Towner’s Woods, a burial mound and a Hopewell princess


Esch Mound Effigy Pipe – Hopewell – Found near Sandusky, Ohio.

While surfing the net doing some genealogy research this morning, I ran across a Kent State University student’s thesis about the archaeological find in a Portage County Metropark. Chloe E. Bragg’s Towner Mound: Creating Content and Sparking Curiosity for the Portage County Parks answered some questions for me.

As many of you know, I am not a Portage county native, so whenever someone starts talking about Portage county local history, my ears perk up. Such was the case when on one of our dates, my husband took me to Towner’s Woods for a hiking excursion. One of the things he pointed out to me while we were hiking was the Hopewell burial mound that had been found there.

Of course, as soon as I heard about that, I wanted to know more. Just like the newspaper reporter I used to be, I had a hundred questions:

  • What did they find when the site was excavated in the 1930’s?
  • What happened to the artifacts they unearthed?
  • Who created the mound?
  • Who was buried there?
  • How old is the burial mound?

Well, if you’re as curious about that as I was, you can click the link to Chloe Bragg’s thesis and read more about Towner’s Mound. You can also visit the WordPress site that Chloe built to give park visitors more information about Towner Mound. I hope the Portage County Parks folks incorporate Chloe’s work into their website soon. It’s a significant improvement on what they have posted on their site now.

When the Towner Mound site was excavated, one of the burials was reported to be that of a Hopewell princess. It is said that a guardian spirit watches over her tomb and will harm anyone who disturbs her rest.  One supposed incident occurred in the 1950′s, when the guardian left strange claw marks on the car of some teenagers who camped on this mound. It is also said that the spirit of a pioneer widow, who was murdered by neighbors over a land dispute, wanders these trails along the outskirts of the park.

Not having been there at night, I can’t say whether those stories are true or not. And since the park closes at dusk (if you’re caught there after dark, it’s considered trespassing), it doesn’t look like I will be verifying those stories anytime soon. However, my husband used to go mountain biking at night through Towner’s Woods — but nothing unusual ever happened to him or his cousin, Tom.

There is also talk of some tunnels in the area. If you know anything about the tunnels or just have an interesting story to tell about one of your own visits to Towner’s Woods, please share it with us.


Bragg, C. (2015). Towner Mound: Creating Content and Sparking Curiosity for the Portage County Parks. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from

Towner Mound WordPress site created by Chloe Bragg to share her research findings about Towner Mound.

For more about Ohio’s Hopewell, visit Ohio History Connection. The photo of the pipe above is a Hopewell pipe found near Sandusky, Ohio, at the Esch mound.

Portage County Parks District website about Towner’s Woods.

DeadOhio has a discussion about Towner’s Woods being haunted. Scroll down to read the comments to learn more about those tunnels.

Ohio Exploration Society. Founded in the summer of 2000, the OES is a group of urban explorers who visit both well-known historical locations and those forgotten with time. OES members research and photograph locations and share their research and photos online. This group has documented some interesting sites. They have a section on Portage County sites, including Towner’s Woods, as well as a host of other interesting sites.

This entry was posted in Archaeology, Local History, Portage County, Preservation, Towner Mound, Towner's Woods and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Towner’s Woods, a burial mound and a Hopewell princess

  1. Jack says:

    We used to go down in those tunnels, they are closer to Kent when you walked the railroad. That was back in the early 1985 thru 1990 and I’m sure they’re closed today. We Found some holes in the ground back along the rail road and you could walk down in them and then and sit on a made mud bench, being young back then we didn’t know what they where but we would take candles down into them and hangout in the summer because they’d be nice and cool when it was hot outside. Only a handful of us knew about them. I went back afew years ago and they were all filled in. I also know another spot back there where you can go today still and get quartz crystals by the buckets and only a handful of us know about that spot. Thinking about it today I’m sure the Indians knew about that spot. and yes I been back to that spot in 2021 and let my kids dig up some quartz crystal, I probably will never show anyone this spot again because if I did it would get ruined. Like I said Only a handful of us know about it.


    • Knapp Notes says:

      Thanks for sharing your memories with us. Oh, the joys of childhood! Great that you shared this with your kids, too.
      Knapp Notes


    • Jim Barnhart says:

      If you are talking about the tunnels that run by the old east and west rail way parallel with lake street, I was told that used to be a rail road service area.
      I live around the east side of pippin lake so Towners and the area was my back yard in the day.


  2. jim b says:

    I live on the other side of lake pippin this is the lake by towners woods. as a kid my father would walk us through the woods into the back of towners woods and there we would sled ridein the winter and wade in the lake in the summer this was a few years before it became a park and was developed. I have been all around those woods, from red brush rd. to brady lake rd. to lake Rockwell rd. day and night. no ghosts, maybe bigfoot and no tunnels. the tunnels I think they are talking about are the old rail road hub repair station/grain dispensary’s? behind old lam electric and gogglers factory’s further east from towners woods. the bike trail actually runs right beside/over it.


  3. L. Byers says:

    My sister, our best friend and I spent many a day hanging out at Towner’s Woods since we lived within walking distance. I remember Mr George Towner as well. He used to bring us coal in the winter for our furnace. I remember on one occasion my Mother, sister and I walking over to his house to pay for a coal delivery and inside his front room he had an extensive collection of arrowheads. He proudly showed them to us and said he had found them in various places on his property. He said there was an Indian Princess buried there and that she had been buried lying on her side with her head propped up so that she was looking out over the lake. I was probably between the ages of 4 – 6 at the time but his story made such an impression on me that I have always remembered it.

    As for tunnels? I have never heard anything like that about Towner’s Woods. We were there quite often, so I think we would have known about that if it were true. After looking around on the net, I see where people have said the tunnels are closer to Kent. I think that’s just people repeating misinformation.


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