Rugged hills and rich green forests provide the backdrop to Blue Rock State Park. Escape to nature's solitude, and enjoy the diverse flora and fauna of this scenic 322-acre state park.
Years before this beautiful region was known to the white man, the great Shawnee Nation built Old Town, the village of Chief White Eyes, near present-day Duncan Falls on the Muskingum River. For years, White Eyes was on friendly terms with the white man including the adventurous trapper named Duncan who was permitted by the chief to hunt, trap and trade with them. Duncan became enraged when he found game was being stolen from his traps by a hostile band of Indians from across the river. Duncan began to shoot all Indians who meddled with his traps until he himself was shot by the hostiles while crossing the river at a low spot. His body was found on a gravelly ripple now called Dead Man's Ripple, and the falls at that spot are called Duncan's Falls because it was there that Duncan fell.
Rich coal deposits were discovered in the area. By utilizing the Muskingum River for transporting the coal, a prosperous mining industry soon developed.
In 1856, this area was shaken by one of the most remarkable mine disasters in history. The collapse of the mine happened about 11 a.m. on Friday, April 25, 1856. It was soon discovered that four persons were either imprisoned or crushed to death inside the mine. A dangerous rescue attempt began at once combining the greatest speed with the utmost caution possible. The rescue continued night and day with varying success. An immense crowd of people from the surrounding countryside and towns gathered at the mouth of the mine to offer help, encouragement and prayers for the imprisoned men. At 11 p.m., on Friday, May 9, after having been entombed for fourteen days, the men were reached and brought to safety--alive!
To the north of Blue Rock lies the city of Zanesville, Ohio's state capital from 1810 to 1812, and a leader in the manufacture of clay products. Several potteries still exist. In 1796, Congress gave Ebenezer Zane authority to construct a road from Wheeling to Maysville, Kentucky. The point where the road, known as Zane's Trace, crossed the Muskingum River became the site of Zanesville--named for Ebenezer Zane.
In 1936, the state of Ohio purchased the lands comprising Blue Rock State Forest. Construction of Cutler Lake was completed in 1938. Blue Rock officially became a state park with the formation of the Division of Parks and Recreation in 1949.