From Trash to Treasure: Mount Vernon's Ariel-Foundation Park

The small town transformed its industrial collapse into a triumph worthy of visitation.

Kevin J. Elliott

Situated in Knox County approximately 50 miles northeast of Columbus, Mount Vernon has everything one could want in the typical Ohio downtown. 

There’s a perfect independent bookstore, an adjacent coffee shop, a town center with monuments, a great little hotel, a leather shop that has been there since the 1880s, reputable art galleries, a couple of pizza shops, a diner and an incredible, newly installed Fountain of Dogs that you must see to believe. 

But there’s also the sense of a small town life left behind. Like many similarly sized Ohio towns, you will see defunct storefronts and empty factories, as well as a huge, historic bank that harkens back to a time when Mount Vernon was a power of industry. The town was founded on railroads, natural gas and most of all sheet glass. None of these survived. 

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