When I was a kid in Ohio, I remember on at least two occasions going with my family and grandparents to a place called the Blue Hole near Sandusky. What I recall is a pond that seemed infinitely deep with water that was crystal clear and an unusual brilliant blue. There was something unique about it that had turned this spot into a popular tourist attraction.
I’d forgotten all about this place until yesterday, when I received an email containing a number of photos of unusually large holes, man-made and otherwise. One was a blue hole near Belize (left), which triggered this memory here of the Blue Hole in Castalia, Ohio. According to the Sandusky Register, “The natural springs were so prominent in the area that in 1836 the village was named for the Fons Castalius Fountain near Delphi, Greece.”
A quick Google search uncovered some interesting facts about this blue pond. It’s actually a giant spring, fed by subterranean waters that flow upward through deep limestone orifices, disgorging more than 7500 gallons of water per minute, or enough to supply a city of 75,000.
Supposedly divers have never reached the bottom of this Blue Hole, although this could be a myth to have made the spring more mysterious. I can imagine that I may have wondered if one could reach China through this waterway into the depths of the earth.
An interesting feature of the spring is that its waters contain no oxygen, thus it is unable to sustain life. In order for the stream it feeds to support trout and other aquatic creatures, it is aerated by waterwheels.
What I remember most about this blue hole was its depth and its stillness. It gave no hint that water was gushing from this hole. Rather, it seemed little more than an unusually blue pond that calmed you with its pleasingly placid restfulness. And the adults who came to see it were fascinated enough to go out of their way to be here. Castalia is not your typical waystop on the main drag.
Evidently the tourist traffic was not financially viable enough to cover the costs of making the Blue Hole wheelchair accessible. Thus, in 1990 or so they had to shut it down. Perhaps interest lagged because the culture has changed. Instead of natural wonders like the Badlands and Blue Holes, modern families prefer amusement park rides, water slides and megamalls. Maybe it’s just a cycle our culture is going through. Perhaps one day our children’s children will get bored with virtual gaming, online shopping and blogging… and will watch sunrises, enjoy estuaries, catch frogs, grasshoppers and lightning bugs, and discover anew the constellations that shimmer in the night sky.
"Open your eyes."