Mt. Oberlin stands no more as Lorain’s highest point
Google “Mt. Oberlin” and you will learn about an 8180 foot high mountain in Glacier National Park, Montana. Oberlin College professor Dr. Lyman B. Sperry, the “Gentleman Explorer,” named the peak after Oberlin College in 1896.
Oberlin College’s own Mt. Oberlin, the mound of grass rising above the north athletic fields, is less auspicious. Ask anyone outside of the College about it, and you’ll likely receive a blank stare. The smaller Mt. Oberlin, however, still did have one claim to fame. Until the local landfill recently surpassed it in height, Mt. Oberlin was thought to have the highest elevation in Lorain County.
When Mt. Oberlin was created in 1930 as a by-product of Crane Swimming Pool, College President Ernest Wilkins described it as “the highest point in town,” adding that he hoped it would be used for “tobogganing and ski jumping.” The Review could not find Mt. Oberlin’s exact height, but Dennis Grieve, college grounds manager, estimates that it is about 45 feet high. Since Oberlin’s elevation is 801 feet, Mt. Oberlin stands approximately 846 feet above sea level.
However, the Lorain County BFI Landfill in New Russia Township is growing. Now standing 886 feet above sea level, it has surpassed Mt. Oberlin.
Some students have already reacted to the change. College first-year David Pratt, who ran for student senate, wrote in his candidate’s statement:
“Every day, the growth of our local landfill continues to outpace that of Mt. Oberlin, and the administration has done nothing. All we have to do is deepen our swimming pools, add the dirt to Mt. Oberlin, recycle even harder, and together, we can beat the landfill.”
Pratt told the Review later that, unfortunately, he would not have seriously contemplated making Mt. Oberlin bigger as a senator.
“It would be cool,” he said, “but there are probably more pressing issues. ”
However, Pratt added that such a project would make an interesting Winter Term.
Although Mt. Oberlin is no longer the highest point in the county, many students still use it for sledding in the winter and other forms of recreation.
Students upset by the loss of Mt. Oberlin’s stature may find comfort in
the larger Mount Oberlin. For now the local landfill still has a lot of growing
to do before it will surpass 8,180 feet.