Back in 2005, I was in Springfield, Ohio, for a reason having no connection to rock gardens when I stopped by the Hartman Rock Garden. Yesterday, I was again in the town for non-garden purposes when I recalled hearing that the garden had been refurbished and I again stopped by. In 2005, deterioration was getting a pretty good grip on the place and it was interesting but uninviting. Today the miniature structures have been restored and some proper landscaping has occurred. It's now a very pleasant place for a stroll.
The abbreviated story is that Ben Hartman built the garden between 1932 and 1939. He died in 1944. It received so so attention from Ben's son Ben until his death in 2007. The Kohler Foundation, which exists to save stuff exactly like this, stepped in, bought the place, and restored it. Roadside America's take on the garden is here. A newspaper article from the time of Kohler's purchase is here.
I've included pictures of Noah's Ark, Fort Dearborn (with Little Big Horn in the arches below it), and one of the many bits of text embedded in the walkways. This one reads "BEHOLD THY MOTHER AND DON'T FORGET YOUR DAD". It's the thought that counts.
But I'd actually driven to Springfield to see how the Madonna relocation was going -- and because it was a nice day. Ohio's Madonna of the Trail monument is being moved from its spot at the west edge of Springfield to a new park near the center of town. The park isn't quite finished but the pedestal is ready and the monument is being prepared for the move.
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