Ohio State Fairground Geologic Walk

Landscape Architecture & Community Planning – Implementation

Project Narrative

The landscape architect created this “Geological Walk Through Time” to portray ancient natural materials that have shaped Ohio’s economy, agriculture, recreation, and the arts. The Ohio Geologic Map depicts geologic eras over county lines. It is the world’s largest geological map, showing all 88 Ohio counties. Visitors learn about the geologic setting of their hometowns. Originally a 16-ton glacial erratic from the Canadian Shield was installed to “anchor” the walk at the Governors Garden. A more visited location at the Fairgrounds was chosen to relocate the walk without a 16-ton erratic.

The concept was to provide an educational area that teaches all the unique geology of Ohio. A meandering walkway was created to represent Ohio’s geologic timeline at scale of 1” = 1million years. Select Ohio rock specimens provide visitors an opportunity to touch and examine fossils, crystals and minerals important to the state economy. Each of the geologic eras are punctuated by large rock exhibits along the walk. Interpretive exhibits and signs explain when Ohio’s rocks formed and the significant purposes they served; like the “Cincinnati Arch” a broad structural geologic uplift centered in Ohio. The Paleozoic Eras exhibited include: Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Mississippian, Pennsylvanian; Permian. Mesozoic and Tertiary Eras are seasonally exhibited due to erosive coal and salt. The walk area is planted with ancient native grass plants. A “Dunkleosteus terrelli” sculpture, a prehistoric fish that lived here during the Devonian period, highlights the walk. Sitting stones from salvaged bridge abutments surround the map. ODNR Geological Survey staff offers interactive Geo Walk group tours at the site.

This “geologic garden” was designed with input from ODNR Staff, Ohio universities’ geologists and sand-gravel and quarry experts. This learning garden is a great example of government, industry and private citizens working together to achieve a common goal.


Project Details

Submission Category

Landscape Architecture & Community Planning – Implementation

Date of Completion

November, 2021