The Hartman Rock Garden is a spectacular collection of art made by self-taught artist Ben Hartman. One man’s legacy has become a unique Ohio roadside attraction drawing thousands of visitors each year. Discover what makes the Hartman Rock Garden a great stop while visiting Springfield, Ohio.
Where is the Hartman Rock Garden
The Hartman Rock Garden is located at 1905 Russell Avenue, Springfield, OH 45506. Springfield, Ohio, is roughly an hour from Cincinnati or a half-hour from Dayton.
The garden is in the backyard of the Harman House in a subdivision. Free parking is located on the street as there is not a parking lot. The entrance to the garden is to the left of the house. There are signs to help guide visitors through the garden.
What Are The Hours Of Hartman Rock Garden
The Hartman Rock Garden is open 365 days a year, seven days a week from dawn to dusk.
The History Of The Hartman Rock Garden
The Hartman Rock Garden began when Harry George “Ben” Hartman was 48 years old. He was recently laid off from his job as a molder during the Great Depression and started constructing a cement fish pond in his backyard. The fish pond project sparked his passion for creating the incredible rock garden that exists today.
The entire garden was constructed from 1932-1944 using concrete, metal, stone, glass, wood, and whatever additional materials he could find. All of the structures have hand-crafted by Ben, with themes revolving around religion, history, and patriotism. Take a moment to appreciate the fine details such as Noah’s Ark and all the animals or the stepping stones with bible verses.
Ben went back to work in 1939, which slowed the growth of his garden. Then only five years later, Ben passed away from silicosis. For the next fifty-three years, his wife Mary maintained the garden until her passing in 1997. The garden then fell into disrepair until the Kohler Foundation purchased the property in 2008 and restored it to its former glory. In 2009 ownership was transferred to the Friends of the Hartman Rock Garden.
Visitors to the Hartman Rock Garden are free to come and go as they please. Keep in mind that the sidewalks are original and narrow. These narrow sidewalks can make it difficult for those using walkers or wheelchairs to see parts of the garden. A few rules apply to guests when they visit the garden.
- An adult must accompany all children.
- No smoking is allowed on the property.
- Please do not touch anything in the garden.
- Stay out of the flower beds.
- The shed and the house are not open to visitors.
- Please don’t throw coins in the fountain.
- Pets are not allowed in the garden.
Guided tours are available through appointment only. They do charge a small fee per person. Each guided tour includes a 45-minute guided tour, professionally printed tour booklets for every guest, access to the art pieces and molds in storage, and a brief demonstration of how Ben Hartman created his visionary art. To set up a tour, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ensure to bring a few dollars to place in the donate box to keep with this fantastic garden’s upkeep.
Kid Tours of the Rock Garden
Located onsite is a self-guided kids tour booklet. The tour has children searching for hidden symbols, art objects based on shape, sketching, and writing about what they have found. Guests can modify the booklet for young kids to older. The sculptures are tempting, so keep a close eye on younger children who may insist on playing with them.
Download Your Kid Tour Booklet!
Things To Do In Springfield, Ohio
The nearby town of Springfield, Ohio, is full of unique things to explore. Check out our post, Girlfriend Weekend Getaway Guide To Springfield, Ohio, for a complete list of places to visit and where to eat while visiting Springfield, Ohio.
Tour The Springfield Murals
Murals liven up the city as these beautiful public art pieces are ideal for photos. The Greetings From Springfield postcard mural is located right around the Champion City Guide and Supply Store.
Visit the Antique Mall In Springfield, Ohio
As the antique capital of the Midwest, Springfield is a hotbed full of vintage finds. The Heart of Ohio Antique Center is 116,000sq ft, featuring over 650 vendors and a plethora of fun finds.
Hike In The Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve
One of the most majestic hikes in Ohio is the Clifton Gorge Nature Preserve. Located just three miles east of Yellow Springs, Clifton Gorge features 268 acres of spectacular dolomite and limestone gorges. The rushing waters of the Little Miami River flow through narrow channels and cliff overhangs.
Le Torte Dolce
The first stop on any trip to Springfield needs to be to Le Torte Dolce. This Europen style bakery has an incredible selection of pastries, including their famous macaroons. It is next to Winans Chocolates and Coffees, which is the perfect spot to grab a cup of coffee afterward.