Farnsworth Metropark

8505 S River Rd.
Waterville , OH 43566

419-407-9700   |  https://metroparkstoledo.com/
Daily 7 a.m. until dark

Northwest Ohio's Natural History

Farnsworth Metropark is one stop on the trail of metroparks along the Maumee River. It offers visitors a blended experience of history and nature that is native to this region of Ohio.

One of the most photographed locations in Northwest Ohio is the narrow strip of green space along the Maumee River, Farnsworth Metropark. Unlike other metroparks along the Maumee River known for their visible canal sites and history, Farnsworth is renowned for its scenic beauty which can be attributed to its geographic location and underlying geological foundation. The 100-mile long Bowling Green Fault runs through Waterville--its only visible location is Farnsworth on the Maumee River. The fault line reaches just below the surface of the river bedrock and can be seen beneath the rapids when the water level is low. Farnsworth’s connection to its Northwest Ohio history is most apparent at the site of the old interurban bridge and the Roche de Boeuf, or “Buffalo Rock.” The Roche de Boeuf is a large outcropping of limestone--the only one like it in Northwest Ohio--that served as a meeting place for Native American councils and was named by French fur traders who believed it resembled a buffalo. The small rocky island serves as the foundation of the interurban bridge. Opened in 1908, the old Ohio Electric Railroad Bridge was at one time the nation’s longest reinforced concrete bridge. After years of use, the railroad tracks were removed in 1937. Although there has been effort from the community to try to preserve and rehabilitate the bridge, it now sits and slowly ages with no known plans for its repair. The interurban bridge and Roche de Boeuf are beautiful, eroding symbols of Ohio’s past that add to the uniqueness of Farnsworth.

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Notes for Travelers

Visitors to Farnsworth Metropark can experience history and natural features native to Northwest Ohio throughout its landscape. It is one of Toldeo's metroparks formed as a result of the conservation movement's influence that swept through the nation at the turn of the twentieth century; and programs created under the “New Deal” during the Great Depression to reinvigorate the job market and economy. Originally known as Waterville Metropark, it was renamed in honor of W.W. Farnsworth, a state senator who championed the Metropark movement in the area and fought to create a public space that would conserve and preserve the area’s natural resources and historic sites for the community. Today, Farnsworth Metropark continues to honor the senator’s original vision by offering public programs and access to trails that allow visitors to experience the area’s natural beauty and historic sites unique to Northwest Ohio.

Additional Resources

The Transition: A Tale of Northwestern Ohio, George W. Pearson.

Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement, 1890-1920, Samuel P. Hayes.

Canals for a Nation: The Canal Era in the United States. 1790-1860, Ronald E. Shaw.