaman wearing bear regalia. Many, however, also believe the Holy Stones were truly from the mound as well, while some feel they are not authentic. These Holy Stones can be viewed in Coshocton at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum.

During the 1850s, the Great Circle provided a home for the Licking County Fairgrounds. Later use varied from horse racing track to military drill field. The Ohio National Guard has held encampments at this location.

Mound opening leads to the informative Welcome Center.

Mound opening leads to the informative Welcome Center.

The Welcome Center contains an excellent interactive video that takes you on an exploration of the largest geometric earthworks in the world from the comfort of an air-conditioned area. Guides there provide answers to most of your questions as they are very well informed.

Archaeological surveys report that the Newark Earthworks were connected to the Hopewell Culture Historical National Park in Chillicothe, Ohio by a hand built road. The road was sixty miles long and ten feet wide and paved with crushed shells. Called the Great Hopewell Road, today hiking groups still walk that pathway every year.

Moundbuilders Country Club leases the Octagon Mound.

Moundbuilders Country Club leases the Octagon Mound.

On to the Octagon Earthworks! Something seems amiss here as these are located on a golf course, or a golf course is located on them. Yes, signs guide you to the Moundbuilders Country Club, where visitors are not permitted on the mounds as they might interrupt someone’s golf game. There is an observation platform so you can see the general outline of the mounds, but walking must follow a strict schedule around golf events. The Country Club keeps the Octagon beautifully maintained and provides time each year, for those interested, to actually walk where the ancients walked.

These are by no means small formations as the Great Circle contains 40 acres, while the Octagon surrounds 80. The video at the Welcome Center proclaimed the Newark Mounds as the largest geometric complex in the world…four square miles total.

Octagon Mound can be seen from the Observation Deck.

Octagon Mound. part of the golf course, can be seen from the Observation Deck.

However, just standing at their edge gave a feeling of connection to those ancient people. Researchers believe the earthworks were used for ancient burial places, ceremonies and astronomical viewings, especially the lunar solstices.

Many of the mounds at this complex have been destroyed as it lies within the cities of Newark and Heath. Over the years farming, construction of roads, and development of the city, have changed the face of the earth. But parts of the original complex are being preserved by the Ohio Historical Society with help from Moundbuilders Country Club.

There are usually about three or four days a year that you can freely walk these historic mounds without playing a round of golf. Make plans to visit during the Octagon Mound’s next Open House, which is October 11, 2015. You will enjoy the connection!

Newark Mound Earthworks can be found just off I-70 east of Columbus, Ohio at Exit 129. Take Route 79 to Health to stop first at the Welcome Center at 455 Hebron Road, Heath.

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The Awesome Japanese Garden at Dawes Arboretum

Dry Lake in Japanese Garden

Stone River in Japanese Garden at Dawes Arboretum

Peace! Sweet Peace! As soon as the climb to the Japanese Gardens at Dawes Arboretum began, a feeling a serenity surrounded. Back in 1963, Dr. Makoto Nakamura from the University of Kyoto, Japan designed this beautiful setting near Newark, Ohio.

Upon entering the gardens, you first approached a large area of white sand with boulders around its side. It appeared very similar to a sandtrap on a golf course.   Upon closer observation, it was a mixture of sand and small white stones, which filled the area. This is called a stone river, Karesansui, “dry landscape”, or more frequently known as a zen garden. White stone and sand in the zen garden represent water and purity.

Tranquil Lake

Tranquil Lake

A tranquil pond  was the centerpiece for this magnificent garden, which has many large rocks. Gumdrop and cherry trees added to the landscape. This peaceful path lead up the hill to a reflecting pool surrounded by plants from across the ocean. There truly is peace in beauty.

To step or not to step, that is the question.

To step or not to step, that is the question.

The bridge lead to a path of stepping stones crossing the remainder of the pond. Guests that day seemed to be testing the water just a bit before taking a frightening step for some. All around the stepping stones and under the bridge, bright colored koi put on a show for visitors.

Japanese Pagoda

Japanese Pagoda

Along the paved pathway, there were various statues and pieces of artwork. A small pagoda appeared at the edge of the woods – a place to stop and worship in the Buddhist tradition. This tall pagoda lantern added a touch of tranquility along the walk.

Tea house or meditation house

Tea house or meditation house

The meditation room made a relaxing place to sit and enjoy the silence, especially in the early morning or bundled up on a cold winter day. This rustic, roofed shelter protects from the elements and provides a place to sit and reflect.  This serene corner of the garden casts its spell as you drift off to dreams and peaceful thoughts.

