Hocking County Minerals
Sand was deposited in the northern part of Hocking County by the Wisconsin glacier about 10,000 years ago. The sand is usually found in, or near the stopping place of the glacier called the terminal morain.
Since early times, its easily availability and versatility have made it extremely valuable. It is possible to drive across the terminal moraine in Hocking County at the intersection of U.S. Route 33 and State Route 180.
Gravel is usually found in the glacial deposits with the sand. It is used in companion with the sand for road building and as part of concrete.
Flint is found in natural deposits just north of Logan. The Wyandotte Indians, who lived near the east edge of Logan, and early pioneers used this flint to make tools and weapons. In 1965 the Ohio General Assembly named flint Ohio’s official gemstone.
The rich deposits of limestone in the eastern part of Hocking County made possible the iron smelting industry that thrived during the Civil War.
More than 300-million years ago, the region was covered by the Atlantic Ocean. Shells from clam-like mollusks formed the limestone deposits that are mined today near Maxville.
Pioneers were able to gain a foothold in Hocking County because the rich top soil was ideal for growing crops and pasturing livestock. When the pioneers arrived in Hocking County, they found dense, primeval forest that harbored and abundance of game animals.
Logan was the nucleus of the Hanging Rock Iron Region that extends to the Ohio River. Iron was discovered just north of Logan in 1848. Logan’s first smelting furnace was built in 1851. Iron from Hocking County was made into cannon balls and cannons for the Civil War.
High quality clay is found throughout Hocking County. The pioneers used it for chinking in their log homes.
By the turn of the century, coal had become king in Hocking County. The coal towns of Murray City and Coonville experienced boon times until the end of World War II.
Sandstone was deposited in Hocking County by the currents of an ancient sea. The high grade sandstone in the Logan area became the retaining walls, foundation blocks and canal locks that are found across the county. Many of these structures remain intact after 150 years.
Saltpeter is found on the walls of the sandstone caves near the Hocking Hills State Parks. It was deposited there over thousands of years by the leaching action of the water. Saltpeter was used by local Indian tribes and pioneers to make gun powder and to cure meat when no refrigeration was available.
-Excerpted from “Hocking County Mineral”
By Leland L.Conner