We asked readers to submit some of their Northeast Indiana "hidden gems" they enjoy showing off to visiting family and friends, but "a gravel pit behind Elmhurst High School," wasn’t exactly the sort of oasis one would expect to pop up in their email inbox.
But reader Jean Podzielinski said the gravel pit was actually fascinating. "There is ample parking and the view from the overlook is breathtaking," Podzielinski said in an email.
Turns out the "gravel pit," is actually the Hanson Aggregrates quarry on Ardmore Avenue. It is one of the few quarries that actually offer the public a chance to see crews mine limestone and produce sand and gravel from an observation deck, plant manager Brett Pepple said. He said the observation deck was installed in 1966 and it continues to draw in 1,000 school groups for field trips, but depending on the weather, there are probably 10 to 20 visitors who visit the observation deck daily.
Pepple believes that people are drawn to the landscape, which features a man-made mountain created from the glacier till that once laid on top of the limestone. It’s also fascinating for the viewers to actually "look down in to the earth, so to speak," Pepple said.
"There’s a lot of folks who are totally unaware of our existence here. I know that just simply based on some of the folks I’ll encounter up there (on the observation deck), who say, ‘Man, I never knew this was here.’ That’s always interesting to me."
Find out more about the locales you may have been missing:
Note: Responses have been edited.
Hanson Aggregates Mideast – Ardmore Quarry
Location: 6100 Ardmore Ave.
Reader Jean Podzielinski: "I have always been fascinated by the gravel pit off of Sand Point Road behind Elmhurst High School and have taken many visitors there. There is ample parking and the view from the overlook is breathtaking. We have been in Fort Wayne over 42 years, and the changes in the pit have been very interesting."
For more information: 747-3105. Open from daylight to dusk. Admission is free.
Location: 9214 Lost Bridge Road W., Andrews
Reader Diana Foster: "Our special place is Salamonie Reservoir back by the campground. Instead of left, go right. There is a fantastic stone pavilion nestled back in the trees. We have been going there for Memorial Day for over 40 years. … Quite a few of (the kids) have never been to an area like this before, so it’s a real treat for them. It’s a beautiful place to just relax and talk or go hiking, walking, fishing and pigging out! Everything tastes better outside!"
For more information: www.in.gov/dnr or 468-2125. $7 in-state daily entrance, $9 out-of-state daily entrance, $2 fee for pedestrians, cyclists or horseback and $5 daily horse permit. Office is open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Sunday
Collins Schoolhouse Museum
Location: On Indiana 120, four miles west of outlet malls in Fremont; across from 3750 W. Indiana 120, Fremont
Family member Sharidee Collins: "My family has an old one-room schoolhouse museum built in 1876. We are 4 miles west of the outlet malls on 120 in Fremont. … We are also on the National Register of Historic places (since 2002). Families love to stop and tour the school, we have a lot to see, school desks, lunch pails, books, maps, class pictures. It’s like taking a step back in time. No running water, pump or electric. Outhouse is our restroom. It’s our family gem."
For more information: 667-7216. 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday from June through August. Admission is free, donations accepted.
Luckey Hospital Museum
Location: At Indiana 109 and U.S. 33, Wolf Lake
Beverly Huntsman, secretary of Luckey Hospital Museum’s board of directors: "Ever wonder what a working hospital looked like 70 years ago? The Luckey Hospital is a hidden gem built in 1929 by Dr. James E. Luckey and closed in 1957. … "This museum exhibits a restored surgery, delivery, emergency, pharmacy and patient room. A working iron lung, a large collection of nurses uniforms and caps and medical equipment are also on display."
For more information: www.luckeyhospitalmuseum.org or 635-2490. Hospital museum is open for walk-in tours 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday through Labor Day weekend. Admission is $5 adults, $3 children; group tours can be arranged.
The Wyneken House
Description: Pre-Civil War home of Pastor Friedrich Conrad Dietrich Wyneken, a German immigrant and one of the Indiana’s religious pioneers).
Location: 11730 N.W. Winchester Road, Decatur
Pendy Selking, Friends of Wyneken: "The Wyneken House is still a work in progress. We’ve been doing tours for the last three years. … People can stop by for a short tour, or have lunch and a longer tour with Pastor Wyneken for a small donation."