Return To Indian Mound Reserve

If you caught my other blog post on Indian Mound Reserve, you’d know that this place is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots! At the time of that post, I had only been able to check out half the park – Mound Trail and Lower Rim Trail. Last week I was able to wander the other side – Enclosure Trail, Indian Loop Trail, Old Channel Trail, and Upper Rim Trail. The following pictures are from last week.

Taken from the brochure:

Cedar Cliff Falls, one of the most noteworthy sites at Indian Mound Reserve, is a dam built to harness power for the Harbison Mill, which operated until approximately 1917. The dam is a stone arch design and was originally 40 feet tall. The arch faces upstream using water pressure to force the stones together. After the mill was closed, several stone layers at the top were removed to eliminate flow into the mill race.

Another mill that utilized the power of the dam was the Hager Straw Board and Paper Company, which operated into the late 1930’s. It had the most significant impact on the Indian Mound Reserve due to the large amounts of toxic effluent produced by the paper milling process.

An elaborate system of piping, sluiceway, and ditches were constructed to carry the effluents to settling ponds downstream. The observant hiker will spot sections of the round clay tiles that made up the sluiceway along the Cedar Cliff Trail. Settling ponds were created to contain the toxic effluent from the paper company. Although no longer in use, the concrete structures which controlled the flow to these ponds can be seen on the north side of the levee.

The Pollock Works, an earthen enclosure, is thought to have been constructed by the Hopewell Indians between 100 B.C. and 500 A.D. Known for their superior architecture, it is estimated that it took 400 years to build the Pollock Works. The Hopewells used dirt, rocks and trees to build the earthen walls that connected to limestone formations, completing a circle. This unique blend of man-made and natural structures created a stable enclosure that could withstand erosion and provide valuable protection from danger.

For hundreds of years, people have wondered why the Hopewell Indians invested so much time and effort into building the earthen enclosure. It is possible that it may have been a setting for rituals important to the Native American communities that lived in the area.

The Hopewell also maintained a widespread trading network, and some believe that exchanges may have taken place at the enclosure. Recent discoveries at the Pollock Works indicate that a century or so after the initial construction, a timber stockade was built. It is uncertain whether this was a defensive structure or just a different means of bounding the enclosed space.

Any or all of these speculations could be the reason for the Hopewell choosing this site. Initially, the Hopewell may have been attracted to the regionโ€™s valuable resources, including fruits, nuts, and abundance of wildlife.

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure I saw the Pollocks Works. I made the mistake of reading the brochure AFTER walking the trail so I suppose I was expecting something more modern – Like the remnants of an iron works or whatever. Had I’d known it was supposed to be an earthen “wall”, I would have made a better effort to keep an eye out. Next time I go, and there definitely will be a next time, I’ll see if I can spot it.

It really is a beautiful park and I highly recommend it to anyone passing by Cedarville, Ohio. Until next time, my Loves!


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