The Best Little Park in Ohio …

Harvey S. Firestone, famous industrialist and founder of the iconic Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, was also a generous benefactor to his hometown of Columbiana. In 1935, he gave his community money and land to build his vision, the “best little park in Ohio,” as he always proudly referred to it. The Harvey S. Firestone Recreational Park has a rich past, and many memories to reveal. The Hanna Homestead and Spring Garden and the Hanna Homestead Cabin Ruin Garden, included in the current plans of the Firestone Park Restoration Project, celebrates this history.

Firestone Park’s Pioneer Past …

In the early 1800’s, the Robert Hannas settled near another Quaker pioneer family, the Joshua Dixons, who were living in what is now Columbiana. The Dixons had a fair daughter, Rachel, and the Hannas had a strong son, Benjamin. They married in 1803 and bought 160 acres from Joshua in 1810, and built a log cabin at the top of a low knoll near a cool, clear spring, on land on what is now Firestone Park’s newly-constructed Legacy Trail. Log cabins at that time were simple 16’ x 20’ structures containing only one room, a generous hearth, a door in the front and one in the back, and a loft used for storage and sometimes sleeping.

Hanna Homestead Ruin and Spring Garden.  Illustration: Zanetta Illustration

To re-imagine of the story of the Hanna family and their homestead, visitors will wend their way along the Legacy Trail, down the spring garden’s gentle steps with shade-loving ferns and other woodland plants, and along the pathway that continues on to the charming small terrace of the ruin garden, where only the outline of the log cabin’s foundation and its chimney and hearth remain. The Cabin’s exact location in the Park, its size, and architectural details remain a mystery. So rather than a historically correct replication, the Cabin Ruin Garden includes the “remnants” of a typical cabin and its landscape.

When the Hanna’s discovered the spring nearby to their cabin site, they likely found iris, marsh marigolds and skunk cabbage growing in the spring-fed pool, dragonflies hovering over the water, carpets of woodland wildflowers and ferns and grasses beneath the mature elm and sycamore trees. The landscape of the Hanna Gardens will be constructed to match what the Hannas likely found when they arrived, but the spring and pool will be embellished to create an inviting place for present-day visitors to dwell.  

A Place of Music and Memories …

Near the Hanna Cabin and Spring gardens, the Idabelle Firestone Gathering Place and Garden will be a tribute to Mrs. Harvey S. Firestone, celebrated in her day and beyond as a devoted wife to Harvey Firestone, homemaker, caring mother, gifted music composer and consummate lover of gardens and flowers. It will be the central feature of the Legacy Trail in the Park. Her admiration for flowers and love of music formed the basis for many achievements in the later years of her long and fruitful life. She was a gifted composer of her era, writing many popular romantic songs of the 1930s and 1940s including “In My Garden” and “If I Could Tell You,” which was the opening and closing theme for the nationally-broadcast radio and television programs “Voice of Firestone.”

Idabelle Firestone Gathering Place and Garden.
Illustration: Zanetta Illustration

In 1948, to honor her avid passion for flowers, David Burpee, internationally-known plant hybridist, developed the French marigold and named it the “Idabelle Firestone Marigold.” While this special flower no longer exists, it lives on in the memory of this amazing woman and in the other French Marigold varieties, as well as the columbine, phlox and roses, visitors will delight in at the Idabelle Frestone Gathering Place and Garden. This site will also feature an outdoor performance amphitheater for musical concerts, entertainment events and community gatherings, honoring both her love of music and of flowers.

Honoring a Legacy …

The current Firestones are keeping the legacy between Columbiana and the family alive with substantial donations forthe 2021 construction of the Idabelle Firestone Gathering Place and Garden. Adding your gift today will honor not only the bequest given to our town nearly 80 years ago by the patriarch of the Firestone family to build the park, but also the current gift by the Firestone family of over $225,000 to renew and refresh the Park.

Location of the Hanna Cabin Ruin and the Hanna Cabin Spring Garden within the Legacy Trail at Firestone Park. Illustration: Zanetta Illustration

Donations are being sought for additional features in 2021 on the Legacy Trail, including Harvey’s Lookout, the Hanna Cabin Ruin Garden and the Hanna Spring Garden, as well as additional funding to complete the construction of the Idabelle Firestone Gathering Place and Garden.

Preserving a Rich History …

Help preserve Firestone Park’s rich history! We appeal to the community to embrace – and match – the generosity of the Firestone family, to honor their contributions with those from our town, and to help make the construction of these exciting new features in the park possible.