This area was the home of the prehistoric Adena and Hopewell Indians. Later, three major historic tribes dwelled in southwest Ohio: the Wyandot, the Miami and the Shawnee. The original valley was named Caesar’s Creek after a black slave named Caesar who was captured by the Shawnee. They gave this valley to him as his hunting grounds in the late 18th century. The famous Bullskin Trace follows the eastern ridge. It became part of the Underground Railroad which led runaway slaves to the many Quaker homesteads in the area. In 1978 the Army Corps of Engineers flooded the Caesar’s Creek Valley to aid with flood control of the Little Miami River watershed. While cutting trees and dismantling buildings, many original log cabins were discovered in the valley. Many were moved to Pioneer Village, a reconstructed settlement of circa 1800. It is located on the east shore of the lake at Wellman (also called Hen Peck).
At the Caesar’s Creek Visitor Center a person can learn more about the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers efforts to control flooding in the Ohio Valley. After a devastating flood in the city of Cincinnati and surrounding area in 1937, Congress authorized the Corps of Engineers to develop and implement plans to control the flooding of the Ohio River and its tributaries. The core of their plan for flood protection was a network of multi-purpose lakes on the Ohio River tributaries. Caesars Creek is one of these 75 lakes in the Ohio River basin. Also at the Visitors Center are displays concerning the geological history of Ohio and the natural wonders of the area. From the scenic overlook, there is a beautiful view of the Caesars Creek Dam. The Dam can also be viewed from below from Caesar Creek Gorge. The Gorge is a glacially reversed valley. At points there are 100 foot high exposed limestone walls. Oak woodlands overlook the gorge. Rare spots of prairie run along the dry bluffs on the south side of the gorge.
The two click-on photographs to the right were taken in the Caesar’s Creek Spillway, a favorite haunt of fossil collectors. The most found fossil is the little trilobite. In the lower picture, children can be barely seen searching the natural limestone walls for fossils.