A Little Marion History LbNA # 33355 (ARCHIVED)
|Placed Date||Jul 22 2007|
Marion is the county seat of Marion County and is approximately one hour north of Columbus. It’s a typical Midwestern small town, and I thought I’d share a little history of the town with these letterboxes. There are three boxes in this series and all are located in a park built around an old quarry. Its name is appropriately Quarry Park. There is only one log book for this series, and it is in the last box so I’ll list them in order. Each box represents a historical event or landmark from Marion with directions on places to go in Marion related to these boxes.
To get to Marion, take 23N out of Columbus. This will take you through the city of Delaware, past Delaware State Park, and you will skirt around the small town of Waldo, which is known for its fried bologna sandwich. After passing Waldo, watch for the sign for Bethlehem Road. You need to make a left onto Bethlehem Road – you will now be heading west. At the first stop sign, turn right (north again) onto SR 423. (Keep in mind this eventually merges with SR 4 and then you will follow SR 4.) You will now stay on this for several miles through the city of Marion. When you first enter Marion, you will see Southland Mall on your left. To your right is a Kroger store. You should be able to pick up a map of Marion here if you like. Continue going north. After a couple miles, you will see President Warren G. Harding’s tomb on your right. You should definitely take the time to stop and look around. And for those of you who like ghost stories, the ghost of President Harding is said to haunt both his memorial and his former receiving vault across the street in the Marion Cemetery. He and his wife were both interred in the receiving vault while the tomb was being constructed. Witnesses have reported odd sounds and cold spots at both locations. The apparition of President Harding has been seen standing on the steps of his tomb. A shadowy, dark figure has been reported standing in the entrance way to the receiving vault, as has the unexplained smell of a strong perfume. Marion Cemetery is also home to the Merchant Ball. The Merchant Ball is the gravestone for the Charles Merchant family. It has a large, granite sphere on top of it that is quite heavy, but it mysteriously rotates about two inches every year. Some believe a restless spirit is moving it, while others try to find more rational explanations. However, no one really knows why it moves. It could be the result of changing temperatures causing the base of the gravestone to expand and contract, but what's so weird about it is that there are no deep scratches in the sphere. The cemetery is huge so it may take you some time to find it, but it could make for a fun afternoon of adventure. I’ve been to it once but have no idea how we finally found it.
After you get back on SR 423 (SR 4) heading north again, the road splits with CVS on your left. Take the fork to the left - it turns into Main Street as you pass through the downtown section of Marion. As you leave the downtown area, watch for a street on your right called Hecker Street. Right past this (literally)on the same side of the road is the oldest continuous operating Stewart’s root beer drive-in in the U.S. This would be a great place to stop and have lunch and have a frosty mug of root beer. You can either enjoy it at Stewart’s or take it to Quarry Park as it’s not far from the drive-in. When you leave Stewart’s, you will continue north on SR 4. Watch for the radio tower for WMRN on your right. From Southland Mall to this tower, you will have gone only 3.5 miles! At the light, turn left onto Marion-Williamsport Rd. This road dead ends into Hillman Ford Rd. after a couple miles. Turn left onto Hillman Ford Rd. Quarry Park will be on your left before the railroad tracks. Park in the first gravel lot that you see.
You will see a paved path going up to the park and some picnic shelters. Right after passing a split-rail fence, you will see a gravel path on your right. You need to take this to reach the first letterbox. This trail curves around quite a bit. You will pass by a pile of limestone on your left twice as this curves around. This will come to an East-West path with a sign on a tree saying Enter At Your Own Risk. Turn right onto this path. Continue on this path - you will eventually see the one of the quarry ponds on your left. Take the first path you come to on your left that leads down to the water. As you take this path, look to your right and you will see an old kiln building with several kilns visible. Once you are facing this building, you will be looking directly at a kiln. There is a rather steep path up to it. You will need to climb up this path. The climb is a little tricky so be careful. You will see a horizontal path on your left leading from this kiln to the next - take this little path. Once you are facing the second kiln opening, turn around and face out to the water. Step down onto the ledge and you will see a pile of six rocks two of which are bricks. The first letterbox is under this pile. Be sure to watch out for snakes and poison ivy!! As I said, the log book is in the last box of this series.
You will now need to go back the way you came to the entrance of the park. Now you can one of three ways: follow the paved path around in an eastward direction, drive to the next parking lot, or follow the paved path up towards the shelters and take the next gravel path to the left. (This will lead you back to the paved path that encircles the path.) This is another beautiful walk through the woods. Feel free to take any other paths off of this one that lead down to the water to enjoy the view. You will continue on this paved path. You will be able to see factories/warehouses in the distance. You will pass other numerous gravel paths along the way. All of these take you to fishing spots. You will go around a curve and see another parking lot. Face the parking lot. Turn a complete 180 degrees and you will see a stone standing almost straight up. The second letterbox is behind this stone.
Continue to follow the paved path in the direction you were going and you will come to a wide gravel path on your right. It’s wide enough for cars to pass through, and you will see posts on either side of it to rope it off. This path leads to a beautiful open area by the water and would be a great place to spread out a blanket and have a picnic lunch. Go down to this open area. After enjoying the scenery, go left from the path. (You’re still in the open area.) Look to your left and you will see where boulders have slid down. There is an evergreen tree of some sort to the right of these rocks. You should see a large flat boulder in an almost standing position. As you approach it, you will see an L-shaped rock; part of it a red color, blocking a crevice. Move this rock and the last letterbox is in the crevice.
I hope you enjoy your time at Quarry Park. Please be careful reaching for all three of these boxes as there could be snakes and/or spiders in these areas.