Small pioneer cemetery that is now a State Nature Preserve
“Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.” ― Franklin D. Roosevelt
Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve was a surprising little find. It is an old pioneer cemetery. In 1834, it was gifted to Darby Township by Samuel Smith Jr. 148 years later it was dedicated as a nature preserve. It is now managed by the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.
You Can’t Always Trust Your First Impression
When you first pull up to Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve, you may be unimpressed. It is surrounded by flat farmland and there isn’t any good parking. You have to walk back a short path to get to the fenced-in cemetery. But once you get to the smallest nature preserve in Ohio, you will be surrounded by history.
The historical tombstones date back to the early 1800s. Some are rather intricate and give you a glimpse into the pioneers’ lives. The cemetery is not cut back. The original prairie grasses and wildflowers are permitted to grow freely. Narrow trails are cut through the vegetation. These trails wind through the headstones.
Wildlife and Wildflowers
We visited Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve in March of last year. So, we did not have the pleasure of seeing the prairie flowers in bloom. But, we were able to see all the tombstones that are often hidden during the spring and summer months.
When the wildflowers are in bloom, I bet there are countless butterflies. And when there are butterflies there are caterpillars. One of the most interesting Ohio insects.
It might seem like a strange place for birding, but even during the drab month of March, there were a lot of birds. We even saw a rabbit.
Birds we spotted at Smith Cemetery Nature Preserve
Taking everything into consideration, we would visit Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve again. It is only .6 acres and has approximately ½ mile of trails, but it is definitely worth the stop. It might sound creepy, but is a very interesting place that is full of history.
What You Can Expect at Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve
Please note that park rules and regulations can change at any time. The following information was in effect for Smith Cemetery State Nature Preserve as of March 2019.
NO Pets Allowed
Natural trail that is rough and has vines and vegetation.
Some shade thanks to the trees along the edge of the fence.
Birding should be good. There are plenty of insects available when the wildflowers are in bloom.
There is no seating available.
Parking? What parking? There is a sign that states you are to park along the road.
Special Features - Historical tombstones and natural prairie grass and wildflowers.