Delaware State Park, Troy Twp. forever linked


Troy Township’s proximity to Delaware State Park has had a lasting impact on its residents in several ways.

The township, which is located just above the city of Delaware, is home to the park off of U.S. Route 23.

“Dense woodlands, expansive meadows, and a shimmering 1,300-acre reservoir blend to create Delaware State Park, which is located in central Ohio, north of Columbus,” states the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in its description. “Once home to the Delaware Indians, this 1,686-acre recreational area offers camping, swimming, boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing for outdoor enthusiasts.”

As most locals know, Delaware was hit hard by the 1913 flood.

Judy Burdette, writing in the Troy Township newsletter published in April, said a dam project in the area was proposed as part of the Flood Control Act of 1938. Construction began in 1947.

“Postwar 1946, the plans were brought to the forefront once again, and Troy Township was selected for the massive federal dam project,” Burdette wrote. “The dam was to serve three purposes: flood control, water supply and recreation. The project location for the actual dam was where the Olentangy and Whetstone rivers converged. Approximately 3,300 acres of Troy Township was appropriated as Federal Land.”

“Delaware State Park comprises 1,815 land acres within Troy Township, and the Delaware State Wildlife area comprises 4,670 land acres principally within Troy and Marlboro townships,” states Delaware County’s website.

“Delaware Lake was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with the construction of a flood control dam in 1951,” the website states. “The flood control reservoir was dedicated as a state park later that year.”

Burdette said more than 270 families in Troy Township, some of whom lived for generations in their homes, were uprooted and “forced to relocate” due to the dam and its flood plain. The land was purchased or “no-build” zones were established for property owners. Some structures and homes were physically moved to higher ground, she said.

“Much of Troy Township’s historical community was destroyed during the Delaware Dam Project,” Burdette writes. “This includes the farm owned by the Rutherford B. Hayes family, of which he speaks fondly in his memoirs. It now lies beneath the deepest part of the lake.”

Five miles north of Delaware, the park has 32 miles of shoreline and a playground that is popular with children and adults. The lake is also used for local triathlons. In addition to the aforementioned activities, there is a dog park and swim area, disc golf, hunting, picnicking, trails and winter recreation.

The park also has an emergency shelter located near the campgrounds, as well as an outdoor warning siren. Whenever there is a severe thunderstorm watch or warning, or a tornado watch or warning, it will go off.

For those who can’t hear the outdoor siren, Township Trustee Vice Chairman Doug Price writes, “I would encourage you to sign up for the Delaware County Emergency Management Alerts at This system will send texts alerts to your phone in the event of severe weather.”

The view of Delaware Lake from atop the dam. view of Delaware Lake from atop the dam. Gary Budzak | The Gazette

By Gary Budzak

[email protected]

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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