Adena Mansion & Gardens
Hours of Operation
APR-OCT: Wed-Sat 9-5, Sun 12-5
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Adults: $10, Seniors: $9, Children 6 and up: $5
OHS, AMGS, and children 5 and under: Free.

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Adena Mansion & Gardens

The Mansion
The Tenant House
The Spring House
The Wash House
The Smoke House
The Barn
The Gardens
The Visitors Center


"On one side of the house is a terrace with flowers and vegetables. This garden was arranged by German gardeners, who keep it in very good order,”

-- Karl Bernhard, Duke of Saxe Weimar Eisenach, on his 1826 visit to Adena

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Thomas Worthington, proprietor of Adena, came from Virginia and brought a Virginia gentleman’s vision to his mansion and gardens.

Worthington came west from what was then Charles Town, Virginia, named for its founder, George Washington’s younger brother Charles, and laid out in what is now the far eastern panhandle of West Virginia, not far from the Shenandoah River and the Virginia border. His gardens, with their terraces and ordered geometric shapes, echoed the designs of typical estate gardens of his home Commonwealth.

The gardens extend east of the house in three levels: an ornamental garden, a kitchen garden, and an area of fruits, vines, and shrubs. Beyond the easternmost terrace is an ornamental grove. Based on archeological evidence and historical scholarship, the gardens were renovated first in the 1950s and again for Ohio’s 2003 Bicentennial. Today’s gardens are works in progress, reflecting countless hours of digging, planting and weeding by Adena volunteers. Plant varieties are those that the Worthingtons could have planted – choices based on the ongoing efforts of the Ohio History Connection and the Adena Mansion and Gardens Society to learn about Governor Worthington’s era and share that adventure with the public.


The Worthingtons’ flower garden was an extension of the drawing room, with walking paths where guests could stroll among the blooms. The terrace was divided into three sections, with roses to the north, perennials in the middle, and annuals to the south. Spring bulbs of the kinds the Worthingtons would have known are showing in the garden now. Roses, bee balm, daylilies, Sweet William, irises, hollyhocks, poppies, larkspur, china pinks, snapdragons and candytufts will follow.


"Behind [the flower garden] and on the east lay the vegetable garden, rich with its beds of asparagus and tomatoes, and in short, table vegetables of the best kind.” - Memoirs of Thomas Worthington

The half-acre kitchen garden, divided from the pleasure garden by a terrace wall, would have fed the Worthington household, including servants, and the mansion’s many guests. Eleanor Worthington supervised the garden; servants would have tended it, while the Worthington children had their own vegetable plots to care for as part of their chores. Tenants would have had their own gardens.

Like the flower garden, the vegetable garden is laid out geometrically. A border surrounds the garden, and the garden plan provides for fruit trees and herbs as well as vegetables. The beds would have yielded beans, cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cabbage, kale, turnips, broad beans, lettuce, carrots, and peas. Borage, cumin, parsley, sweet marjoram and dill would have added flavor to the Worthingtons’ ample meals.


The third tier of Worthington’s terraces is in place, but awaits future planning, planting and pruning if it is again to produce grapes for wine and other such pleasures as strawberries, cherries and raspberries.. Governor Worthington was a teetotaler, but served wine to his guests. His 1809 diary mentions the vineyard’s currants -- used for wine and jelly. In 1815, he hired Godfried Fink to plant and care for his vineyards. Catawba and Isabella grapes, gooseberries, figs, quinces, and raspberries were part of the vineyard’s bounty.


"Just behind the garden, and extending to the point of the hill, lay the ‘grove’ containing many acres, which my father had laid out in circles, triangles, squares, etc., which, when within them had a charming effect, while from without the figures were lost and an air of natural or spontaneous growth was the pleasing result. It was planted chiefly with ornamental trees and flowers, and each of us had our favorite circle or triangle for our place of resort." – A Worthington daughter

The center path through Worthington’s three-tiered gardens leads the visitor’s eye to the grove, a typical element of the late 18th and early 19th century English and American estates. An English landscape authority of the time advised that such a grove should be “delightful as a spot to walk or to sit in.” Thomas Worthington’s grove has been partially restored and already provides a delightful place where today’s Adena visitors may walk, sit, or picnic.

Adena Mansion and Gardens
Thomas Worthington & Family
The Old Northwest Territory
Ohio Statehood
Great Seal of the State of Ohio
Benjamin Latrobe

Upcoming Events
  February 18, 2017
Volunteer Orientation Breakfast
  March 4, 2017
Ohio Statehood Day
  March 11 & 18, 2017
Scrapbooking Crops

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