History

The river's name has an interesting history. Olentangy was a name given to this river in 1833 by a legislative act that was attempting to restore Native American names to certain rivers in the state. The word Olentangy literally means 'River Of Red Face Paint'. This name actually belonged to Big Darby Creek further to the west, where Wyandotte of the Columbus area got their red face paint. The Olentangy River should have been named the Whetstone River. The Whetstone name was assigned to the Whetstone Creek, which is the largest tributary of the Olentangy River.  Both Native Americans and early settlers used the black Ohio and Olentangy shale found along the river for whetstones to sharpen their tools.
 
Currently, the Olentangy River flows 88.5 miles from its headwaters in the Crawford and Richland Counties through Marion and Morrow counties into Delaware and ending in the Franklin county at the confluence with the Scioto River in downtown Columbus.

The Olentangy River has a drainage area of 536 square miles! 22 miles of the Olentangy was designated as the state Scenic River by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in 1973. It was one of the first rivers to be designated in Ohio. The designation runs from the Delaware Dam to Wilson Bridge Rd in Worthington.

The Olentangy River and its tributaries are a special resource that needs protection and your help.