Liberty Township, Always Something To Do.
The vibrant colors of autumn leaves are almost gone now, but don’t let that keep you from visiting local parks or getting outside for an adventure. Deer Haven Preserve is open all year round and its nature center is open seven days a week. If you haven’t been to a Delaware County Preservation Park yet, make a list and start with this one.
Deer Haven Preserve and the adjacent Havener Park are located at 4085 and 4183 Liberty Road. Open for just five years now, the parks were made possible by a donation from Phyllis Havener and her family. It includes the Amy Clark/Bader Bird Sanctuary which was developed within the park to honor the life of Amy Clark/Bader. While Havener Park is officially maintained by Liberty Township, the two parks share an entrance and offer a wide range of facilities and activities.
Havener Park most often has been used for its soccer fields but shares trail space with Deer Haven. The Tree Swallow Trail and the Bent Tree Ridge Trail do not allow pets, but there is a designated Pet Trail through a meadow. All together the trail space comprises about three miles and is well maintained. The entire park is detailed on this map.
All of the Preservation Parks have year-round programming, so even in December at Deer Haven you will find events involving crafting, feathered friends, and animals of the night. Check the DCPP calendar for more information. Geocaching and letterboxing have become a popular activities in Delaware County. If you are up for a treasure hunt and have a GPS device, you already have all you need to begin. On a recent trip to Deer Haven, I stumbled upon one of the letterboxes.
Liberty Township encompasses a great deal of natural beauty and local history. The northern section from Bunty Station Road to Hyatts Road includes not only these great parks, but some very interesting remnants of early settlements. When going to Columbus, I usually head south on “old” State Route 315 along the Olentangy River. It has been a painful hiatus with the construction closure at Powell Road but you can still drive a few miles down this designated Ohio Scenic Byway .
Can you say “keenhongsheconsepung”? Good, neither can I. But the Delaware Indians could, and this is what they called the Olentangy River. It translates to “a stone for your knife stream” and was called such because of the abundance of shale. The English translation was “Whetstone River” and that held until 1833 when the name was changed to Olentangy, which means “river of the red face paint.”
On a journey that took over two months to complete, Captain Nathan Carpenter was the first non-American Indian pioneer to settle in Liberty Township. Carpenter was a Revolutionary War soldier who fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill. He arrived in May of 1801 with Avery Powers. His homestead was on the east side the river. Located on Chapman Road, south of Winter Road, the springhouse remains and is said to be the oldest standing structure in Delaware County. The Carpenter property is now owned by Marycrest Farms which is associated with Greif Brothers.
Captain Carpenter died in 1814 and is buried in the Carpenter Cemetery which is also located here. The settlement was known as Carpenter’s Mill and Liberty Settlement with a post office that ran from 1832-37. It became an important manufacturing post in the early days of Delaware County.
Although Captain Carpenter established the first mill in the county, other mills were later constructed on that site. The last was the Hinkle Woolen Mill which manufactured blankets and coats for Civil War soldiers. Another well known mill is the Bieber Mill along this same stretch of Chapman Road. This is my all time favorite historical ruin in Delaware County. There’s something majestic about it – the size and design – that leaves you awestruck. The Bieber Mill is owned by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Just a few weeks ago nineteen volunteers worked to clean up the site.
You can also still see the pillars from the old iron bridge in the river near the intersection of Winter and Chapman roads. Driving around this part of Liberty Township you will see several historic homes. Most of them are built of stone. One in particular is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are also six cemeteries in this part of the township.
Carpenter’s Mill wasn’t the only settlement in the area. Henry A. Hyatt established Hyattsville to the west in 1876. The 1866 Liberty Township map identifies his land even before the town was platted. Located at Liberty Road and Hyatts Road, the town served the Columbus & Toledo Railroad. Hyattsville provided twenty four hour watering service for the steam engines. In addition to the post office which opened in 1877, a mercantile, depot, saloon and schoolhouse also existed. In the 1880 book of Delaware County history, it was said that both Hyattsville and Powell owed their existence to the railroad. It was also noted that Hyattsville had “one saloon, which adds little to the morals of the place.”
A few tiny streets still remain in Hyattsville with about a dozen homes in addition to a church, a park, and a lodge. Hyatts Park is about four acres big and contains a shelter house, basketball court, children’s play area and baseball field.
There is so much more to tell about Liberty Township’s parks and history. Future articles will head south and dig into the rest of the township, especially the newest Preservation Park to open in December just south of Hyatts Road. Until, then hop in your car and take a little drive along the Olentangy River, head north to Hyattsville and then take a hike in the woods at Deer Haven. As a final treat, don’t miss the opportunity eat at Gabby’s Place at the corner of Bunty Station and 315.