Although relatively small, 106-acre Jackson Lake State Park boasts acres of some of the most scenic country in Ohio. The park's serene lake is a focal point for excellent fishing and provides the ideal setting for a peaceful retreat.
Prehistoric Indians occupied the vast wilderness north of the Ohio River, as evidenced by numerous relics discovered in the southern Ohio area. Among these relics are impressive burial and ceremonial mounds and mysterious carvings in the sandstone rock of the region. These carvings, called petroglyphs, are symbolic representations of the Indian's life. The Leo Petroglyph near the park has been carefully preserved by the Ohio Historical Society.
Thousands of years later, the densely forested upper Ohio Valley was intermittently populated by more recent Indian tribes. Mingos, Delawares and Shawnees all made a home there. As pioneer settlers moved westward into the wilderness, the Indians were gradually displaced to the western plains. Using the abundant resources of forest and land, the new Ohio immigrants built farms, towns and cities and began development of several industries.
In the autumn of 1854, the hills of Jefferson Township were awakened by the sound of a whistle from a new industry that was to attract nationwide attention to the Hanging Rock Iron Region of southeastern Ohio. Buried below the land's surface lay vast stores of iron ore. Discovery of this valuable material initiated the development of a world-renowned iron industry. The Jefferson Iron Furnace was constructed to help meet the demand for iron products in the eastern United States. During the Civil War, the Jefferson Iron Furnace and other foundries in the Hanging Rock area became crucial to the operation of the Union Army-being used to manufacture cannons.
In a short time, "Jefferson iron" became the standard of excellence throughout the Hanging Rock region and the world. Sold to manufacturers under the trade name "Anchor," this iron was used to build the ironclad warship, the Monitor. History books vividly recall the famous naval battle of the two iron-clad ships, the Monitor and the Merrimack.