10-26-20 Old Man's Cave & Rock House
Old Man's Cave derives its name from the hermit Richard Rowe who lived in the large recess cave of the gorge. His family moved to the Ohio River Valley around 1796 from the Cumberland Mountains of Tennessee to establish a trading post. He and his two dogs traveled through Ohio along the Scioto River in search of game. On one side trip up Salt Creek, he found the Hocking Region. Rowe lived out his life in the area and is buried beneath the ledge of the main recess cave. Earlier residents of the cave were two brothers, Nathaniel and Pat Rayon, who came to the area in 1795. They built a permanent cabin 30 feet north of the cave entrance. Both brothers are buried in or near the cave. Their cabin was later dismantled and relocated on the nearby Iles farm to be used as a tobacco drying house.
Rock House sits halfway up a 150 foot Black Hand Sandstone cliff, carved out like other features of Hocking Hills by glacial melting millenia ago, and is approximately 25 feet high, 200 feet long, and 20-30 feet wide. Seven window-like openings allow sunlight into the cave, and several large sandstone columns support the cave’s roof structure.