Blue Rock Region
Explore the Blue Rock Region in southern Muskingum County and northern Morgan County. Large deposits of blue-colored shale that were found in the region and trace back millions of years when Ohio was a shallow inlet sea gave the area its name.
This hilly,rural, wooded region converges in the Muskingum River valley. This river offers year-round boating, kayaking, and fishing. This under used resource is ideal for those wanting a quiet get away.
The Muskingum River flows from Coshocton to Marietta and is a designated state water trail. The river’s unique feature is its historic system of ten hand-powered navigation locks -- celebrated as one of the world’s truly great engineering accomplishments. It is the nation’s only remaining system of hand-operated river locks.
The lock system allows boaters to navigate 86 scenic miles of the Muskingum River from Dresden in northern Muskingum County to Marietta and the Ohio River.
Also, nearby Blue Rock State Park, Blue Rock Lake and the Blue Rock Forest features nearly 5,000 acres of public land with miles of hiking trails, 26 miles of bridle trails, camping (100 campsites and cabins), fishing and a swimming beach.
The Wilds is one of the largest and most innovative wildlife conservation centers in the world. Located on nearly 10,000 acres in southeast Ohio, it is home to rare and endangered species from around the world living in natural, open-range habitat, as well as home to hundreds of indigenous species.
In addition to guided tours (view the rhinos, giraffe, zebras and more wandering the park) there is mountain biking, birding, photography, educational camps and more.
The historic village of McConnelsville, once the economic hub of south central Ohio back in the days when the river was the main transportation artery, has preserved much of its heritage intact. Visit the historic Victorian Button House, the Opera House, the one room school house and more. Or just walk and shop in a small community that still operates like small American towns worked in the 1950’s.
Blue Rock Region History (newspaper account of the Blue Rock Mine Disaster)
On the morning of Friday April 25, 1856, twenty men entered the mine being owned by Stephen Guthrie and James Owens. Former owners had worked on it in a hazardly manner as some rooms had only small pillars to support the immense weight of 220 feet of hill above the mine. A cave in happened about 700 feet from the entrance and extended a distance of 400 feet, which imprisoned four men and sixteen men escaped only with sure flight. When the four men realized they were trapped, they shoveled together some dirt and prepared boards upon which to die. They only had two dinner pails, three jugs containing five quarts of water and some oil for the lamps. The trapped miners became weak from lack of food and water quickly.
The work of the rescue began at once, but with great caution as a single false move would bring thousands of tons more of the crumbing hill over their heads. Only three men could fit in the narrow entry at one time, and inside only one man. The deadly gas became so bad coming out of the mine they couldn't burn the lamps. On Friday, April the 29th, the opening was completed about midnight.
Four miners were brought to the surface at around 1:00. Amazingly all four men were alive after being trapped for fourteen and half days. They were completely black from coal dust with white streaks washed by tears. The men were put on guarded condition by the physicans. If the rescue would have been delayed for any longer the men would had a terrible death which was fully anticipated. The heroism of the rescuers is deserving for there were no ties that bound them to the men other than common humanity.