Worden Heritage Homestead

In the midst of expansionism, many living in the East packed up and headed West. Crowded cities lacked jobs and even decent places to live. In search of land, many relocated to the rural West that was Ohio. In the early 1860s, Hiram Mace Worden and his wife, Melissa, decided to build their lives in humble Medina County. Here they founded their homestead. Built in 1860, slightly before the Civil War, the Worden Heritage Homestead continues to be a unique property that showcases the late 1800s. The couple had four children while living in the homestead; Nettie, Cora, Frank, and Floyd. On W. Washington Street in Medina, Ohio, Hiram ran a place called Worden’s Medina Monumental Co. A sculpted bust of Hiram even resided in the front window, courtesy of Frank Worden. The Worden family experienced great change in America while living in this house and running their store. Four generations of the Worden family witnessed everything from the politically charged election of 1860, to the economic hardships of the Great Depression, to the socially vibrant Civil Rights Movement while living in this house.

While this historic place may just appear to be another old home on a country road, taking a walk behind the house will tell a different story. A walk in the back of the house presents many mysterious carvings in the ledges. At first, it was believed that Hiram’s son, Frank Worden, was responsible for the carvings. However, descendants of the Worden family tell otherwise. After her death in 1945, Nettie Worden’s third husband ventured into the woods once used for relaxation and picnicking by the Worden family and carved into the ledges. According to descendants of the Worden’s, Noble Stuart amazingly created these carvings between 1945 and 1955. Being a lover of history, Noble Stuart intricately created about 10 carvings of historical figures, historical events, and his own late family into the ledges.

The Worden family inhabited this homestead until the purchase by the Cleveland Metroparks in 1984. A little after the death of the Noble Stuart, the last resident, the Hinckley Historical Society sprouted a museum in the house located at 895 Ledge Road. Stepping in the house, complete with the original hardwood floors and wavy windows, is like stepping directly back to the progressive era of the late 1800s. Despite efforts to maintain the upkeep of the museum, there has been talk that it is likely to close its doors. This homestead depicting pioneer life in Medina, Ohio is like a time capsule. With striking carvings and a historical trail to hike, this truly is an important part of the Hinckley Reservation.

Images

Worden Heritage Homestead Sign

Worden Heritage Homestead Sign

Located at 895 Ledge Road, Worden's Homestead is an unknown gem in the Hinckley Reservation. Though it is often forgotten about, the homestead and ledges allow one to travel back to simpler times. One can choose to take a small stroll through the ledges or take a lengthy hike on the connected trails that travel through the Hinckley Reservation. Image Courtesy of Emma Swearingen. View File Details Page

House at the Homestead

House at the Homestead

The house on the homestead is a mirror image of pioneer life in the late 1800s. Formerly a museum ran by the Hinckley Historical Society, the tiny house is complete with original wood floors and late 19th century windows. After Noble Stuart's death in 1984, the homestead was acquired by the Cleveland Metroparks. The house museum then opened in 1988. Image Courtesy of Emma Swearingen. View File Details Page

Worden's Medina Monumental Co.

Worden's Medina Monumental Co.

During the period of rapid industrialism, many turned to opening up unique shops to make a living. Hiram Worden, the homestead's namesake, ran a store called Worden's Medina Monumental Co. The Worden family produced carved monuments. In this photo, a sculpted bust of Hiram can be seen in the window. This sculpture had been created by his son, Frank Worden. Frank Worden had been a talented sculptor and was initially thought to have done the carvings. However, descendants of the Worden family tell otherwise. Image Courtesy of Cleveland Memory Project. Medina County Historical Society. View File Details Page

Noble Stuart

Noble Stuart

After being widowed twice, Nettie Worden married Noble Stuart. She married this former bricklayer when she was 80 years old. After Nettie's death in 1945, the homestead had been inherited by her third husband. This marker next to the gravel driveway at the homestead features Noble's last name. Image Courtesy of Emma Swearingen. View File Details Page

H.M. Worden 1851

H.M. Worden 1851

Depicted in this carving is Hiram Mace Worden, Worden's Homestead's namesake. This portrait is accompanied by his name and wedding date. Married in 1851, Hiram and Michelle Worden built the homestead shortly after in 1860. The two raised their children on this property, often enjoying relaxation and fun in the tall, sandstone ledges where these carvings are now located. Image Courtesy of Emma Swearingen. View File Details Page

Nettie Worden

Nettie Worden

Noble Stuart, the talented artist who created all of these carvings, carved the name of his late wife into the ledges where he once lived with her. Born in 1863, Nettie Worden, the oldest daughter of Michelle and Hiram, inherited the family's homestead in 1903. At 80 years old, she married her slightly younger, 62 year old lover. Noble Stuart carved many of these carvings, such as her name and other things relating to his family, in the ledges shortly after Nettie's death. Image Courtesy of Emma Swearingen. View File Details Page

14 Foot Long Sphinx

14 Foot Long Sphinx

One of Noble's carvings features a 14 foot long sphinx. Noble created this almost life size carving in a large sandstone rock. Now covered in moss and various other plants, everything but the head almost blends in with the other ledges. Being a history fanatic, Noble Stuart had been fascinated with things from the past. This love of history can be observed in many of his carvings. Image Courtesy of Emma Swearingen. View File Details Page

Head of the Sphinx

Head of the Sphinx

Noble Stuart, a lover of history, created many carvings relating to the past. The head of this 14 foot long sphinx is now withered down and covered in moss. Image Courtesy of Emma Swearingen. View File Details Page

Schooner

Schooner

Noble Stuart created this carving of a schooner, a popular sailing ship at the time, as a tribute to his father. His father had previously died from drowning while working on the Great Lakes. Image Courtesy of Emma Swearingen. View File Details Page

T. Cobb

T. Cobb

Noble Stuart created a carving of Ty Cobb, a popular baseball player and friend at the time, in the side of a sandstone ledge. Ty Cobb's face features his first initial and last name. There was also a hat with a bill previously, but it has since been withered away. Image Courtesy of Emma Swearingen. View File Details Page

Audio

Interview With Jacquelynn Loomis

Jacquelynn Loomis, a lover of geology and the environment, speaks of her first time going to Worden's Homestead. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Emma Swearingen, “Worden Heritage Homestead,” Discover Medina, accessed April 26, 2017, http://discovermedina.org/items/show/232.

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