Adena Brook

Adena Brook begins behind Brookhaven High School and meanders its way to the Glenmont School and through Whetstone Park (Whetstone Library and the Park of Roses), where it empties into the Olentangy River (RM 6.00) Adena Brook is an intermittent stream and has been since area residents can remember. However, it used to sustain deep pools where schools of fish survived during periods of dry weather. Adena Brook has a drainage area of 3.5 square miles, is over 2 miles long and drops 69 feet per mile before reaching the Olentangy River. The Adena Brook ravine cuts through shale which has exposed numerous concretions along its path.


As Adena Brook heads west toward the Olentangy River it passes through Overbrook Drive which sits in a ravine that is lined with woods and wildlife. This is a popular spot for runners and walkers as it makes everyone feel like they are in the country. The last leg in its journey is Whetstone Park and Park of Roses. This is another location that offers recreational games and places for family picnics. The Olentangy Bike trail also passes through Whetstone Park which is another favorite trail in the Columbus area.


Adena Brook was once called Big Run (1895). Due to the commonality of the name “Big Run” and the local residents’ desire to recognize the historical importance of their creek, the Columbus City Council Members and Franklin County Commissioners passed resolutions to change the name to Adena Brook after the mound-building Indians who lived by the creek as early as 300 B.C. (1954). For more information about Adena Brook, visit the Adena Brook community group's Facebook page at

In the early 1960’s workmen conducting excavations for new streets unearthed an old Adena burial mound containing two skeletons and the remains of tools at what is now the corner of Yaronia and Wynding Drives. In the early 1800’s, President John Adams granted John Rathbone 4,000 acres of land in the Adena Brook watershed for services in the Revolutionary War. Congress authorized land grants on June 1, 1796. John Rathbone sold most of it off in parcels.

Water Quality

EPA water quality assessments are based on the Chemical, Physical, and Biological Integrity of the river. In 1999, Adena Brook was found to be non-attaining as a Warm Water Habitat. This tributary has had its flow altered in the past, and Sanitary Sewer Overflows contribute to its high bacteria counts and low dissolved oxygen. Sanitary Sewer Overflows flow into Adena Brook. Manholes at Pauline and Atwood Terrace; Northridge and Atwood Terrace; and east of Indianola Avenue. These discharges occur when sewer levels fill a manhole-type structure to a certain elevation and the structure overflows in order to relieve pressure on the sewer system. The Adena Brook watershed has a high concentration of impervious surfaces and an aging sewer system. FLOW would recommend the installation of rain gardens in the area to slow the flow of stormwater from impervious surfaces and possibly returning the stream to a more natural flow pattern.