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.