Nelson Ledges Quarry Park History


In The Beginning

The ledges have a deep history dating back to the Ice Age

The Ice Age and the shifting of Earth's tectonic plates are to thank for the scenic Nelson Ledges. The spectacular rock formations have become its well-known trademarks. The beautiful quartz & sandstone cliffs resulted from erosion that wore away the softer rock layers to form the Ledges. They also lie near one of the highest points in the state, which creates the watershed divide between the Ohio River & Lake Erie.

This area was therefore of vital importance to the Native American tribes--mostly the Delaware tribe. Several Indian footpaths & canoe routes passed through the vicinity, making the area an important trade center for Native Americans &, eventually pioneers. Many arrowheads have since been found throughout the state and quarry parks, & we are, of course, very proud & respectful of these timeless footprints left here so many years ago.

Courtney Schindler ii

The Early Years

The first settlers developed the area into an important agricultural and dairy center that controlled southern markets

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 prominent, beginning almost as soon as the first settlers arrived. By 1834, the Northeast Ohio cheese industry even controlled the southern markets. Eventually, canal & railway transportation increased the area's importance. But 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 built as one of the principal points of interest for their accommodations. There were even carnival rides in the mid 1900's.

Operating Rock Quarry

NLQP was a lucrative mining location

In the late 1940's & 50's, what's now Nelson Ledges Quarry Park was 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 30-acre quarry filled within days, leaving peninsulas, rock shelves & an island in the middle.


A Secret Retreat For All

The Quarry became a favorite retreat to the locals, free-loving hippies & bikers

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, they were in for a rude awakening. Thinking 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 that we see today. In the years that followed, it has become even more of a hot spot for scuba diving, camping, swimming, sunbathing & of course cliff diving.


Nelson Ledges Quarry Park

NLQP slowly evolved over the last 40+ years

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 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 & everyone who comes here.


12001 Nelson Ledge Rd, Garrettsville, OH 44231


NO DOGS FROM MAY 18-OCT 1 (Service dogs only). All dogs must have proof of rabies vaccine to gain entry to the park.

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