About Pike Lake
                                Nature of the Area

The Pike Lake region is located in the unglaciated portion of the Appalachian
plateau in Ohio. As the Appalachian Mountains were uplifted, this plateau
was created west of the new mountain range. The plateau marks the
boundary between the hilly eastern section of Ohio and the flatter western
portions. Just thirty miles west of Pike Lake, the terrain changes dramatically
from forested hills to rolling farmland.
The landscape of Pike Lake is characterized by dense forests of oak,
hickory, tulip, ash and other hardwoods. Several outcroppings of the
sandstone bedrock have been exposed in the park. The dense forest and
remote location of Pike lake create excellent habitat for Ohio’s forest game
animals. White-tailed deer, ruffed grouse, gray squirrel, rabbit and the
elusive wild turkey are abundant. Other mammals in the park include skunk,
opossum, raccoon and red fox. Reptiles include the box turtle, black snake,
five-lined skink and the endangered timber rattlesnake. The forest is known
for its variety of ferns, mosses, lichens and fungi. The wildflowers are diverse,
creating spectacular displays spring through autumn.

                                History of the Area

Pike County is located in an area that has many earthworks constructed by
Ohio’s prehistoric people. These “first citizens” of Ohio lived in the Scioto
River Valley and its tributaries, appearing here sometime around 800 B.C.
The Moundbuilders eventually gave rise to the woodland Indian cultures the
first white settlers encountered. One tribe, the Shawnee, made this area their
home and hunting grounds. They were fiercely protective of their land.
Nearby Chillicothe, the first capital of Ohio~ spurred early settlement in the
area. Some of the early, historic buildings still stand. Just south of the park is
“Eagers Inn” built in 1797. The inn was constructed on a trace that ran from
Limestone, Kentucky to Chillicothe. Limestone (now called Maysville) was an
important crossing on the Ohio River. Many settlers from Kentucky followed
this passage on their way to the frontier.
During the Civil War, only one advance was ever made by the Confederate
Army into Ohio. General John H. Morgan crossed the Ohio River into Indiana,
then rode with his cavalry into Ohio north of Cincinnati. “Morgan’s Raiders”
traversed the southern portion of the state, passing near present-day Pike
Lake State Park. Eventually, he and many of his men were captured in
southwestern Columbiana County near Salineville. Less than five months
later, General John Morgan and six of his men escaped from the Ohio
Penitentiary and returned to the Confederacy. Also during this historic
period, the family who farmed this valley found a wounded soldier collapsed
in their field. The unconscious union soldier never revived. His name, unit or
hometown were never known. Today, a solitary headstone below the dam at
the base of a large oak tree marks the grave of this casualty from a tragic
The present park first began to take shape during the Civilian Conservation
Corps (CCC) days of the 1930s. One of the Ohio camps was established
near the future site of Pike Lake at Morgantown. Corpsmembers dug the lake
by hand, built two or three fire towers in the area, constructed the roads to
make them accessible and planted hundreds of pine trees. Pike lake was
originally a state forest park, but with the formation of the Division of Parks
and Recreation in 1949, it became an official state park that year.
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