The wooded hills and scenic valleys of the Dillon area offer a picturesque setting for outdoor adventure. Whether boating the quiet coves and inlets of the lake or hiking the forest trails, Ohio's rural hill country provides an outstanding recreational experience at 2,285-acre Dillon State Park
Much of the history of the Dillon region can be attributed to the effects of transportation through the park. The Licking River provided transportation for Native Americans on their way to Flint Ridge where outcroppings of flint were found. In the Blackhand Gorge, carved by the Licking River, a sandstone cliff bore a soot blackened engraving of a human hand. This mysterious petroglyph is thought to have served as a guide marker for Indians searching for Flint Ridge. Specimens of Flint Ridge flint have been found as far east as the Atlantic seaboard, as far south as Louisiana and as far west as Kansas City.
Other methods of transportation affected the Dillon region. The Old National Road, just south of the park, was partly responsible for the establishment and growth of nearby Zanesville. The Ohio-Erie Canal followed the route of the Licking River for several miles and boosted trade and commerce to surrounding towns. An inter-urban railroad that connected Zanesville and Newark with Columbus passed through Blackhand Gorge. Steamboat traffic was busy through Zanesville on the Muskingum River.
In 1803, Moses Dillon purchased the land bordering the Licking River where the park is located. This industrious, early American built and operated a local iron foundry, founded the village of Dillon Falls and dammed the Licking River to provide water power for the community. Moses Dillon is probably most noted for his contributions toward the design and construction of the world-famous "Y" bridge in Zanesville.
Dillon Reservoir was constructed for flood control by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and was completed in 1961. The park was dedicated in August 1968.
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