Is there a place that when you think about it or see it instantly takes you back to childhood? The Doughty, also known as Troyer’s Hollow, is that place for me.
As you travel along Twp. Rd. 154 just outside of Charm, OH, you would never notice the entrance to the Doughty. It looks like every other pasture gate that you pass. You have to know just where to look for it. There is no sign and no indication that the small gravel road will lead you down into a serene park-like natural wonder. As you turn onto the dirt road you will feel like you have made a wrong turn. Soon you will start to descend down down down and around the hillside. Don’t look out the right side of your vehicle, it’s a steep drop! At the bottom the trees will break away and the Doughty will be before you. I never get tired of that view. The gorge is deep and the hills and trees rise straight up on either side allowing the sun to shine for only a few hours every day in the hollow.
A little history on the area. The Doughty is part of a 2-mile long gorge that was formed by the glaciers that came through Holmes County. The Doughty Creek runs through this gorge. There is a very interesting and lengthy history to the area in which you can read part of here and here. But I’m going to share with you from my memories and from what I’ve been told by my family.
I know that there was a grist mill in the Doughty at one time. It was a thriving area with houses and businesses. From what I’ve been told by my family, my grandma was born in the hollow but only lived there a short time before her family moved.
Fast forward to when I was a child of about 5 or 6. At this time my great-uncle Orie Oswald, my grandma’s brother, owned the Doughty. I remember having family reunions and church picnics there. I remember playing in the creek and catching crawdads. When my cousin Leah would babysit me, she would take me down into The Doughty on horseback. I remember one specific time where she had the horse jump over a log that was in the horses path. I’ve never been much of a horse person so that was a little scary for me. There was also a swinging bridge that hung over the creek. I loved that bridge. Sadly, it was washed out by one of the floods that gushed through the area. The poles and cement that held the bridge still stand. Another memory is of family hiking trips up through the woods on the trails to the caves and, if we were lucky, the waterfalls that flowed after a good rain. Years ago we had a really bad ice storm hit Ohio. It destroyed the trails and the road down into The Doughty. Though the road has been repaired the trails have not. I’ve been told by the caretaker that the trails are passable by adults but a little treacherous for kids. Makes me sad, because I know Cade would love an adventure on those trails.
When my great-uncle Orie sold the land, the Guggisburg family bought it. Yes, the same Guggisburg family that is famous for their baby swiss cheese. They have hired someone to take care of the property and be the go-to person when wanting to rent the facilities. From spring thru fall the pavilions are rented almost every weekend. Many groups like to camp there and Amish have church services there on Sundays. There are 2 pavilions. One on the west side of the creek which is to the left as soon as you enter The Doughty. And the other facility is on the east side of the creek which means you have to go through the creek to get there. That is always a fun thing for the kids. There is a very nice bathroom shower facility for the back (east) pavilion. However the front (west) pavilion has port-a -pots. Both pavilions have kitchen facilities with a water pump outside.
In the above picture you can see the back pavilion and the bathroom facilities are up on the left. In the foreground is the place where cars pass through to get to the other side. This is a popular spot for the kids to play and adults to sit close by and put their feet in the water. Also in this picture you can see part of the structure that held the swinging bridge.
We still have our church picnics here. I’ve had 2 of Cade’s birthday parties here. During the summer when it’s hot and we don’t want to go to the pool, sometimes we will head to The Doughty to play in the water. Much less crowded and it’s free.
It is so peaceful and beautiful. While I’m down there I like to sit and imagine what it was like when there were houses and businesses there. Where did the houses sit? What did the people do who lived there? Was it a bustling hub of activity? The days gone by fascinate me especially when they mingle with my families history.