Roosevelt Game Preserve Headquarters and "the Zoo"

Ohio's First Nature Center in Hobey Hollow

The headquarters for Roosevelt Game Preserve and "Zoo," established in 1922, ought to be considered Ohio's first state-operated "nature center" in what is now Shawnee State Forest.

Located up Harbor Fork of Turkey Creek in what is commonly known as Hobey Hollow, the Roosevelt Game Preserve Headquarters once showcased live deer, black bear, turkey, and other wildlife species that the State of Ohio hoped to reintroduce or establish through the Preserve's various programs.

At times the Preserve Headquarters also doubled as a make-shift lodge for officials and visiting researchers and became known as Sky Ranch. A field was cleared for games and visitors could explore along Harbor Fork, where a series of concrete dams were poured to create swimming holes and pools for minnows, crawfish, water fowl, and other creatures.

Today, little remains to mark the site other than the concrete dams, whose pools are now filled with gravel and stone. With the development of Roosevelt Lake and Shawnee State Park and Forest, the headquarters and what some called "the zoo," was closed. And, in time, the structure became a hazard and Division of Forestry officials had the old headquarters demolished.

The field is still mowed by the Division of Forestry and its a popular campground for hunters during deer season, when the usually-closed Forest Road 11 is opened to vehicular traffic. Otherwise visitors must park at the mouth of Hobey Hollow, just off Forest Road 1, and walk a half-mile to the old field and the cement ruins of Shawnee Forest's first state-run "nature center."