MOUNT VERNON — Semiretirement is a time of life when, with a little luck, wants begin to trump needs. For Aaron Keirns, it means devoting more time to historical research, photography and writing. Specifically, he has not just the inclination, but the time to document the evolution of Ariel-Foundation Park in book form.
Keirns recently agreed with The Ariel-Foundation Park Conservancy to begin work on an illustrated history of the unique 175-acre site, part of which was occupied until the late 1960s by a massive PPG glassworks. He has published several books in the past on topics as diverse as the USS Shenandoah airship disaster of 1925 and Licking County’s natural wonder, Black Hand Gorge.
“This project is particularly fascinating to me because it involves both history and nature, two of my favorite subjects,” Keirns said. “The scale is huge. It’s something you would only expect to see in larger cities.”
Keirns’ unnamed book project means a welcome renewal of teamwork with Ted Schnormeier. They worked together for 12 years at Jen-Weld, where Keirns was advertising manager. Now they will coordinate their volunteer duties as Keirns captures a living history of an obsolete industrial site while it is being transformed into a creative expanse of greenspace under Schnormeier’s guiding hand.
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