While I was out and about in the Cuyahoga Valley on Monday, I decided to add a bonus SMP Spree hike to my itinerary. I had stopped by Deep Lock Quarry Metro Park before, but I had only used it as a connector to the Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath running through the CVNP. So it seemed fitting to check out this Summit Metro Park tucked inside the Cuyahoga Valley National Park on a day of exploring.
More than any of the other Summit Metro Parks I’ve visited so far, Deep Lock Quarry offers history lessons as much as natural beauties. Its location along the old canal includes not only Lock 28, the deepest lock (at 17′) along the Ohio & Erie Canal, but plenty of stone remains of canal docks and equipment, building foundations and stairs, and broken millstones.
Why millstones? Well, walking deeper into the park, I found the old quarry where Berea sandstone was “harvested” to make millstones for a local company called American Cereal Works, later known by the name of Quaker Oats. The original owner of the cereal company, Ferdinand Schumacher, also owned a portion of this quarry, presumably to reduce his cost of supplies. The quarry is overgrown now, though the enormous stone steps (above) remain, as well as a scattering of smaller sandstone blocks around the quarry clearing.
And fun fact from the park’s web site: the quarry ended up in the 1930s by supplying that same Berea sandstone that the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps used to build the shelters in other Summit Metro Park and Cuyahoga Valley National Park facilities. Cool!
After wandering around the quarry for a bit, basking in the morning sunshine while I explored, I picked up the trail again as it wound up the wooded hillside. I stopped briefly at a bench that provided a nice overlook to the Towpath and the Cuyahoga River below, but eventually I discovered that the trail took me up to the top of the quarry steps (seen here) for a completely different perspective on the park. What a great place to read a book or enjoy a picnic!
Though the Quarry trail is only about 1 1/4 miles in length, all the ups and downs and little side explorations had me hungry and ready for a tea-and-scone break by the time I returned to the parking lot. And after that quick pause, it was time to return to the CVNP for more hikes!