History


The hollows and caves of the park complex have long attracted the people of Ohio. Evidence of the ancient Adena culture illustrates man first inhabited the recesses more than 7,000 years ago. In the mid 1700s several Indian tribes traveled through or lived here including the Wyandot, Delaware and Shawnee. Their name for the river from which the park gets its name was Hockhocking or "bottle river." The name comes from the bottle-shaped valley of the Hocking River whose formation is due to its one-time blockage by glacial ice.

After the Greenville Treaty of 1795, numerous white settlers moved into the region and Hocking County was organized in 1818. The area around the parks began to develop in 1835 when a powder mill was built near Rock House and a grist mill was constructed at Cedar Falls. The cave areas were well known as scenic attractions by 1870. In 1924, the first land purchase by the state was made to preserve the scenic features. This first parcel of 146 acres included Old Man's Cave. Subsequent purchases added acreage while the areas existed under the Department of Forestry as State Forest Parks. The Department of Natural Resources was created in 1949 and the new Division of Parks assumed control of the Hocking Hills State Park complex, which today includes six park areas. A dining lodge and cottages were opened in 1972. These cottages, together with a campground, provide overnight facilities in one of the most beautiful areas of Ohio.



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