396-acre Guilford Lake State Park is a quiet fishing lake located in northeastern Ohio on the west fork of the Little Beaver Creek. The gentle rolling terrain of the area offers a serene escape for park visitors year round.
The capture of the infamous Confederate general, John Hunt Morgan, near the vicinity of Guilford Lake, ended his gallant raid through the state of Ohio in 1863. Morgan and his 2,000 raiders crossed the entire width of the state from west to east before his eventual capture.
Guilford Lake was constructed as a canal feeder reservoir for the Sandy and Beaver Canal in 1834. An ambitious project undertaken by a private company, the canal was to be 73-miles long and would require two tunnels, thirty dams, ninety locks, three reservoirs and one 400-foot-long aqueduct before it was completed. The park is named after E.H. Gill who was chief engineer of the canal company for several years. He established a road through swampy areas of the present park which became known as Gill's Ford.
When the canal era came to a close, the adjacent landowners breached the embankment in two places and proceeded to use the lake bottom for farmland. In 1927, the land was purchased by the state with the intent of rebuilding the reservoir. The new dam was completed in 1932 by the Division of Conservation. The lake was eventually turned over to the ODNR Division of Parks and Recreation for administration and development. Guilford Lake and Ohio's other canal feeder lakes were the first areas to be dedicated as Ohio state parks in 1949.