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September 2006
Enon, Ohio

    On Interstate 70, west of Columbus, Ohio, you’ll pass exit 48, marked as the interchange for Enon and Donnelsville. You’ll also spot the green water tower for the town of Enon. The word “Enon” is “None” spelled backwards, but that’s probably not why the founders chose that name. “Enon” is also is a biblical name meaning “place of springs.”

     Enon might be a place of springs, but it’s also a place with lots of gravel. When the glaciers receded they left piles of gravel, which is now mined for industrial use, including highway construction. Central Ohio features abundant deposits of limestone, clay and gravel—resources for making concrete, which is a reason why the nation’s first section of concrete street was built near here in Bellefontaine in 1891.

    As we drive this stretch of the interstate, we’ll see gentle hills. Some of these are piles of debris left behind by the glaciers, but not all of them. Scattered throughout the region are also burial mounds, thousands of them, left by pre-historic peoples. Enon is the site of one of the largest of these mounds. It’s about 40 feet high with a circumference of 574 feet and was built by people of the Adena culture.

    The land that is now Ohio has been inhabited by humans ever since the glaciers receded, perhaps some 12,000 years ago. Throughout those years there have been successive waves of inhabitants that lived here for awhile and then moved on or disappeared or merged with another group. The peoples we call the Adena made the Ohio country their home for over 1,000 years, starting in about 1,000 B.C.

    The Adena marked a transition in early people from hunters and gatherers to those who planted and harvested crops. Hunters and gatherers roamed the land, living on whatever they could hunt or harvest.  The Adenas began to develop agriculture. They grew crops such as sunflowers, strawberries, squash, corn, and grapes. Having crops to take care of  made it possible—also necessary—to establish semi-permanent communities, rather than roaming all the time. With more permanent settlements, they also began to create the implements of civilization.

    The mounds they built were burial sites where artifacts were also interred. Pots and clay figurines have been found, indicating that the Adenas were the first Native Americans to make pottery. Also in the mounds are beads, flint spears, pipes, and jewelry—as well as copper ornaments, mica, and sea shells, which were imported from other areas, suggesting a well-developed trading network among these peoples.

    After about 100 A.D. the Adena culture was supplanted by a more developed civilization called the Hopewells. Some say the Adena in Ohio simply vanished. Others contend that they merged into the Hopewell culture. Whatever: their monuments stand as a reminder to us of the earlier peoples for whom this land was their land.

For more about Enon and its surrounding communities, see the CD for
I-70 West: Columbus, OH to Richmond, IN.

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