Cleveland April 21, 2019
There’s A Hike Near Cleveland That Leads You Straight To An Abandoned Village
It’s impossible to picture the Old West without its iconic ghost towns. Here on the easternmost edge of the Midwest, abandoned towns are few and far between… right? While it may be mind-blowing to consider, many communities here in Ohio have ceased to exist over the eras. Some residents had property seized to establish a national park, while others were driven to relocate when local industries simply became outdated and unnecessary.
There are many places in Greater Cleveland that have been immortalized only in photographs, but there’s a nearby destination where you can still explore the remnants of one community’s extinct industry. Lace up your hiking boots and prepare for an adventure – we’re heading to a park that’s best known for its grand waterfall, but also offers the opportunity to hike to the remains of an abandoned village.
Welcome to Tinker's Creek!
This area hides the source of Bedford's early industry. Tinker's Creek is the Cuyahoga River’s largest tributary, and its most impressive waterfall can be found right in Bedford Reservation.
Viaduct Park and the Great Falls of Tinker's Creek are some of the most stunning areas in the reservation, and their history is as striking as their beauty.
This reservation hides the historic heart of Bedford, an area that was largely forgotten until it was opened in 2002 by the Cleveland Metroparks and the local government.
While the untrained eye will doubtlessly be struck by the majesty of the waterfall, careful observers will notice some other unusual structures.
The currents of this striking waterfall once fueled local saw mills, grist mills, and even an electric power plant.
The area's viaduct once transported trains across the dramatic scenery of this impressive creek.
Industry absolutely thrived in the area, thanks in part to business-minded families like the Benedicts, Willis', and Gates.
Exposed foundations, mill races, and tunnels are evident throughout the area.
The occasional discarded bricks adorn the property as a reminder of the grand structures that once abounded here, like the once well-known Waters & Son Mill.
So, what happened to this once industrious area?
The answer is far less spooky than the mystery of many ghost towns: water power simply fell out of favor. The area surrounding the falls continued to grow as Bedford became more and more populated, but this little area was largely forgotten before its recent revitalization.
Some of the earliest workers of this charming valley rest peacefully in the nearby Tinkers Creek Cemetery.
Tinkers Creek Cemetery, also known as Hillside Cemetery or Pilgerruh Cemetery, is located at the end of the abandoned Tinkers Creek Road, right off of Canal Road. Some of its oldest gravestones likely belong to the area's earliest settlers, and the cemetery is thought to be full of unmarked graves of canal workers. It is also believed that the most recent burial here took place in the 1920s.
If you choose to visit the park for its natural beauty, you'll find yourself greatly rewarded.
The natural beauty of this area is undeniable. Tinker's Creek, Berea Sandstone, and exposed shale delight nature lovers and photographers alike. The area is always full of birdsong, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life feels a million miles away in this entrancing gorge.
However, if you adventure to the area to admire local history, you’ll certainly find it here too.
The reservation is full of helpful signs alluding to the gorge's unique history. With the help of these markers, it is easy to imagine what the community might have once looked like.
There's nothing like a hands-on, interactive approach to history... and that's just what this hike provides.
Though it's something of a ghost town today, Tinker's Creek is full of life and beauty. Adventurous hikers dare to venture into the surrounding tunnels, and some even crawl on rocks in the creek to get closer to the ruins.
Despite the hustle and bustle that once filled this gorge, it has returned a natural state of peace and quiet in the modern day and age.
You can find directions to this gorgeous natural area
There’s oodles of majesty in the heart of
, particularly on and around the banks of Tinker’s Creek. When will you be paying this area a visit? Bedford Reservation
If you enjoyed this hike, you’ll adore
learning about the nearby ghost town.