Old Man’s Cave

Old Man’s Cave is located inside Hocking Hills State Park which is located outside of Logan, Ohio. Many consider it to be one of Ohio’s most popular natural attractions.
Old Man’s Cave is situated in a gorge Black Hand Sandstone. Over thousands of years erosion—largely caused by glaciation and Salt Creek, which runs through the gorge—has resulted in the creation of the cave. Sandstone is extremely porous and therefor much more prone to erosion than other kinds of stone.

While the cave itself is fairly small the gorge is about half a mile long and reaches a depth of 150 feet at its deepest point. Notable plant life that favors the gorge are hemlock, black birch and Canadian yew.

Legend tells us that a Richard Rowe lived, at least shortly, in the cave in 1796. He came to Ohio with his family from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee. Eventually he settled in Hocking Hills. He is also supposedly buried in the cave. This is where the name Old Man’s Cave comes from.

Archaeological evidence exists that demonstrates various peoples occupied Old Man’s Cave long before Rowe.

Archaeologists have documented that Indigenous Americans visited the region perhaps as long ago as seven thousand years. The Lenape, Shawnee and Wyandot all occupied the region throughout the 1600s and 1700s.

Rowe probably wasn’t even the first European to visit the cave. Two brothers, Nathaniel and Pat Rayon came to the area in 1795 and built a cabin near the cave. Supposedly they are either buried in or around the cave.

The State of Ohio purchased 146 acres of land in Hocking Hills in 1924. The purchase included Old Man’s Cave. The Ohio Department of Forestry were the first to own and operate the cave. In 1949 the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Division of Parks assumed operation of Old Man’s Cave.


Famous Ohioans: Asa Mahan

Asa Mahan, famous Ohioan, is best known as the first President of Ohio’s prestigious Oberlin College, an educator and a reformer. He was born 9 November 1800 in Vernon, NY. As a child he was devoted to Christianity and graduated from Hamilton College in 1824, then Theological Seminary in 1827. In 1829 he was ordained in as a Presbyterian. He ministered at the Sixth Presbyterian Church of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Here he became committed to abolitionism. As a member of the board to Lane Theological Seminary he opposed the Seminary’s rule not allowing students to discuss slavery. Because of this Mahan and others left the Seminary and went to Oberlin College. Oberlin College founder John Shipherd asked Mahan to be the college’s first president. Mahan agreed only after Shipherd agreed to allow students and faculty full freedom of speech to admit African American students.

However, Mahan’s greatest challenge as Oberlin College President was the lack of money. Shipherd and Mahan asked New York merchants Arthur and Lewis Tappan for financial support. The two merchants agreed.

Mahan also dedicated himself as president in encouraging students to support emancipation of African Americans as well as giving African Americans and women the same rights as white men. He also espoused Christian like values, imploring students and faculty not to be distracted by earthly distractions.

Because of his views and practices the faculty asked him to change his ways in 1850. Mahan chose to resign.

Mahan along with several faculty and students established Cleveland University in 1850. Because of a lack of students and money the university failed. He would go on to minister again in Jackson, MI and then joined the faculty of Adrian College (MI) where we eventually served as president to the college. He left the position in 1871 and move to Great Britain.

Asa Mahan died in Eastbourne, England on 4 April 1889.


The Native Ohio Drum (Fish)

The freshwater drum, one of Ohio’s native fish, is silver and gray on its sides, with a white belly underneath. They have a downward pointing mouth. They’ve large eyes, high back and long dorsal fin with twenty-four to thirty-two rays, and a rounded caudal fin. They feature a reinforced skull and special ear bones called otoliths. They are round and large with an L on one of the flat sides.

These bones can be found at waters edge and some consider them good luck stones that also prevent sickness. The drum is sometimes confused with the carp. However, carp have deeply forked tails and barbels.

The native Ohio drum prefers deeper pools of rivers and in Lake Erie. This provides clear water and clean bottoms. They spawn all the way from April to the late summer. Female drum produce an amazing 100,000 to 500,000 eggs. The eggs float on the surface and hatch in a single day. The fry are left to their own devices to survive.

Ohio drums get about 12 to 30 inches long and rarely exceed 20lbs. They are found in larger rivers and Lake Erie. Adults eat snails, mollusks, crayfish, insects and small fish.
Adult freshwater drums reach an average body length of twelve to thirty inches. In Lake Erie they will rarely get over twenty pounds. They may be larger in rivers. Adults feed on snails, mollusks, crayfish, aquatic insects, and small fishes.

The record drum was caught in 2001 in the Sandusky river. It was 37 1/8th inches. It weighed 23 and ½ lbs.


The Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College

Ohio created the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College in 1870. Then governor Rutherford B. Hayes appointed its first board of trustees and construction began on the college’s first building, seated in northern Columbus. The US government had passed, in 1862, the Morrill Act which gave states 30,000 acres that had not seceded during the Civil War for the purpose of building colleges.

These colleges would teach science, classical studies, military tactics but also agriculture and mechanical arts.

The Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College opened on 17 September 1873. It was located on Neil farm, just a few miles north of the Columbus city limits. The Columbus are was chosen for its central location in the state and was accessible to most with the advent of the canals and railroads. It was also far enough away from the city to help discourage students being distracted by bars and gambling establishments. There was also a spring on campus providing water.

Even though the institution touted itself as agricultural and mechanical the first faculty and students placed its focus on liberal arts education. This was frustrating for the Ohio State Board of Agriculture. Some trustees favored this broad approach while others wanted a narrow approach on new agricultural techniques.

However, in the end, this broad approach won out. This led to a name change in 1878 to Ohio State University to reflect the broad, liberal education approach of the school.

Lillian Gish

The First Lady of American Cinema, Lillian Diana Gish, was born in Springfield, Ohio in 1893. Gish is has been called “The First Lady of American Cinema” since many consider her to be the first female celebrity of silent fill. Her website states, “Not only was Lillian Gish born in the right era, but she was also born with the ethereal beauty and grace to make her a star in the silent film industry.”

Gish starred in on of the top-grossing films of the silent-era and one of the most important early American films, Birth of a Nation directed by D.W. Griffith. Gish would have a long professional relationship with Griffith and some whispered of a romantic connection, though Gish never married or had children. After these rumors began to circulate Gish forever after referred to him as Mr. Griffith.

Gish and her family were involved in theater and acting early on, Lilian and sister Dorothy helped their mother run the Majestic Candy Kitchen—the girls would help sell popcorn and candy to patrons of the next door Majestic Theater. Both girls acted in school plays.

Though Gish didn’t appear in many sound-era films, but included well known roles such as the controversial Duel in the Sun and Night of the Hunter. Between 1950 and 1980 she did a lot of television work. Finally she closed out her career in 1987 opposite Bette Davis in The Whales of August.

Gish’s career spanned an impressive 75 years from 1912-1987, a career filled with more amazing roles than one actress could hope for and earning her the well deserved title: The First Lady of Cinema.