The Dawes Arboretum7770 Jacksontown Rd.
Newark, OH 43056
740-323-2355 Toll Free: 800-44D-AWES | www.dawesarb.org
A Legacy for Nature
The Dawes Arboretum is a great place to explore how humans and nature co-exist in Ohio. Whether you’re planning a self-guided visit or attending one of the many nature or cultural programs, Dawes has something to offer in each season of the year.
The Dawes Arboretum was the vision of Berman Dawes (1870-1953) and his wife, Bertie (1872-1958), who channeled much of their wealth into conservation when they created and endowed The Dawes Arboretum. Their legacy at the Dawes Arboretum provides rich and wide-ranging public programs. These include StoryTrail™, a literary-themed nature-walk for families, health and wellness programs like the medicinal herb walk and Tai Chi lessons, and heritage activities about preserving your family’s historic documents. The arboretum has several K-12 programs tied to Ohio Learning Standards for school and homeschool groups. Some of the most popular events are Maple Syrup Days which takes place at the Log Cabin in late February through early March as well as Arbor Day on the last Saturday of April.
Born in Marietta Ohio to a family in the lumber business, Berman Dawes had a love of trees from an early age. Dawes created the Ohio Cities Gas company in 1914, a few months into World War I, servicing Columbus and Springfield. In 1917, Ohio Cities Gas purchased Pure Oil, a Pennsylvania-based petroleum company, and renamed their gas company to show their focus to oil production in 1920. In 1927, the company built the chain of Pure Oil gas stations in signature English cottage style that once dotted American roadways.
In 1917, Berman and Bertie moved onto the 140-acre Brumback farm in Licking County, planning to use it as a country retreat from their main residence in Columbus. They continued acquiring adjacent lots and planting thousands of trees before formally establishing the Dawes Arboretum in 1929. Originally 293 acres, today the Arboretum boasts nearly 2,000 acres and features Dawes Lake, a glacier ridge, woodlands, a Japanese garden, the historic Daweswood House Museum, and education facilities.
The Dawes exemplified the American Conservation Movement (1890s – 1920s) that saw profound changes in Americans’ relationship to nature. This was the height of the industrial revolution, which was fueled, in part, by the petroleum products that made the Dawes’ fortune. Progressive Era policies led to the creation of national parks, wealthy citizens founded nature preserves, and Americans of all backgrounds began appreciating how nature retreats were an indispensable part of modern living. Leisure activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, and birdwatching became widely popular for the first time. The Dawes Arboretum reflects well the Conservation Movement impulse to restore and preserve nature. The Dawes family drew attention to conservation efforts by hosting a Tree Dedication ceremony with invited dignitaries, a practice that continues to this day. Dawes was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district in 2016.
Notes for Travelers
First-time visitors to the Dawes Arboretum should be sure to take the expertly-guided house tour of Daweswood to learn about the family and the Arboretum. The visitor center offers a full range of amenities, including snacks and a gift shop. Like nature, Dawes is open year-round so repeat visits are always rewarding.