The Blue Hole of Castalia

We zig, we zag, almost like a hypertext link on your browser, from the no longer extant Kinsman Inn to one of the most curious public attractions (also gone, gone, gone) known to mankind. I'm sorry, but anyone under 21 would never have heard of (or seen) the very unusual and bizarre tourist attraction called the Blue Hole of Castalia, Ohio. Well, what was it???

Eons ago, a spring bubbled up to the surface creating a pond. The water was so clear, you could see to the bottom. The story was, however, that the Blue Hole simply did not have a bottom. All the gases in the water (oxygen, carbon dioxide, cheap perfume) disappeared down at some level, perhaps a zillion jillion miles under ground, creating a curious mirror effect. The center of the Blue Hole was a patch of sky blue that was almost luminous even on a grey day (that is, 6 days out of seven in this region). The legend, in the form of scientific prose, went on further to explain that the reflection of the atmosphere's color would always be as blue as the unobscured sky because there was so much blue compared to a relatively thin layer of clouds that a little grey wouldn't spoil anything.

Now as a kid, you swallowed the story hook-line-and sinker. Your parents took you there and you made a science fair project out of it, and went on in your adult life to win the Nobel Prize based upon what you learned there. Oh, and there was a souvenir stand there the size of a football field, I suppose to fund preservation of nature's little miracle. A miracle, that as an adult, you would swear was created by a diver with a can of aqua paint!

That was it, souvenir stand, pond (about 50 feet in diameter) and in later years, the owner opened up an "official fish hatchery" to surround the really nice picnic grounds there. After you saw the hole (the admission price was always rather steep for its day), you could put a quarter in a bubble-gum dispenser and obtain a handful of fish food which you could strew into the hatching streams. The hungry fish would leap out of the water to catch each morsel of the brown, smelly pellets. This, ladies and gentlemen of the new age, was considered the nec plus ultra of childhood living here if you were born before a certain year!!!!!

Here the throngs of the '30s stood agape at the magnificence and majesty of the Earth Mother, who would open her Blue Eye to the gaze of anybody with the requisite entry fee to the park. "That hole must go down to China", everybody would say, and personally think, "who the heck dived down there and painted those darn rocks, anyhow". To recover from the experience of peering into the earth's bowels, a nice set of grounds connected with boardwalks provided a verdant retreat... apostles of the earth's greatest mystery recovering from the sight of the infinite, a spring without end and without bottom. Or was that a canny property owner with a surplus of aqua paint, a few idle acres, and an excellent imagination. It's gone we'll never know which!

If you are still with me, I can reveal to you EXACTLY what happened to the Blue Hole. Through the most unusual wife bought cosmetics from a Mary Kay lady who was present at the Sawmill Creek resort one Easter a few years back. The Mary Kay lady was the wife of a Castalia City Council member. The owner of the Blue Hole (just a private owner, not a scientist or anything) went belly-up in the mid-1980s. The city considered briefly taking over the park and re-opening it. However, the realities of the economy deemed that they merely close it. The entrance road was closed, and the big sign over the park entrance removed.

If you go to Castalia, Ohio, today, look for a bare patch of land just north of downtown, behind the buildings. Reminds you of a drive-in that closed, just a patch of bare land that seems like something ought to be there.

Life so rarely offers a mystery, an explanation, and a resolution quite like the Blue Hole. However in my mind, Northern Ohio contains a wonder of nature So Curious, So Incredible, and So Unknown so as not to be in most people's ken by any means.

Click here to see the greatest UNSUNG wonder of Northern Ohio

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