Tucked away behind the old Worden Homestead on Ledge Road in Hinckley Reservation are beautiful sandstone ledges adorned with ferns and wildflowers. Wandering among the cool ledges, hikers may be surprised to suddenly come face to face with a sphinx carved out of sandstone. Nearby are the carvings of a schooner and several historical faces. Eight carvings, and a few smaller ones, greet the hiker. Who carved them, and why?
Schooner carving - Worden Homestead - Hinckley Reservation
At one time it was believed they were carved by Frank Worden, son of Hiram Worden, the homestead’s builder. Frank was a stone carver, sculptor and monument maker, and the owner of Medina Monument Company. A comparison of Frank’s work with the Worden’s Ledges carvings reveals a different artist. Frank was a sculptor of “considerable talents.” The Worden’s Ledges carvings, while charming, are more primitive, and have been described as folk art. Hiram and his family did not want to carve into the ledges because they frequently picnicked and relaxed there and enjoyed the beauty of the natural sandstone.
Hiram Worden - Photo Courtesy of Hinckley Historical Society
Who, then, did the carvings? Hiram and Melissa Worden had four children: Cora, Frank, Floyd and Nettie. Nettie, born in 1863, lived at the Worden Homestead for her entire life, inheriting it in 1903. In 1944, after being twice widowed, she married Noble Stuart, a former bricklayer. It was in that year that Noble, a history buff, began to carve faces and objects representing family members, historical figures and events. George Washington, Marquis De Lafayette and Ty Cobb (who was Noble’s fishing and hunting buddy) can be seen. The schooner was carved in memory of Noble’s father who drowned while working on the Great Lakes. Noble memorialized Nettie’s father, Hiram, with a carving of his face, name and marriage date. A cross and Bible honored Nettie, who left the homestead only to go to church. When Nettie passed away in 1945, the homestead passed to Noble.
Nettie Worden - Photo courtesy of Hinckley Historical Society
Hike back to the cool sandstone ledges behind the Worden Homestead for a fun, historical seek and find experience. Happy searching!
Hiram Worden face - sandstone carving - Hinckley Reservation
For a tour of the Worden Homestead and the carvings, contact the Hinckley Historical Society at 330-278-3159.
Kathy Schmidt, Naturalist
Rocky River Nature Center