TARLTON, THE GH ROAD

LANCASTER

Stonewall Cemetery just outside Lancaster is one of Ohio’s most unusual, and beautifully crafted, octagonal structures.

Continue north on Reading Road (which changes its name in the next county) for about two miles, then go right to meet northbound SR 156 towards Lancaster. SR 156 joins US 22 before heading into Lancaster, a historic town and the seat of Fairfield County. About halfway between the US 33 bypass and downtown, watch for Stonewall Cemetery Road on the right.

A mile south stands one of Ohio’s most remarkable octagonal structures: an early 1800s private cemetery, where a handful of graves are surrounded by an exquisitely crafted, eight-sided, sandstone wall. The huge blocks are perfectly fitted. In the center grows a Lebanese Cedar tree (inquire locally for access).

The city of Lancaster has a pleasant downtown district with many shops, several important museums and historic houses, and very impressive public buildings. The city was one of the Zane’s Trace settlements and like Somerset was laid out in the distinctive Pennsylvania manner: the town square is formed by leaving open the corners of four adjacent city blocks.

Downtown Lancaster has an unusually rich collection of fine museums, all within easy walking distance of each other and the square: the Georgian Museum (a spectacular, period-furnished mansion at 105 East Wheeling Street, 740-654-9923, adults $6), the Decorative Arts Center of Central Ohio (an impressive arts museum in the historic Reese-Peters House, 145 East Main Street, 740-681-1423, free), the Sherman House Museum (home of the Sherman Family and their famous Civil War General son, William Tecumseh, 137 East Main Street, 740-687-5891, adults $6), and the Ohio Glass Museum (with a glass-blowing studio, at 124 West Main Street, 740-687-0101, adults $6).

The surrounding country roads in Fairfield County lead to many golf courses, historical and scenic parks, and covered bridges. Take SR 37 north out of Lancaster towards Granville. This route skirts the edge of the Appalachian Plateau, and also approximates the route of the possible “Great Hopewell Road,” an arrow-straight, sixty-mile ancient thoroughfare which may have connected Newark and Chillicothe, the Hopewell era’s two greatest ceremonial centers (see Newark). Tantalizing evidence discovered on old aerial photographs and drawings by Dr. Bradley Lepper of the Ohio Historical Society, has yet to be proven by on-the-ground surveys.

The Decorative Arts Center, one of several grand mansions recalling Lancaster’s early wealth, is also a fine museum.

Tarlton, the GH Road

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