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Last week's photo of the empty sign was taken on the west side of North Hayden Parkway, between McDowell School and Hudson/Aurora Road. It is one of many empty signs surrounding a section of woods, and backs up to an old stone wall.
There is a lot of history about this area, and once again, I find out more and more information as people respond to the question of "Where is this?" Here's what I know -- in this area on April 25, 1975, the Reinhart Arboretum was dedicated to the past, present and future students of McDowell School, with more than 82 native Ohio trees. Mrs. Jewell Reinhart was a school teacher for more than 40 years, serving the last 25 years of her career in the Hudson School District. Her last position before retiring at the age of 70 was as a fifth-grade science teacher at Hudson Elementary School. As an 8th grader, Hudson resident Julie Ann Robb Hanscek interviewed Mrs. Reinhart in 1985, and according to her article the Reinharts hoped that "the arboretum would be a reminder to the pupils as they pass through the grades that trees must be cared for and protected."
There may have been earlier signs, but respondent Sue McConnell says that some of the sign posts spent several weekends in her garage in the fall of 2007. Her son, Mark, and fellow members of Boy Scout Troop 777, built these as part of his Eagle Scout Project. The scouts worked with the administration and staff at McDowell to create a number of the signs, which were meant to hold instructions for different science lessons based around a nature trail in this outdoor facility.
The wall behind the sign in the picture was at the rear of the original Evamere estate. If you look over the wall you will see that the ground drops away - the wall was very possibly part of the dam of the pond at Evamere where they once harvested ice for storage. There are photographs in the Western Reserve Academy archives showing this ice harvesting when WRA students farmed land in this area, and used a conveyor belt to load ice into the upstairs of a barn.
Each of the signs is empty, and the plexiglass has been broken. Wouldn't it be grand if a group in town or another Eagle Scout looking for a project took this on? I'm sure many of the 82 trees are still there, just waiting to be identified, and perhaps the nature trail is still used. When I first saw the sign in front of the wall it was sitting in about a foot of snow. I'm looking forward to exploring the area when Spring arrives.