May 5, 2012

Baughman Park another Lost Ohio

Presidents in the Woods

HIGH ON A RIDGE IN A REMOTE, HEAVILY WOODED AREA OF SOUTHEASTERN Ohio, a towering stone figure of Warren G. Harding guards a rarely traveled gravel road. Barely visible through the undergrowth a hundred feet farther down the road are strange figures carved into sandstone outcroppings: an eagle in flight, an elephants head, Abraham Lincoln, an Indian chief. A crouching lion and a wildcat cast wary eyes at passersby. William McKinley stands presidential on a pedestal in the front yard of an abandoned house from which some of the siding has fallen, revealing the original log cabin underneath. The road continues past statues of James McPherson and James A. Garfield and climbs thirty feet to the top of the ridge, where solitary figures are dotted around a two-acre clearing: George Washington, a dough boy, a headless William Tecumseh Sherman, Theodore Roosevelt. Deep in the brush in a natural amphitheater on the hillside below the clearing, a stone shelf bears a carved dedication: “Baughman Memorial Park. Named by Chas. Long.  The rest of the inscription is obscured by moss and dirt.


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