Stops at this soothing and peaceful place are pleasant anytime of the year. The next time you pass the sign that says Dawes Arboretum, consider stopping by for a spell.

Dawes Arboretum is located near Newark, Ohio just off I-70.  Take Exit 132 , Route 13 , and proceed North on Route 13 for about three miles.  The entrance is located on the left hand side of the road at 7770 Jacksontown Road. Follow the signs inside to the Japanese Garden. It’s a relaxing experience.

Tour Daweswood House Museum “Let the Flowers Grow Where They May”

Daweswood House Museum

Daweswood House Museum

Exploring Daweswood takes visitors back in time to absorb the lifestyle of the Dawes family in the early 1900’s near Newark, Ohio. Being greeted by Debby, the youngest granddaughter of Beman and Bertie Dawes, made the tour doubly enjoyable. Her added stories of childhood visits added life to the beautiful old home.

Outside, the playful, lighthearted garden design reflects Bertie’s favorite saying, “Let the flowers grow where they may”. Beautiful flower beds surround the home turned museum, and help visitors realize the importance of plants and flowers to the Dawes family.

Inside, Daweswood House Museum, actually built in 1867,  is filled with antiques, unique collections of natural history, and stories which seem to pour from the walls. The flooring and spiral walnut staircase in the entryway are original and from lumber cut on the farm back in the late 1800’s. Everything was built with loving care in the best tradition of the times.

Office of Beman Dawes

Office of Beman Dawes

Born in Marietta, Ohio, Beman Dawes graduated from Marietta College. After serving two terms as US Representative, he founded Pure Oil Co with headquarters in nearby Columbus, Ohio. The profits from that endeavor became the source of funds to develop Dawes Arboretum for the enjoyment of  people from all over the world, as well as the Dawes family. Debby mentioned that some of her fondest memories of childhood were the family picnics in the pines at Dawes. It seemed the children enjoyed the out-of-doors, just like their grandparents. Today the family still gathers at Dawes Arboretum every summer for an old-fashioned picnic.

Bertie Dawes' studio

Bertie Dawes’ studio

His wife, Bertie, displayed her collections in her special studio, which overlooked the garden. Shells, butterflies, and humming birds all held special places in her heart. The beautiful bedspread in the room had been handmade by Bertie as well. This elegant lady was definitely a woman of many talents and interests… including raising peacocks. Perhaps she had time to do these things since there were housekeepers that tended to the daily chores of the family. Since there were five children, this would have been a busy household.

"Our House" embroidered by daughter, Dorothy Dawes Young in 1925.

“Our House” embroidered by daughter, Dorothy Dawes Young in 1925.

One beautiful family tradition occurred in the formal dining room where the family met each Sunday for dinner. The grandchildren still recall those formal dinners with Grandfather and Granny as being a highlight of their visit.  This family had early access to some of the little luxuries, with electricity in Daweswood as early as 1929. Five stone fireplaces throughout the house provided a warm atmosphere. The warmth of family could be seen in the beautiful embroidered picture hanging in the kitchen to remind everyone of the importance of their Daweswood home.

A basement constructed of handhewn stone, where the children used to play, is now home to the Rathskeller. The walls are now filled with shovels and plaques of those invited for tree dedication ceremonies. Initials of the dedicators were placed on the ceiling with soot from a burning candle in the beginning, but today they are usually written with a marking pen…to save space.  Back in 1927, Ohio Governor James Cox was the first to dedicate a tree.  Over 100 people have been invited by the family to dedicate trees and some of those names are quite familiar: John Glenn, Jack Hanna, Richard Byrd, Red Grange, and Orville Wright to mention a few.

Smokehouse and Gardens

Smokehouse and Gardens

Behind the house is an old log smokehouse surrounded by Bertie’s garden. Nearby, on the right side of the picture, you can see the corner of the roof of the History Archives Building, which is being constructed to hold photographs, family journals, and Arboretum records.

Plan your visit to Daweswood on the weekend as hours are limited. Tours are given every Saturday and Sunday at 12:00 and 2:00.  Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for students, and tickets must be purchased at theVisitors Center. If you like beautiful old homes and the beauties of nature, you will definitely enjoy a visit at Daweswood.

Dawes Arboretum is located near Newark, Ohio just off I-70.  Take Exit 132 , Route 13 , and proceed North on Route 13 for about three miles.  The entrance is located on the left hand side of the road at 7770 Jacksontown Road. Daweswood House Museum is down the first road to the right just inside the gate, but first you must go to the Visitors Center to purchase your ticket.

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