About Blackhand Gorge

What is Blackhand Gorge Friends Group?

Friends of the Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve is a group of citizens of Central Ohio who share an interest in seeing that the history and beauty within our area is maintained and protected as sanctuaries for wild creatures and the habitat they need to survive.


The Blackhand Gorge was named after the Black Hand, a prehistoric petroglyph in the shape of a black hand with spread fingers and part of a wrist. One elongated finger supposedly pointed towards a nearby Indian Mound. It is thought that the symbol meant that all tribes passing through the gorge on their way to the flint pits a few miles south must pass through in peace. The rock was destroyed in 1828 during the construction of the Ohio and Erie Canal. Other petroglyphs survived until 1890, many recorded by Dr.James Salisbury and his brother Charles, of Newark, who deposited their tracings and notes with the American Antiquarian Society in Massachusetts. Blasting for the electric interurban railway in 1890 removed the last traces of almost all prehistoric stone carving.