Assistant Professor of Historic Preservation Christine Henry reveals some of the secrets behind her article in the Spring 2018 Issue of the SCA Journal, “Getting to the Bottom of Ohio’s Mysterious Blue Hole.”
What inspired you to write this article?
I have many happy childhood memories of road trips to Ohio to see relatives. The Blue Hole was my favorite stop mostly because it was a quiet place, far from the highway and the cramped back seat of our family car. Staring at the formation of stone and plants in the clear water captivated my imagination. The research for this article allowed me to not only investigate the geologic history of this site, but also to begin to understand the human history behind the creation of a tourist attraction that grew to epic proportions in the mid 20th century before fizzling out at the end of the century.
What was the biggest surprise you uncovered during your research?
Even though the original tourist site is no longer open, I was thrilled to find that not only were families still captivated by the tranquil waters in these sink holes fed by underground streams, but that locals still loved to come and feed the farmed trout. It was wonderful to know that the best places to visit are in our imaginations.
Anything you’d like to add?
Because of the Blue Hole’s popularity as a tourist site, there are literally tons of wonderful souvenirs from postcards to salt and pepper shakers that survive in basements and attics all over the country. So the Blue Hole is a nearly bottomless pit for those who love to collect the ephemera of roadside culture!
Where can people find out more?
You can learn a little more about the management of wildlife in Ohio and specifically about the Castalia State Fish Hatchery on the state website. For information about visiting hours for the new Blue Hole you can take a peek at the official Castalia State Fish Hatchery on the state website. For information about visiting hours for the new Blue Hole you can take a peek at the official Ohio state tourism website.
AUTHOR INFO: Christine Henry is a professor of Historic Preservation at the University of Mary Washington where she teaches a new generation of students to not only document and preserve buildings from all eras, but also to enjoy the adventures of the open road along the way.