Looking Back

Pike County was named for explorer and U.S. general Zebulon Montgomery Pike. Formed in 1815 from Ross, Highland, Adams, Scioto and Jackson counties, Pike County’s history is told through many local sites.

Its historic claim is owed to a brief stop by United States President Abraham Lincoln, who paid a visit during a trip through Piketon in the 1800s.

This is the final resting place for some of Pike County’s early settlers.

EAGER INN – Junction of Pike Lake Road and Morgan’s Fork Road
This inn was the first stone inn built in Ohio to support overland travel and was built along the Zane Trace trail around 1797. Serving as an inn until 1870, it was one of two stone inns built at 20-mile intervals on the segment of the trail between Chillicothe and Maysville, KY.

FIRST PIKE COUNTY COURTHOUSE – 113 N. Market Street, Piketon
Built in 1844, this building served as the hub of county government until the 1860s. In 1861, Piketon lost a bitter political struggle against James Emmitt and others that ultimately led to the courthouse being moved to Waverly.

A prominent local figure, Lucas became an Ohio Senator, Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, presided over the 1832 Democratic National Convention, and ultimately was chosen as Governor of Ohio on two separate occasions. In 1848, he was appointed by U.S. President Martin Van Buren as the first Territorial Governor of Iowa, just five years before he passed away.

This historic church building has never closed since being built in the 1800s.

MOUND CEMETERY – Mound Cemetery Road, Piketon
Evidences of Indian inhabitants of the area can be seen at this location just outside of Piketon. Other indications of Indian habitation are also found along State Route 335 north of Waverly, and along Higby Road, about one-half mile off State Route 335.

PIKE COUNTY COURTHOUSE – East Second Street, Waverly
Efforts by James Emmitt and other Waverly businessmen to move the county seat from Piketon to Waverly paid dividends in the election of 1861. Following a disputed election, the courthouse was moved to Waverly’s Second Street where it housed county government offices until the recent opening of the Pike County Government Center.

PIKE HERITAGE MUSEUM – 110 S. Market Street, Waverly
Learn about Pike County’s past and see relics from different eras at this museum housed in the former German Evangelical & Reformed Church, built in 1859. The museum is open from 1 pm to 4 pm Saturday and Sunday, while tours at other times can be arranged by calling (740) 947-8200.

THE EMMITT HOUSE – 123 N. Market Street, Waverly
James Emmitt’s crowning achievement still stands today as a centerpiece of the town he was so influential in building. Created in 1861 as one of the finest hotels of its time, the Emmitt House of today stakes its claim as one of the finest, award-winning restaurants in southern Ohio with its incredible selection of steaks, fine wines and much more. In fact, the Emmitt House began 2005 by being named “Best of Ohio’s Restaurants 2005” by Midwest Foodservice Magazine. In addition to offering fine food and drink, the Emmitt House also hosts community activities such as dances, amateur nights, comedy performances, a selection of different tournaments, and more.

THE OHIO-ERIE CANAL – Along State Route 104
This well-known mode of transportation had an immediate and lasting impact on Pike County, Waverly in particular. Lasting for 70 years before being replaced by other forms of transportation, the canal’s remnants are still visible at Waverly’s Canal Park and areas alongside Ohio 104 between Waverly and Jasper. A bell from one of the first boats to travel into Waverly – the “Governor Worthington” – is on display at the Pike Heritage Museum.

UNKNOWN CIVIL WAR SOLDIER’S GRAVE – Pike Lake State Park, Bainbridge
A solitary headstone, at the base of a large oak tree below the dam, is a reminder of a life surrendered in Pike County during the Civil War. Wounded and unconscious when he was found, the Union soldier never revived to reveal his name, unit or hometown.


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