An Oasis in an Urban Setting

All, Great Parks History

Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve boasts the nickname “The Oasis.” This nickname dates back to 1972, when Mr. and Mrs. Alfred J. Werner donated the land to Great Parks of Hamilton County. The history of this small-yet-mighty park starts long before then.

Before there was even the idea of county parks, the future home of Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve belonged to Aaron Stout. Stout was gifted the property in 1816 as a Revolutionary War grant for his military service to the United States.

A sunny fall day shows off the red Ellenwood Nature Barn at Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve. Trees with orange leaves surround the barn. Leaves also are smattered across the ground.
Ellenwood Nature Barn is a sight to see in fall.

In 1835, David Williamson acquired the land from the Stout family. Williamson’s grandfather served in Stout’s company during the Revolutionary War. A toolmaker, Williamson built his family’s home and barn here, both of which still stand today. You may know them by different names: The small white house is now Nature’s Niche Gift & Books and the family barn is Ellenwood Nature Barn, where most community events at Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve take place.

The Williamson family lived here until David’s death, when the property passed hands a number of times.

A white house is surrounded by a bright green garden and lush green trees on a sunny summer day.
Nature’s Niche Gift & Books as seen today.

Fast forward a few decades, and eventually the property was acquired by Oliver and Ada Farbach. It was the Farbachs who gave Ellenwood Nature Barn its name. The Farbachs, particularly Ada, always treated the land as a park even while they lived here. From picnics to dances in the barn to Halloween parties, Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve has always been a community gathering place.

“We try to honor that still,” says Suzanne Roth, Great Parks regional education manager based out of Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve. With a nature education event going on just about every week of the year, community is always prevalent here, particularly in February.

Watching sap being boiled is a guest favorite at Maple Sugar Days.

Farbach-Werner Nature Preserve hosts the sweetest event every winter, Maple Sugar Days. Maple Sugar Days started circa 1981 as the Maple Syrup Festival. Over the last three (now almost four!) decades, this fun, weekendlong event has kept to its roots, but has different crafts and games each year.

Did you know?

Maple sugaring requires some quite specific factors for everything to be perfect. The main requirements: the right temperatures – freezing and thawing – and plenty of maple trees. “Sugar maples are the best. They produce up to 4% sugar,” says Suzanne Roth. Tapping maple trees also has a narrow timeframe, anywhere from two to eight weeks in Hamilton County, it just depends when spring hits.

This year, Maple Sugar Days takes place Saturday, February 22 and Sunday, February 23, noon–4 p.m. Stop in to see sap being boiled, taste delectable treats like freshly made maple cotton candy, learn the history of this tradition and more!

A sensory friendly hour will take place at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

Stay tuned each month for a post about Great Parks’ history as we celebrate our 90th birthday in 2020! Join in on the celebration by sharing your favorite park memories with us via email or on social media using the hashtag #GreatParks90th.
(P.S. – Don’t worry; we’ll delve more into the Werners next time!)

Caroline Wiita, Content Marketing Coordinator