School board learns about plans for Ebbert Spring Heritage Park

Shawn Hardy

The Greencastle-Antrim School Board was briefed last week about work to turn part of the region’s past into an educational tool of the future.

Andy Stout, eastern regional director of the Archaeology Conservancy, reviewed plans for the 12-acre Ebbert Spring Archaeological Preserve and Heritage Park, off U.S. 11 south of Greencastle.

The conservancy expects to close on the purchase of 5 acres, including the limestone home built by William Allison, father of Greencastle’s founder John Allison, this summer. That will be combined with acreage donated by Atapco, developer of the Antrim Commons Business Park.

The site encompasses some 10,000 years of history, according to Stout. Stakeholders, including representatives of Antrim Township, the school district and local history organizations, held their kickoff meeting last month.

The goal is to have the heritage park open by the next Old Home Week in 2019, according to Stout, a Greencastle native.

“We acquire America’s most important archaeological sites and preserve them,” said Stout, who has worked with the conservancy for 12 years.

He explained there is evidence the spring was visited by Native Americans up to 10,000 years ago and he believes it is the location of a French and Indian War fort, in addition to its connection to Greencastle’s founders.

One aspect of the heritage park will be as a tool for local teachers, with trails and information kiosks.

The goal is for a teacher to take a school group and go through all prehistory and history with one visit via the kiosks, according to Stout, who said, “We want to make sure the language on the kiosks is keyed to lesson plans.”

School board member Eric Holtzman asked Stout to continue to work with the district’s administrative team to see how the site can fit in the curriculum.

“It so much more interesting for kids to see something that happened here, not just read about it,” said school board member Linda Farley.