This Ohio Golf Course, Built Atop a Hopewell Earthwork, Is Now the Subject of a Lawsuit

A legal battle brews over access to some of the world’s largest human-made structures of their kind

About 2,000 years ago, indigenous people who were part of the Hopewell culture built a series of huge earthen structures in stunningly precise shapes. Some of the most celebrated of these works once spanned four-and-a-half-square miles in central Ohio. But the famous Octagon feature is now home to a private golf course, Moundbuilders Country Club, and largely inaccessible to the public. Ohio History Connection (OHC), a nonprofit that has owned the full site since 1933, asserts eminent domain in a lawsuit to buy back the club’s lease, which would hold another 57 years. The club disputes OHC’s right to break the contract. In January 2020, a state appeals court ruled for OHC; the case is headed to the Ohio Supreme Court.

If you're reading this piece using Apple News+, click here to view an interactive map of the sought-after site of the Octagon.

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