Tom S. Cooperrider Kent Bog State Nature Preserve

In Kent, Ohio there is a fantastic nature preserve with unique features for hikers to enjoy: the Tom S. Cooperrider Kent Bog State Nature Preserve. The bog was carved out by the Wisconsin Glaciation. And the Kent Bog is a true bog in that it has acidic waters. The bog also contains the largest community of tamarack trees in the state of Ohio.

There is a boardwalk trail that loops around the bog leaving hikers back at the parking lot. Along the trail there are plenty of educational signs describing the unique plant and animal life. The signs also discuss the geological creation of the bog.

The bog is named for Tom S. Cooperrider. He was a botanist, author, and emeritus professor of biology at Kent State University. He made many contributions in studying the bog as well as other flora in the state. You can read about his study of the Kent Bog in his 2010 book, Botanical Essays from Kent.

The bog formed when the Wisconsin Glacier retreated. A piece of the glacial ice broke and was buried in sediment which formed a ridge around the ice. This created a deep kettle hole lake. The original size of the kettle-hole was about 50 acres.

The climate then warmed, and plant life spread over the lake. Much of this was sphagnum moss. This allowed the process by which the lake became a bog as the moss decomposed into peat. Now very little standing water is visible from the boardwalk.

The forest is coniferous. It is a boreal forest that includes spruce, fir and tamarack trees. Tamarack are trees more common to upper parts of Canada and Alaska. Tamarack are able to withstand very cold temperatures. It sheds it needles in winter unlike conifers and deciduous trees. This changes the look of the bog throughout the seasons.

On Ohio’s State Flag

Ohio’s flag, adopted in 1902, is often known as the Ohio Burgee for its swallow tail design—which has most often been employed in the design of maritime signal flags. The Ohio Burgee is the only non-rectangular flag in the United States.

John Eisenmann, a Cleveland architect, was selected to design the Ohio State exhibition hall for the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York in 1901. Eisenmann also designed what would become the Ohio Burgee only a year later, as a flag to represent the Ohio Pan-American Exposition Commission, not the entire state. But in 1902, after the Governor, George K. Nash, had visited the exposition and been presented with one of the flags, State Representative William McKinnon introduced House Bill 213 creating Eisenmann’s design the official state flag.

Eisenmann’s design was so literally so “outside the box”, not being of the standard state-seal-on-a-sheet design the press actually went overseas to find precedents for the design – the layout being compared to Cuba’s flag or the flag of the Philippines, while the red and white annulus was chastised for its easy comparison to the Japanese flag.

Though still sometimes considered unpopular and not often flown by Ohioans, the Burgee remains one of the most unique flags in the Union.

Bear’s Mill, Greenville, OH Pt. 2

This is the second and final entry about Bear’s Mill in Greenville, Ohio–an 18th century mill that is still in operation for tourists today.

The mill is set against manicured lawn and tree topped hills surrounding both sides of Greenville Creek which wanders along the property. The water still powers the mill the machinery. Two damns of varied size create a two mile lake where water is channeled to the millrace. Two water gates help the stream water to be diverted into the race to power the turbines.

Jesse Tillman and John Townsend bought the mill for $8,000 in 1862. They ran it only for a few years though as it was feared Confederate soldiers would invade the state and burn the mill. The mill had many owners over the years, M.R. Cromer being the most notable as there are still colorful stories told about Mr. Cromer who owned the mill until his death in 1947 when Charles Andrews bought the property.

Andrews was a rare environmentalist in his day. He fought with the city of Greenville for years over the effluent from the Greenville treatment plant contaminating his creek and disrupting the creek flow that powered the mill and heated his home. Eventually it led to an Ohio Supreme Court case. It ended up being a landmark case in Ohio in which a city was held responsible for pollution.

Andrews was also an early adopter of the health food craze and owned a successful business shipping health food products all over the world.

Bear’s Mill, Greenville, OH Pt. 1

Bear’s Mill was built by Gabriel Baer in 1849 who was a prominent Pennsylvania miller. While construction was started by a previous owner Mr. Baer and his family completed construction. This included the millrace, which was eight hundred feet long and twenty-five feet wide. Surprisingly, this portion of the mill was dug by school children at a rate of fifty cents a day. The mill ran for about seven years after its construction.

The millstones are the basis of any mill. During this time period a set of good mill stones could cost as much as $6,000. The stones needed to be cared for carefully as any imbalance as this would cause premature wear or dulling. Sharping mill stones was an art onto itself and stone sharpeners often had a ten year long apprenticeship before sharpening on their own.  It took two years on a journey from France for Baer’s three buhr stones to get to Ohio. French buhr stones were at the time the most desirable mill stones in the world.

The timbers used for the building were hand cut and the originals still stand today. The siding of the mill was replaced in 2001 but with the original wood type, Black Walnut.

The central bay has its grain-handling doors on all four levels all serviced by a water powered wench and cable at the peak. This is how the grain was moved upstairs.

Shrum Mound, Columbus OH

Shrum Mound is one of the last ancient burial mounds of the cone-shaped variety in Columbus, Ohio. It is located in Campbell Park. It is a Native American burial mound created about 2,000 years ago by pre-Columbian Native Americans from the Adena culture. The mound is 20 feet high and about 100 feet around.

The mound is named of the Shrums who once owned a farm on the land where the mound is found. The Shrums donated the land. Campbell Park is named for James E. Campbell, late Ohio governor, who donated surrounding lands that were turned into Campbell Memorial Park. Campbell was Governor from 1890-1892.

One of the last remaining ancient conical burial mounds in the city of Columbus, Shrum Mound was constructed about 2,000 years ago by the Adena people. The mound is named for the donors, the Shrum family. The park is named for James E. Campbell, governor of Ohio from 1890 to 1892.

The Ohio History Connection, caretakers of the mound, removed about 18 trees located on the top of the mound in 2015 in order to preserve the mound. Their concern was that if storms caught the trees and uprooted them this would destroy the mound.