“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near South Bloomingville in Hocking County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Ash Cave

— Hocking Hills State Park & Forest —

Ash Cave Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, September 4, 2014
1. Ash Cave Marker
Inscription.  Ash Cave, Ohio's largest stone recess, stretches 700 feet across and rises 90 feet high.

The rock shelter was created when ground water percolating through the sandstone eroded away the formation's weaker middle layer, undercutting the resistant top layer which forms the ceiling of the "cave." The water dissolves away the cement which holds individual grains of sand together. Seasonal freezing and thawing causes expansion and contraction which further loosen the particles and on rare occasion, blocks of stone, until they break off. The falls also contributes to the slow erosive process.

Archeological excavation of the site in 1877 yielded sticks, arrows, stalks of coarse grasses, flint artifacts, pottery fragments, corn cobs, and the bones of a variety of animals. From subsequent excavations, we know the native habitants once hunted elk and black bear in addition to deer, turkey, squirrel, rabbit, and duck. Once the home of the Wyandots, by the 1790's, settlers were moving into the area and began clearing the land for farming. Area streams powered gristmills and saltpeter used in the manufacture of gunpowder was mined by
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early settlers. By 1990, the last remaining relics of virgin forest existed only in the secret hollows and steepest cliffs where they were safe from the woodsman's axe and the farmer's plow.

The cool, damp gorges also preserved a trove of treasure from Ohio's geologic past, mimicking the climate that existed here thousands of years ago when glaciers imported the eastern hemlock, Canada yew, mountain laurel and other flora and fauna of more northern climes into the region.

Recognized for its excellent acoustics, including a "whispering gallery", Ash Cave became the site for a variety of public meetings and gatherings in the 1800s. As late as 1886, the floor of the shelter was still covered with ashes, causing speculation that early settlers manufactured gunpowder here. Excavated artifacts suggest that the ashes were the accumulated remains of countless campfires used by the Native Americans who inhabited the shelter for untold centuries. Regardless of the actual cause, or causes, this striking geologic feature, Ash Cave, took its name from those ashes, the certain source of which will likely forever remain a mystery.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Native AmericansNatural FeaturesParks & Recreational AreasSettlements & Settlers.
Location. 39° 
Ash Cave Marker (<i>wide view</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, September 4, 2014
2. Ash Cave Marker (wide view)
23.92′ N, 82° 32.706′ W. Marker is near South Bloomingville, Ohio, in Hocking County. Marker can be reached from Ohio Route 56, 0.3 miles east of Ohio Route 374, on the right when traveling east. Marker is located within Hocking Hills State Park, along the Ash Cave Trail, near Ash Cave. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: South Bloomingville OH 43152, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Ash Cave Trail (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cedar Falls Bent Bridge (approx. 1.7 miles away); Cedar Falls (approx. 1.8 miles away); Whispering Cave (approx. 1.8 miles away); Old Man’s Cave (approx. 2.4 miles away); Sphinx Head (approx. 2.4 miles away); a different marker also named Old Man’s Cave (approx. 2.4 miles away); Our Inspirations (approx. 2.4 miles away).
More about this marker. Access to this marker is from the Ash Cave Trail parking lot on Ohio Route 56. It's about a 1/4 mile walk north along the trail from the parking lot to the marker. This marker is a large, acrylic-covered poster mounted at eye-level inside a heavy-duty wooden frame.
Also see . . .  Ash Cave at Hocking Hills State Park. Ash Cave is named after the huge pile of ashes found under the shelter by early settlers. The largest pile was
Ash Cave Ceiling & Interior image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, September 4, 2014
3. Ash Cave Ceiling & Interior
recorded as being 100 feet long, 30 feet wide and 3 feet deep. The source of the ashes is unknown but is believed to be from Indian campfires built up over hundreds of years. One other belief is that the Indians were smelting silver or lead from the rocks. Still another theory claims that saltpeter was made in the cave. No matter the source, several thousand bushels of ashes were found. The cave shelter also served as a workshop for Indians where maidens ground corn and prepared meals, and where braves fashioned arrow and spear points and skinned and dressed game. (Submitted on February 27, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
Ash Cave (<i>view from near marker</i>) image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Cosmos Mariner, September 4, 2014
4. Ash Cave (view from near marker)
Credits. This page was last revised on September 7, 2019. It was originally submitted on February 26, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 465 times since then and 220 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on February 26, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4. submitted on February 27, 2019, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.

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Dec. 7, 2023