Explore Mount Vernon's Ariel-Foundation Park.

It’s hard to describe Mount Vernon’s Ariel-Foundation Park. It’s a reclamation project. It’s an artistic achievement. It’s a place for gathering, recreation and quiet reflection. Mostly, though, it’s a treasure—a one-of-a-kind community asset that includes lush landscaping, fish-filled lakes, whimsical factory ruins and much more.

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Located just south of downtown Mount Vernon, the 250-acre park consists of reclaimed industrial land that once was the home of a sand and gravel company and the largest plate-glass factory in the world. On the south end of the property, you’ll find the park’s most striking features, which pay homage to the site’s industrial history and include several ruins of the former Pittsburgh Plate Glass Works No. 11, which employed more than 1,000 at its peak before closing in 1976. There, you can climb the Observation Tower (a former factory smokestack and the tallest structure in Knox County), admire the River of Glass (which consists of chunks of greenish-blue glass that appear to flow down landscaped, and walk through what’s left of the Coxey Building (a steel-casting factory built by Jacob Coxey in 1900 that became part of the glass plant).

But don't just view the park as a history lesson. Just north of the ruins, separated by a patch of woods, is a more pastoral area where locals come to fish, paddle, picnic and enjoy the natural splendor. You can easily spend a full day in this unique attraction, both learning about its past and appreciating its extraordinary transformation.