In 1932, H.G. “Ben” Hartman was working in his yard, building a stone-lined fish pond when he became inspired. Unemployed during the Great Depression Hartman used his time to build a sprawling rock wonderland in his yard. In Springfield Ohio, his creations still stand, staggeringly out of place in the quiet suburban landscape. The picket fence surrounding the Rock Garden seems like a last effort to blend the Garden with its surroundings.. until you realize that the fence itself is built of concrete.
Containing hundreds of thousands of stones, Hartman Rock Garden is a memorial to one man’s vision. Having broken the stones down to size himself, Hartman constructed a replica of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, White House, Mount Vernon, and a large castle with a drawbridge, as well as many other structures. A line of stone animals marches up a bridge to Noah’s Ark: all made of pebbles.
Some border on decorative kitsch, but many are simply beautiful. Be sure to get down on your knees and seek out the dozens of stone figures inhabiting the Garden. After decades of decay, the site was restored by the Kohler Foundation in 2009. Today it is owned, maintained, and conserved by the Friends of the Hartman Rock.
Know Before You Go
Hwy 72 north take a right off the highway onto 72 or south limestone. Take the first left onto Leffels Lane. It dead ends into Yellow Spring St. Take a right onto Yellow Springs St. Go down about a 1/4 mile to McCain St. and take a left. Garden is three blocks in, at the corner of Russell Ave. They have guides at certain hours and days check the website. Also they have a donation box for the upkeep. Volunteers help with the upkeep and planting the flowers.