Hikers in Conkles Hollow, Hocking County, Ohio, June 1939.
Conkle's Hollow is part of the Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio. It is one of Ohio's most popular natural history attractions.
Conkle's Hollow is a gorge. Water slowly eroded away Blackhand Sandstone, creating the ravine. Sandstone is a very porous substance and much more susceptible to erosion than many other types of rocks. Cliffs, standing approximately two hundred feet in height, surround three sides of Conkle's Hollow. Near the end of the ravine, the cliffs are only three hundred feet apart. Plant life, including hemlock and birch trees and various types of wildflowers, thrive in the gorge.
Conkle's Hollow is named after W.J. Conkle, an early visitor to the ravine. In 1797, Conkle carved his name into the west side of the cliff. According to legend, local American Indians (most likely, the Shawnee) once hid some money in a small opening on the gorge's west wall. As the legend ran, they had stolen the money from white settlers rafting down the Ohio River. The opening was located high up on the cliff wall. To reach it, the Shawnee had chopped down a tall hemlock tree and then climbed up it, using it as a ladder, to hide the money. They then pushed the tree to the ground, so it could not be used again. They chiseled an arrow, which pointed to the money, on the gorge's eastern wall. The Shawnee intended to use a second tree to reclaim the money, but a storm knocked the tree down before the natives could return for the money. The money, purportedly, has never been found. Many early settlers claimed to have seen the arrow carving on the gorge's eastern wall, but it no longer remains visible.
In 1924, the State of Ohio purchased 146 acres of land in the Hocking Hills. This purchase formally established Hocking Hills State Park. The State of Ohio eventually purchased additional land, including Conkle's Hollow. First owned and operated by the Ohio Department of Forestry, in 1949, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the Ohio Division of Parks assumed control of Hocking Hills State Park.