Ohio History Journal

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Because of the recent origin and unprecedented growth of the move-

ment, it is difficult if not impossible to devise a definite policy for the

preservation, development and maintenance of human history sites, as con-

trasted to natural history areas. It thus becomes evident that whatever sug-

gestions may be offered here are necessarily tentative in their nature.

The Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society has been in-

terested in the preservation of important archaeological and historical areas

since its organization a half century ago. It is beyond question the sponsor

in Ohio of such preservation, beginning with the noted Serpent Mound as

its first acquisition and gradually increasing its sponsorship of such prop-

erties through the years. It is, however, only within the past decade or

even less that the movement has assumed such impelling proportions.

This inordinate development of what for so long had been an orderly

growth came, strangely enough, with the period of industrial depression.

Having more leisure time, the public became conscious of the need of larger

facilities for entertainment and, perhaps, instruction. At the same time,

the Federal Government, the several commonwealths and the lesser political

areas became conscious of the need for caring for the unemployed. Acquisi-

tion and development of public areas of every kind offered a logical oppor-

tunity for relief labor. The activity which followed, together with far

too frequent uncertainties and disagreements can only be appreciated by

those who were directly concerned with project sponsorships. The State

government was beseiged from   every quarter for such projects.   The

several counties quickly came to feel that if another county possessed a

state park, they also should have a state park. This Society, as the natural

sponsor of such activities soon found itself engulfed in the mad whirl to

take advantage of federal relief funds, frequently without proper con-

sideration as to whether or not an area merited park status.

Now that this memorable era lies for the most part in the past, it is

possible for the first time to gain a clearer perspective and to realize the

outcome. Officials of the Society were not long in recognizing the need

for controls: but such recognition, and the applying of remedies, were two

different things. At its scheduled meeting in July, 1934, the Society's Board

of Trustees, on the suggestion of the director, went on record as favoring

certain corrective measures. It was agreed that since state parks, so-called,

included a minimum acreage greater than comprised in the archaeological

and historical sites in the Society's custody; and that, furthermore, since

state parks exist mainly for recreational purposes and preservation of

naturalistic and scenic areas; that, therefore, these human history sites

cannot properly be considered as state parks. This agreement took the