More Exploring in the Hocking Hills

Conkle’s Hollow Trail

On my second day of exploring in the Hocking Hills I stopped at Conkle’s Hollow State Nature Preserve. Although located in the vicinity of the other Hocking Hills State Park attractions, it is not part of the Park. The Preserve includes a gorge trail and a rim trail. I took the gorge trail which started out paved and traveled through a beautiful forest next to a stream with lots of greenery.

After the paved trail ended, the gorge began narrowing and the scenery began to look more primeval, with rocky cliffs and an abundance of large moss covered rocks and ferns. I passed under a few overhangs dripping with water before reaching a recess cave with a small waterfall at the end of the trail.

The end of the gorge trail
Relaxing in the recess cave

With all the rock, water and greenery, this was a beautiful spot to experience, especially with few people about. At one point everyone was gone and I was alone. I decided to stay longer and enjoy the stillness and grand scenery around me.

Looking out from inside the cave

After finishing my walk in Conkle’s Hollow, I drove to Rock House, another popular spot since it is the only true cave in Hocking Hills. Getting there involves descending a trail which passes by tall sandstone cliffs until arriving at an opening midway in a 150 foot cliff. From the outside it is hard to imagine how big the Cave will be inside.

Entrance to Rock House

The cave has one long corridor that stretches 200 feet, is 20 to 30 feet wide and has a 25 foot ceiling. There are seven windows but it was still fairly dark so some were using flashlights to find their way around.

The interesting shaped windows are one of the best things about the Cave. At one end is the largest window where a seasonal waterfall can be seen dropping from the cliff above. When I visited it wasn’t flowing. Below are photos of a few of the windows with forest views outside.

The Cave has Native American history with ovens that were carved in the rear wall. In addition, the Cave has the nickname “Robber’s Roost” as at different times it was allegedly used as a hideout for those of a criminal nature. I enjoy visiting caves and was glad I had made the trip to see the unique Rock House.

Columbus Washboard Company and the largest washboard

And now for something completely different. One day, Mark commented he saw there was a washboard factory in the nearby small town of Logan. I know I have said before, but I love learning about and seeing how things are made and this place sounded unique. The Columbus Washboard Company is located in an old brick building where washboards have been made since 1895. Outside on the building you can see the world’s largest washboard. This is the only washboard factory remaining in the U.S.

A sampling of their washboards

Visitors can take a very short self-guided tour of the factory rooms and see original equipment used to make the washboards. There was one employee putting washboards together when I visited. She showed me the process and I think she put one together in a few minutes as there are not many pieces to a washboard. Many of us (like me) might think washing clothes with a washboard is a thing of the past, but staff at this factory report otherwise. I was told that people still regularly use washboards for scrubbing out stains, while traveling or living off grid. Of course they are also more economical. I don’t remember how many washboards are manufactured here in a typical month or year, but I recall an expectation of about 200 per day. There are only three employees that manufacture them, so it is a small company. The gift shop has a variety of sizes for all washing needs as well as washboards for decorative purposes. There is also a choice of different surfaces including galvanized, stainless steel, glass, chalkboard, cork or mirror.

Washboard Musical Instruments

Washboards are also popular as musical instruments and there was a nice selection of those as well. Every year the Washboard Music Festival is held in Logan. Unfortunately, we would just miss it since it was scheduled around the middle of June, the week after we left.

Display for the troops.

Columbus Washboard supports U.S. troops overseas by providing a kit including a washboard, washtub, clothesline, clothespins and soap. They even provide a printout with the supplies showing how to do wash the old fashioned way. The kit is useful for military personnel located in remote areas away from bases with laundry facilities. I would never have thought about washboards being used in this way – very cool of this company to think of the troops!

I left Columbus Washboard Company with a magnet but alas no washboard!

Thanks for checking in – until next time!

3 thoughts on “More Exploring in the Hocking Hills

  1. Ilona Rouda

    So interesting. A long time ago, we used a washboard. We also had an old ringer washing machine and three tubs for soapy to rinse twice. Laundry was a big day when I was a kid. And clothes lines. Outside in the summery months. In the attic, in the winter. I marvel at how easy it is to clean clothes now. But when you are a sailor at sea for long times, a washboard is very useful with a pail. Sea water except for the rinse.

    I don’t love caves but I love your stories and photos.

    Looking forward to the next adventure.

    Reply
    1. Beth Morrison Post author

      I really enjoyed reading your comment Ilona and how your family used a washboard. It is nice to be remembered of how things were done in years past. Interesting too about washing clothes when at sea and using sea water. Thanks for all the info!

      Reply
  2. Matt

    No washboard!!! Lol, okay okay I get it, you can’t haul away souvenirs from every spot you visit, but those washboards would look pretty cool hanging up somewhere. Never imagined there would still be a factory, fun visit. We have a tiny washer/dryer combo right now and honestly its so frustrating that I think I may prefer washing with a board instead! haha

    Reply

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