In the late 1800's, the Ledges became a famous recreation & honeymoon resort visited by many prominent people.
Today you can still feel the energy captured by the Ledges over hundreds of years. It is still a meeting place, & it was once said that "People weave their individuality throughout the park, creating a beautiful tapestry of diversity, bound together with a common love."
Music being such a big part of our lives, with musicians & artists frequenting the park often, we felt it only necessary to give them an opportunity to perform their craft. At least once a month throughout the regular season, musical productions combined with an array of arts, craft, vending & foods provide campers varied assortments of festivities.
Along with the park's natural beauty, its energy and harmony can, perhaps, be summed up with part of a poem gifted to us by one of our happy performers. He wrote:
Nelson Part II: 9/21/98
Lightning rod I've touched again to light the fires of Nelson.
Charged and soaring, blend the tones; caverns echo earthly moans.
Bonded with the Earth and sky; children blessed with Love-derived,
Smiles that shine with every hour, as witnesses to Nelson's power.
Halloween we leave the scene, as once again the summer flees.
The frost will settle on it all, and blanket it with leaves of fall.
As choice as any summer scene, the Ledges sport a winter dream.
To those who come and dance and sing,
to celebrate the eve of spring.
The Ice Age and the shifting of Earth's tectonic plates are to thank for the beautiful Quarry Park, & the spectacular rock formations have become its well-known trademarks. The remarkable quartz & sandstone cliffs resulted from erosion that wore away the softer rock layers to form the ledges. The Ledges also lie near one of the highest points of the state & are close to the watershed divide between the Ohio River & Lake Erie. This area was of vital importance to the Native American tribes (mostly the Delaware tribe). In fact, several Indian footpaths & canoe routes passed through the vicinity, & many arrowheads have been found in the park. The area eventually became an important trade center for both pioneers & Native Americans. And we are very proud & respectful of those footprints left here so many years ago.
In 1800, the Mills family left Becket, Massachusetts & became the first settlers in Nelson. The area developed into an important agricultural & dairy center. Cheese making was thus prominent, beginning almost as soon as the first settlers arrived. By 1834, the Northeast Ohio cheese industry even controlled the southern markets. Eventually, canal & rail transportation increased the area's importance. Yet the "Ledges," as they are called, have always been a noted place of resort for pleasure seekers & curiosity. In the late 1800's a small hotel was also built as one of the principal points of interest for their accommodations. There were even carnival rides in the mid 1900's.
The particular site where our park is located was, in the late 1940's & 50's, an operating rock quarry. It employed many people in the surrounding area, mining both quartz & sand. As the story goes, one day in the late 1950's the machinery hit one of the many springs, & the thirty-acre quarry filled within days, leaving peninsulas, rock shelves, & an island in the middle.
This ad from the 1950's shows Irene's Arcade & Hamburger Stand & even a Ferris wheel as they
stood on Rte. 282 just north of the Quarry.
Abandoned by the company, the Quarry was soon visited & inhabited by the locals, free-loving hippies & bikers, who came with their painted buses, motorcycles, free spirits, & hopes of settling down. Unfortunately, like most free-loving hippies, they were in for a rude awakening. When they thought they had created the perfect paradise, officials caught wind of too much fun going on, gates were put up, & the Quarry was closed. Eventually, in 1972, the land & Quarry were purchased by a young man who established the foundation of the campground we see today. In the years that followed scuba diving, camping, swimming & even cliff diving have thrived.
The 70's and 80's were wonderful, & the memories were many. The laughter & good times seemed to flow endlessly. But the 90's brought a stir of events due to poor management, & ownership changed hands twice before 1995. At that time, Evan Kelley, a previous lifeguard & manager throughout the 80's & 90's, was given the opportunity to both purchase & improve the park. It was his dream to keep the Quarry alive. Evan thus expanded upon ideas & made many renovations, such as providing more children's activities & better facilities, without altering the natural beauty or spirit of the park. He also hired a wonderful staff that we consider to be our park family, together running the Quarry with love & appreciation for what it provides us & the many who come here.