Terradise Nature Center Trail Guide

Numbered Trail Markers

(at Terradise Nature Center, 1536 Whetstone River Road N, Caledonia, OH 43314)

Call 513-484-9729 for more information

Please note that house tours are available by appointment only. Please respect our AirBnB and Vrbo guests.

1. Greenhouse

The greenhouse was Trella Romine’s wedding present from her second husband, Ray Romine. When asked about a diamond, Trella said give me a greenhouse, don’t waste the money on a stone!  Over the years, Trella used the greenhouse to start and force plants for Hemmerly’s Flowers in Marion, the family business.  Trella Hemmerly Haldeman Romine owned Hemmerly’s from the mid-1950’s until she sold the business in 1980

The greenhouse is available for projects, 4-H clubs, scouts, and individuals who will help maintain it.

2. House

Trella and Ray Romine built this house in 1953.  It was home to Trella and her two children, Kathy and David Haldeman. Over the years many improvements were made, including larger windows, kitchen improvements, an extension for a TV room, decks and porches and vinyl siding. The house was Trella’s home until her death in 2013, at which time her son David inherited the house and the six acres on the right bank of the Olentangy/Whetstone River.

12 acres of the original 18 were donated to the Marion County Park District in 1998 to help found the Marion County Park District.

3. Observation Deck and Dead Ash Trees

The deck you see here was constructed using funds from a Marion Community Foundation Grant in 2022. It allows a view of the pond and also serves as a stage for programs and concerts.

Nearby are the remains of a very large Blue Ash tree which is being allowed to decay back to the ground, providing habitat and enriching the soil. The Emerald Ash Borer was discovered near Detroit in 2002. Within 10 years it had devastated the population of Blue Ash, one of Ohio’s most stately and valuable trees. Terradise lost all our Ash trees, and you can see the forest floor littered with their trunks.  This blight is not the first to hit Terradise – all our American Elms were lost to the Dutch Elm Disease in the 1950s. 

However, the young Ash trees sprouting from the base of dead trees give hope that a new generation will survive.  These progressions of plant cover are not unusual but are hard for us as humans to understand.  With every change, new habitats arise, and we can find good in what may seem like a disaster.

4. Pond

The Pond was dug in 1960 as part of the trend of farm ponds at that time.  The area was formerly a marsh and will be allowed to revert to that state.  In the 1980s effluent from Wood Valley Estates’ malfunctioning treatment plant dumped raw sewage into the pond and thence to the Olentangy River.  The Ohio EPA required a cleanup, and this was accomplished after the treatment facility was repaired.  Today the pond is about 4 feet deep, with a bottom of very deep mud, which makes wading very dangerous. Various geese, ducks, fish, frogs, and turtles as well as muskrats call the pond home.

5. Trillium Bed

The hill between here and the road hosts the native Trillium Grandiflora, or Wood Lily, a grand sight in May each year when the white blossoms put on a beautiful show and is Ohio’s State Wildflower.  The favorite flower of Trella’s grandmother, the trilliums in this bed were transplanted by Trella from “Mrs. Wait’s Woods” just east of St. Rt. 746, along Williamsport Rd.  Other wildflowers in this rarely-flooded hill are Dutchman’s Britches, Dogtooth Violet, Purple & White Violet, and others.  These flowers take advantage of the sun before the “canopy closes” and the area is shaded all summer.

6. Open Area and Winter Creeper

The area you see before you has been devoid of trees since at least 1953. This may be due to many reasons, among which are soil condition, year-round water presence or choking of tree seedlings by other plants.  Whatever the reason, it provides a habitat for sun-loving plants and open grazing by deer and other herbivores.

The green vine seen everywhere in this wooded area is an invasive pest.  Euonymous is one of the largest plant families, and this variety, wintercreeper, escaped from Trella’s gardens. It is voracious, taking two forms. The same plant will climb trees, choking them of nutrients.  At the same time, it shades out the native wildflowers and changes the food chain for grazing animals such as deer.  Once you correctly identify it, help us by pulling as much as you can – roots and all!  As Trella would say, make a pile!  We’ll dispose of it properly.

7. Your choice!

The trail splits here and you can take either path – the one to the right is a little longer and takes you to the edge of the property and to a view of the open pastureland owned by the Boger family. The trail to the left takes you to the same bridge that serves to cross the small creek that drains the area across the road after leaving our pond. You can then continue to follow the trail around along the river back to the pond and house, or loop back to the deck (3) and parking.

8. Bridging the stream

The wooden bridge is a temporary crossing of the little creek and will be replaced by a stone arch bridge in the near future.

When water levels are low, check out the clarity of the water entering the Olentangy – a result of filtering by the pond and the marshes the stream passes through on its way to contribute to the Ohio River Watershed.

If you see the water level in flood stage pictured below, please AVOID crossing the stream on the wooden bridge. It will be unstable!

9. River

This is the Olentangy (or Whetstone) River.

The river’s name has an interesting history. Olentangy was a name given to this river in 1833 by a legislative act that was attempting to restore Native American names to certain rivers in the state. The word Olentangy literally means “River of Red Face Paint.” This name actually belonged to Big Darby Creek further to the west, where the Wyandots of the Columbus area got their red face paint.

The Olentangy River should have been named the Whetstone River. The literal translation of the Delaware Indian name for the Olentangy River – “Kiin ansh ikan Siipu nk” is “Sharp/More and More/Tool/River,” — more precisely, whetstone. Both the Native Americans and early settlers used the black Ohio and Olentangy shales found along the river for whetstones to sharpen their tools.  West Fork of the Whetstone would probably be the best name, as the Whetstone already is named through Morrow County.

The river is navigable much of the year, except during flooding.  If you see less than 4 feet of bank exposed, the river is flooded and SHOULD BE AVOIDED.  CURRENTS CAN BE DANGEROUS AND CAN TRAP YOUR BOAT OR YOURSELF.

10. Interpretive Center Site

We are currently planning an Interpretive Center to house our extensive library, exhibits, meeting space and restrooms. You can contribute to this project by visiting our website at terradise.org

To make a donation to the fund for the Interpretive Center, scan the QR code or click this link