Tribal site to golf course and back again, if the price is right

An Ohio historical society is very close to regaining an ancient ceremonial and burial site vital to the Hopewell Earthworks cuture. Just last year, the grounds in Newark, Ohio, were named a World Heritage Site. But the price offered to the golf course owners for $2 million? Insufficient. Now a jury has to determine a price for the roughly 2,000 year-old monument, resting place, astrological site and religious structure. How will the jury determine the cost of something priceless?

Native Americans constructed the earthworks, including eight long earthen walls, that correspond to lunar movements and align with points where the moon rises and sets over the 18.6-year lunar cycle.

As it stands right now, the country club maintains the mounds. Golfers take their spoiled good walks around the mouds and pay them no mind.

A county judge ruled in 2019 that the historical society can reclaim the lease via eminent domain.

The club challenged the attempt to take the property, saying the Ohio History Connection did not make a good faith offer to purchase the property as required by state law. The country club says it has provided proper upkeep of the mound and allowed public access over the years.

The club suffered another legal blow when the trial court disallowed evidence it had hoped to present regarding the land's value. The club appealed that decision to the state Supreme Court, which declined jurisdiction


Tribal burial sites turned golf courses are nothing new. in 2021, efforts were made to reclaim a site with an exceptionally grim history in North Dakota. It's still a golf course.