OHIO RIVER TRAIL COUNCIL

“Joining communities through fitness, recreation, heritage and transportation networks”

Smith Ferry Indian Rocks

Rock art is an archaeological term used to refer to human-made markings placed on natural stone.Such artworks are often divided into three forms: petroglyphs, which are carved into the rock surface, pictographs that are painted onto the surface and earth figures, engraved into the ground. The local site of ancient rock carvings is located in a town once known as Smiths Ferry, about a mile north of Little Beaver Creek on the north shoreline of the Ohio River.

The rock art sites along the upper Ohio River valley in Beaver County, Pennsylvania generally depict animals and animal tracks to human images. Several types of birds, including the Duck, Goose, Sandhill Crane, Thunderbird, Wild Turkey, as well as fish, turtles, and human feet are carved into the massive sandstone shelf that extends out into the Ohio River. The Smiths Ferry Petroglyph area encompassed nearly three acres. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History produced about 100 plaster castings and photographs of the site in 1902. Most of the early pictures ever printed of the mysterious site has been a group of postcards from 1908. Albeit, pictures of Smiths Ferry’s Indian Rocks have been published in the National Geographic and Joseph Henderson Bausman’s History of Beaver County from 1904.

Archeologist believe that the Monongahela People, a late prehistoric group, created the Smith Ferry Petroglyphs, between 1200-1750 A.D. Unfortunately, most of the site has been destroyed or submerged by water when the Ohio River Lock & Dams were constructed for navigation.  Before the dams was erected, the Ohio River was known to dry up at Smiths Ferry during the summer season and people traveled by horse and buggy from as far as Pittsburgh, crossing over the dry river bed, to view the historical Indian site. The Petroglyphs were last viewed in the winter of 1960 when the water level was unusually low.

 

The Ohio River Passenger Railway ran Yellow Car Specials to Smiths Ferry to view the ancient rock art before the Ohio River Wooden Wicket Lock and Dam Number 8 was built. In 1929, the canalization project on the Ohio River was finished. The project produced 51 wooden wicket dams and 600 foot by 110-foot lock chambers along the length of the river. 

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

Share
 

ORWT Photos

  • FOR Ohio River Kayakers 960.jpg
  • sup pit 960.jpg
  • new brighton fishing park 3 240 x 180.jpg
  • Montgomery Pool by Vincent Troia 240 x 180.jpg
  • beaver boardshop 2 sup 960 x 720 .jpg
  • pit_largest_kayak_canoe_flotilla_960.jpg
  • little-beaver-creek-vincent-troia-08-23-2014.jpg
  • Pittsburgh_Point_Park_Punter_180.jpg
  • West_End_Bridge 960.jpg
  • little beaver creek kayaking 960.jpg
  • Pittsburgh_Point_Park_Punter_240 x 180.jpg
  • beaver county rowing association 960.jpg
  • chris photo 3-180.jpg
  • beaver river kayaking ray 960.jpg
  • chris photo 1-180.jpg
  • Kayak Pittsburgh 2010 960.jpg
  • Fly-fishingc-Little-Beaver-Creek 960.jpg
  • beaver kayaking ray 2.jpg
  • Pittsburghs Three Rivers by David Schwab U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 960.jpeg
  • SELENA KAYAKING FALLFEST 2012 240 x 180.jpg
  • P and LE Bridge Ohio River 960.jpg
  • new brighton fishing park and dam 240 x 180.jpg
  • beaver boardshop 10 180.jpg
  • beaver river rowing 2 960 x 720.jpg
  • chris photo 2-180.jpg

Support Us

Please consider supporting our efforts with a tax deductible gift.

Amount:
 USD

 

Outdoor Adventure Club

Forum

Create an Account

Member Account Login

 

Bed & Breakfasts

Pa River of the Year

Calendar of Events

Custom CSS

 

Get Involved

 

Campgrounds

Annual Membership Meeting

Administration Login Only

Weblinks