The OES visited the I-71 Rest Area on August 1, 2004. The abandoned rest area is in far southern Franklin County along Interstate 71 south. We noticed a gravel path as we drove down I-71 one day and wondered where it led. Upon our visit, we found old cement curbs, a sewer grate, asphalt pavement, and numerous animal remains. We were not exactly sure what this area was until we found a topographical map that labeled it as a rest area. The rest area appeared to still be in use as late as the early 1980s. The map also showed another rest area on the northbound side of the interstate. It seemed that the rest areas were abandoned long ago when we visited the location, although we were not sure how long ago. Thanks to website visitor Jeff R., we now have an answer. Governor Dick Celeste closed many of the state’s outdated rest areas, many with no running water, in favor of newer modern facilities. Some of the rest areas, including this one, were never reopened due to the expense of constructing and maintaining the new facilities.
However, another website visitor, Mark Finster, had previously sent in a different explanation as to why the rest area was abandoned. Mark stated that he grew up nearby and remembered when the rest areas were still in operation. Mark recalled that a girl had been raped and beaten to death at one of the rest areas there, although he couldn’t recall if it was the southbound or northbound side. A couple of other girls were found raped and murdered at various other rest areas, including the scenic view rest area near the bridge over the Little Miami in Warren County. Mark cited this as a reason why several secluded rest areas, including this one, were closed and destroyed.
Location Information: Abandoned
The rest area is along Interstate 71 about one mile south of the Orient exit near Harrisburg; Franklin County.