Monday, February 27, 2012

Lost Stories: Yesterday and Today - Leroy Township's Hidden Gem - Hell Hollow

Located at 14435 Leroy Center Road, 'Hell Hollow' is a 783 acre Lake Metropark property.  Named for its deep ravines, the park features hiking trails, picnic facilities and a high cliff top loop trail with 262 timber steps  descending into a deep hollow.  A 360 million year old Chagrin Shale Cliff is another notable remnant from the Glacier retreat that once passed through.  Located nearby is another Metropark property known as Paine Falls.  Both parks are linked in the 19th century history of Lake County.

Leroy Township was a rural agrarian based economy at the time.  Resource extraction and processing commodities were the main commercial businesses of that era.  In 1850, eleven sawmills were part of the Leroy landscape.  Over 400,000 feet of lumber were processed annually.  1865 saw oil exploration find its way to the area.  It seems Edwin Drake's 1859 oil drilling in Titusville, Pennsylvania encouraged site exploration in Hell Hollow.  Commerce led to homes and even two schools being located in the vicinity.  One school was located on current park property.  Time depleted natural resources and industrial advancements made newer county settlements more desirable for these original landowners.  Today some foundations are still present.  The stonework still survives.

Leroy Township remains as a hidden gem into the early industrial development of the Western Reserve and Lake County.  'Hell Hollow' and nearby Paine Falls offer visitors remnants of a by-gone era.  Visiting the 'Past' requires nothing more than just a walk in the park.

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