Mary Campbell Cave

Old Maid's Kitchen

Useful Information

Location: Gorge Park, Cuyahoga Falls, Akron, Ohio
Open: All year daily 6-sunset.
Fee: free.
Classification: Speleologyerosional cave
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=15 m, W=40 m, H=20 m, A=292 m asl.
Guided tours:
Address: 1160 Front St., Cuyahoga Falls
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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1758 Mary Campbell abducted from a town in Pennsylvania by a band of Lenape.
1764 Mary Campbell returned to her family.
1930 Metro Park created.


Mary Campbell Cave was named after Mary Campbell who is said to have lived here for some time, at least according to local lore. At the age of ten, Campbell was abducted from a town in Pennsylvania by a band of Lenape, a Native American tribe also known as the Delaware. This was on 21-MAY-1758, soon after they stayed for a short time at the cave, and then Campbell was braught to a nearby Lenape village. She was most likely adopted into a Lenape family which was common practice among the Native Americans of that time period. Probably she was adopted by Netawatwees, a principal chief of the Lenape, also known as Newcomer. He founded a place called Newcomerstown which is further south in eastern Ohio. Mary Campbell was returned to her family in Pennsylvania in 1764 after an ultimatum Colonel Henry Bouquet, who demanded the return of captives. At this time she was 16 or 17 years old and had spent about six-and-a-half years with the Lenape.

This story is widely known of in Northeast Ohio and parts of Pennsylvania. It is often interpreted as evidence, that popular stereotypes of Native American brutality are not justified. The theme of stolen children which were adopted, and after several years, when given back, would even attempt to return to their Native captors, was used several times in books and movies. Most prominent is probably Dances with Wolves with Kevin Costner. However, the story has ver little to do with the cave which was named after her.

Mary Campbell Cave is an erosional cave fromed by the nearby Cuyahoga River. The cliff face is formed of sandstone of the Sharon Formation, with a layer of much softer shale of the Meadville formation at the bottom. This soft layer was removed by the flowing water producing a huge shelter with a sandstone ceiling. The shelter is about 40 m wide, 15 m deep and the ceiling is 20 m high. The cave is reached on Gorge Trail, a trail along the Cuyahoga River gorge in the Gorge Park. The gorge and the cave is administered by Summit County Metroparks.