The East Harbor area was home to the Ottawa and Wyandot Indians before European settlement. Ottawa means “trader.” There was a trail that crossed the southern shore of Lake Erie connecting early Detroit and Pittsburgh settlements.

This area remained in the Native American’s control until they were defeated along with the British, in the war of 1812.

In the area was the Great Black Swamp, a huge glacier fed swamp. It hindered travel and development so in 1850 the various states decided to drain the swamp. Only 10% of Ohio’s original marshland remains. The land then became highly productive. Fruits were grown extensively, with grapes becoming very successful.

The Marblehead Lighthouse is one of the oldest on the Great Lakes.


East Harbor State Park sits on a peninsula on the waters of Lake Erie. Lake Erie began as glacial sheets gouged and scoured bedrocks of Ohio. You can see evidence of the force of the ice by small scratches in the rock surfaces.

The glacial sheets left a deep depression, and this depression was filled with melting water, and that formed the Great Lakes.