top of page

Little Miami / Big Darby  History

Canoe and Kayak into the History of  Ohio  Wild and Scenic Little Miami River & Big Darby Creek

Little Miami River 

Miami Indians

The Miami indians originally lived in Indiana, Illinois, and southern Michigan

at the time of European colonization of North America. They moved into the Maumee Valley around 1700. They soon became the most

powerful American Indian tribe in Ohio.

The Miamis spoke an Algonquian dialect,

and were thus related to the Delaware (Lenape), the Ottawa, and the Shawnee.

Indian Villages

The Little Miami Scenic River Valley is rich with relics of Ohio's past. Countless Indian villages flourished along its banks. Fort Ancient, a

world famous mound builders site, is located on high bluffs overlooking the river.

Fort Ancient Earthworks

The most famous of theHopewell Indian culture

earthworks are the Fort Ancient earthworks located on a promontory 275 feet above

the hiking trail just south of the State Route 350 crossing. The site, now a state park, features a series of Indian mounds, including the largest

prehistoric hilltop enclosure in the United State (with 3 1/2 miles of walls and 60 gateways).

These earthworks consist of an embankment 4 feet to 23 feet high and surround 125 acres within which are found numerous - mounds. Parts of these same earthworks were occupied

much later by another native culture, the Fort Ancient culture.

Tecumseh, the renowned Shawnee Chief, was born in the valley, and Daniel Boone spent time along the river, both exploring and as a prisoner of the Shawnee.

National & State Scenic River

On April 23, 1969, Little Miami was Ohio’s first designated State Scenic River. In August 1973, a section of the river from Glen Island, upstream

to State Route 72 was designated as Ohio’s first National Scenic River. Today, the Little Miami River is the longest of Ohio’s three nationally designated scenic and 

recreational rivers. •

•••Ft. Ancient.gif

Fort Ancient on the Little Miami River


Tecumseh Shawnee Indian Chief

Big Darby Creek 

Chief Darby

The first human beings here were Indians who

traveled along Big Darby Creek Valley just after the retreat of the glaciers over 16,000 years ago. Until about 1800, the Ohio Country was inhabited by Mingo and Wyandot Indians. The creek itself is named after Wyandot Indian Chief named Darby.

The Hopewell Culture of Ohio

The Ohio region was home to an Indian civilization known as the Hopewell (named after the farmer on whose land the artifacts were

first identified). This civilization flourished from around 200 B.C. to A.D. 500, leaving dozens of huge earthworks, including burial mounds, temple platforms, and walls around ritual centers.

Over the past 160 years, the Hopewell culture has been described as a non-Indian "super

race" of Moundbuilders, as migrants from Mexico, and as a small group of dominant priests. Recent research reveals much variation in Hopewell artifacts and sites. This has caused some archaeologists to view Hopewell as a religious cult that spread among different

groups. Finally, there is the idea that Hopewell was a trading system in which exotic raw materials and food supplies were exchanged among growing populations.

The major Hopewell sites are geometric and

hilltop enclosures along with burial mounds. For the most part, these sites are found in the river valleys of central and

southern Ohio.

1959 Ohio Statewide Flood

Rains of 3 to 6 inches fell on snow covered frozen ground, producing the most destructive flooding in Ohio since March 1913. All streams reached flood stage from January 21 to 24, killing 16 people, Forcing 49,000 from their homes, and causing extensive damage to

homes, businesses, roads, and bridges. Classic winter flood conditions existed across Ohio during January 1959.

bottom of page