GREAT COUNCIL STATE PARK
Great Council State Park in the Oldtown area of Xenia Township is scheduled to open in 2023.
The state of Ohio agreed to purchase a 0.7-acre site along U.S. Route 68, south of Brush Row Road, in Oldtown, north of Xenia, housing the Tecumseh Motel. The state planned to redevelop the property as a state park in honor of Tecumseh, the Shawnee leader who was killed in the War of 1812 and became an iconic folk hero in American, Indigenous, and Canadian history.
The park's location was chosen due to the Shawnee history in the area Oldtown is on the former site of the large Shawnee settlement commonly referred to as Old Chillicothe, which had a population of 1000 between 1777 and 1780, and Old Chillicothe's council house is believed to have been located on a high ridge behind the motel the park's location is also due to the earlier mistaken belief that Tecumseh had been born in Old Chillicothe. The park is to be developed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in coordination with the Ohio History Connection, the Eastern Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma, the Shawnee Tribe and the Absentee Shawnee, and run by ODNR.
In January 2022, it was reported that its design would be inspired by the traditional council house form used by the Shawnee it was also reported that ODNR hoped to secure more land for the park.
Ground was broken for the park on June 27, 2022. During the ceremony, it was announced that the interpretive center was now planned to be 12,000 sq ft and would include three floors of exhibits, a theater, a living stream, and a gallery. Displays will honor the history of the Shawnee people and allow present-day Shawnee to share their stories. Also highlighted will be historic settlers like Daniel Boone, who was held captive in Old Chillicothe for several months in 1778
Great Council State Park is located in Swanton, Ohio. It is a relatively small state park spread over 55 acres and is primarily known for its fishing opportunities.
The history of the park revolves around the Great Council of the Wyandot Native American tribe, which occupied the area in the past. The Wyandot were a prominent indigenous group in the Great Lakes region, and they had a council of chiefs and leaders called the Great Council. This council was influential in making important decisions regarding the tribe's governance, including matters related to land and community.
In the 19th century, as European settlers began to move into the area, the Wyandot were forced to cede their lands and relocate further west. However, their Great Council held significant historical and cultural value. In recognition of this, a small parcel of land in northwest Ohio was designated as a state park in 1950 and named Great Council State Park.
Over the years, the park has been primarily developed as a fishing spot due to its location on the Maumee River, which is renowned for its walleye and smallmouth bass population. Fishing enthusiasts can access the river's shoreline, providing ample opportunities for angling.
In recent years, the management of the park has undergone changes, and its name has been officially changed to the Mary Jane Thurston State Park. Despite this change, some locals still refer to it as Great Council State Park due to its historical significance. The park continues to be visited and enjoyed by locals and tourists alike, with its natural beauty and fishing opportunities being the main attractions.
Ohio does not have an annual pass and does not charge entrance fees to state parks.
Great Council State Park in Ohio offers various swimming options for visitors to enjoy. The park features a large swimming beach located on Huzzah River, where visitors can relax on the sandy shore or take a refreshing dip in the clear water. Additionally, the park boasts a swimming pool with lifeguards on duty, providing a safe and controlled environment for swimming. The pool is equipped with changing rooms and showers, making it convenient for visitors to freshen up before and after their swim. Whether you prefer a natural beach or a pool setting, Great Council State Park has swimming options to suit your preferences. So, grab your swimwear and head over to the park to enjoy a day of fun in the water.