As you might expect, Pat and I are close friends brought together by like situations only divided by state lines, and when she sent this to me this morning, I had to post it and say just how proud I am to know her and what changes her "Friends of the Mounds" group have been able to cause in just the past few years...
Here is a video of Newark's Octagon just two years ago with golfers of the "Mound Builder" Golf Course making good use of it: Click here.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Historical Society Board of Trustees today took action regarding three of its sites at its regularly scheduled board meeting at the Ohio Historical Center in Columbus. The sites affected were the Newark Earthworks in Newark, Seip Mound in Ross County and Schoenbrunn Village in New Philadelphia.
The board approved the following motions:
o To authorize the National Park Service to evaluate whether and how the Newark Earthworks might become a part of the National Park System.
o To seek approval from the General Assembly to transfer ownership of Seip Mound State Memorial to the National Park Service. Transfer to include preservation easement or reversion clause.
o To authorize staff to enter into an agreement with Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, Inc., for the day-to-day management of Schoenbrunn Village State Memorial with the terms and details as established by staff.
“We think that these three actions are reflective of the Society’s continuing effort to maintain and improve access to the sites under its care while facing continuing budgetary pressures,” said William K. Laidlaw, executive director and CEO of the Ohio Historical Society. “The board has acted in the best interests of these three historic sites.”
Newark Earthworks - click here to see info about this site and my trip there
The Newark Earthworks is a complex that is 2,000 years old and at one time covered approximately four square miles. A people now referred to as the Hopewell built these enclosures sometime between 100 B.C. and 400 A.D. Scholars recognize it as the largest geometric earthworks ever created. Although much of it has been destroyed by more than a century of urban development, the most significant parts remaining are the Octagon, Great Circle and Wright earthworks.
In 2002-2003, as the Newark Earthworks Historic Site Management Plan was developed by the Ohio Historical Society, an advisory group, made up of members of the community, local officials, Native Americans and archaeologists, recommended that the site be turned over to the National Park Service. Because the Newark Earthworks is now being considered for nomination as a World Heritage Site by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Ohio Historical Society is looking to increase access and resources for the site.
The study would examine the costs and benefits of management of all three units of the site (Octagon, Great Circle and Wright earthworks) by the National Park Service and evaluate different ways that the site might be affiliated or become part of the National Park System. A similar study was conducted for the Hayes Presidential Center, an OHS site, in 1994, although no actions were taken following its completion.
With OHS approval, the National Park Service will be able to start its planning process. The study will not commit any party to any particular course of action. The OHS board, the legislature and Congress will need to approve any recommended steps.
Seip Mound is the central mound in a group of geometric earthworks known as Seip Earthworks. The mound was built for burials by the Hopewell. About 10 acres of the site are for public use. ODOT has an easement on about 3.7 acres and maintains a roadside rest area, including restrooms, a picnic shelter and picnic tables. There is a small exhibit kiosk on the part maintained by the Society. The site also includes the Seip house, a brick residence built in the first half of the 19th century that is currently vacant. There is no OHS staff at the site.
Following analysis of Seip Mound as required by the Society policy and the holding of a public meeting on April 21, OHS staff recommended that the site be transferred to the National Park Service. The agency currently owns the remainder of the earthworks, so transfer of the property would unify control under one entity.
The National Park Service has the ability to accept the park without further congressional action as provided in the legislation that established Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in 1992. Although the site is owned by the Ohio Historical Society, it will need to seek approval of the General Assembly as required by Ohio Revised Code Section 149.30.
David Zeisberger, a Moravian missionary, founded Schoenbrunn in 1772 as a mission to the Delaware Indians. Problems associated with the American Revolution prompted Schoenbrunn's abandonment five years later in 1777 and resettlement of its occupants. Its history features a rare meeting of Indian and European cultures and a fascinating perspective on the American Revolution. Today, the reconstructed village includes 17 log buildings, gardens, the original mission cemetery, and a museum and visitor center. Two picnic shelters, long enjoyed by the community, have been closed.
The Dennison Railroad Depot Museum, Inc., approached the Ohio Historical Society in May to manage the site. Although the proposed change to a management agreement for Schoenbrunn Village was not part of the recent OHS budget reduction actions in April, the Society received their offer with interest because of the expected continuing pressure on its budget in future years.
The Ohio Historical Society administers the largest site system for any state historical organization. Using a local organization or agency has been a successful means of reducing the Ohio Historical Society’s operating expenses and keeping the site open to the public. The Society has been using managed partnership agreements since the 1980s. About half of OHS 58 sites are managed this way.
Employees at Schoenbrunn will be transferred to nearby Zoar Village. By increasing the staff at Zoar, site operations will be improved thereby enhancing the visitor experience.
The agreement is expected to be signed with the Dennison Railroad Depot Museum in the next two weeks. An announcement will be made at that time.
The Ohio Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that serves as the state’s partner in preserving and interpreting Ohio’s history, natural history and archaeology. For more information about programs and events, go online at www.ohiohistory.org.