Hinckley Reservation–Wordens Ledges
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Hinckley Reservation Trails
The Worden Heritage Homestead is a house museum managed by the Hinckley Historical Society. The homestead preserves and presents the history of what it was like to live in the outlying area of Cleveland during a particular place in time. The Worden Heritage Homestead portrays pioneer life in the Cleveland area during the mid-to-late eighteenth century, including authentic craft demonstrations in broom-making, candle-wicking, needlepoint, spinning, and pressing apples.
Hiram Worden, the homestead’s namesake, built the house in 1860. The homestead would be inhabited for four generations by the Worden family. It wasn’t until 1988 that the Hinckley Historical Society was established in the homestead, and almost immediately began an intensive process to restore the homestead, maintaining the home’s original floors, walls, and even wallpaper. The restoration cost the Cleveland Metroparks just under $11,000 and included a new roof and painting of the exterior of the house. In addition to the restoration, the Cleveland Metroparks spent $14,500 on electrical, heating, and water system renovations on the homestead in preparation for future programming and visitation. Both the renovation and restoration projects were paid for by a fundraiser series known as the Country Festivals. The Country Festivals featured contemporary activities such as country music, a bake sale, and a flea market to attract visitors, but also used authentic pioneer craft demonstrations and activities to educate on what life was like for the people who first lived on the homestead.
Hidden treasures of the homestead are Worden’s Ledges. The Hinckley Reservation is known for its stunning natural rock formations that are also known as ledges. Theses ledges, comprised of sandstone called Sharon conglomerate, were gradually carved out by quick-flowing bodies of water that emptied into an inland sea that covered Ohio over 300 million years ago.
Some of these ledge formations on the Worden Homestead contain artistic carvings of various faces, names, dates, a ship, various religious carvings, and even a fourteen-foot-long sphinx. Some of the faces depicted include Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, legendary baseball catcher Ty Cobb, and a portrait of what seems to be Hiram Worden. Initially, the carvings were attributed to Frank Worden, the son of the original owner of the Worden Homestead, Hiram Worden, and thought to be carved during the late nineteenth century. However, the Worden descendants assert that the carvings were the work of a man named Noble Stuart, Frank Worden’s brother-in-law and Hiram Worden’s son-in-law, and that he made them sometime between 1945 and 1955. The farmhouse of the Worden Homestead is home to other works by Noble including sculptures of a crucifix, an Indian armed with a tomahawk, and even the storied founders of Rome, Romulus, and Remus.
From Wordens Ledges History
About the Hinckley Reservation
At the southern end of Cleveland Metroparks is Hinckley Reservation, the site of the nationally-known annual Return of the Buzzards. From hiking at Whipp’s Ledges to kayaking on Hinckley Lake, there are a variety of activities here for everyone.
Another attraction of the reservation is Whipp’s Ledges, with elevations rising 350 feet above Hinckley Lake and formed more than 250 million years ago.
Worden’s Ledges has unique carvings made in the 1940s by Noble Stuart, son-in-law to the namesake of the ledges, Hiram Worden. Hike the Worden’s Ledges loop trail to see the carvings.
Rising Valley, located off Newton Road, which was transferred by Hinckley Township to Cleveland Metroparks, has public access trails.
From Hinckley Reservation webpage
Restrooms at locations identified on Hinckley Reservation map.