What Happened to Mariemont’s Lagoon?

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the dried lagoon?

Let’s get one thing straight: there are no boats in the Mariemont boathouse. Mostly because there’s no water, either. Even if you wanted to take your canoe out on “The Lagoon,” you’d have a rather dry excursion over a carpet of clover and dandelions. But in its heyday, from the late 1920s through World War II, the spot was a favorite of local kids, who could take their rowboats out to “Treasure Island,” a manmade destination in the middle of the also-manmade lagoon. In case you weren’t aware, everything in Mariemont, from the towering carillon all the way down to the swans in the lagoon, was meticulously planned. Mariemont was meant to mirror the romantic garden cities of England. And what could be more romantic than rowing across a shaded lagoon, even if the swans have to be shipped in? The structure fell into disrepair after the water was drained by the village in the ’40s. In the ’60s, Boy Scout Troop 149 turned it into a meeting space. And it worked—at least for a while. Long-term restoration plans were hampered by a hundred-year storm. Today, Mariemont has made a sort of peace with the boathouse and its low-lying location off Wooster Pike, keeping the structure and its outdoor gathering space maintained while letting nature do its thing.

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