The great Ohio-Kentucky rock war

A large boulder that lived for centuries in the middle of the Ohio river serving both Kentuckians and Ohioans as a navigation marker and graffiti carving canvas, has turned out to be a powder keg.

Last September, an Ohio historian decided the rock needed rescuing from its watery bed, so he hauled it out and lovingly placed it in a safe environment for historical preservation: on top of some tires in a corner of the Portsmouth city maintenance garage.

The fact that the rock was a registered protected archaeological object with the state of Kentucky doesn’t seem to trouble our intrepid Ohioan.

The historian, Steve Shaffer of Ironton, Ohio, said people are overreacting. The rock, he said, was neglected and in danger of being damaged or lost forever. […]

Shaffer says he deserves praise for saving the rock.

“They want to punish Portsmouth and they want to punish me and they want to put this rock back in the river,” Shaffer said.

Yeah! Meanie peanie fo-feanie Kentuckians with their anti-tireyardism and desire to preserve a protected object in its proper context. They’ll have to tell it to the judge.

Kentucky’s elected officials also insist that the rock belongs to their state. A Kentucky grand jury is investigating whether criminal charges should be filed and Portsmouth Mayor James Kalb has been subpoenaed to testify. Earlier this spring, Kentucky lawmakers adopted a resolution condemning the rock’s removal and demanding its return.

Ohio lawmakers are considering a counter-resolution calling on Kentucky to abandon its claim to the rock.


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Comment by Dina
2008-06-03 00:20:46

Of at least one thing we can be rock certain: that Ohio historian has a lot of chutzpah.

Comment by livius drusus
2008-06-03 16:22:05

That’s the stone cold truth right there. :giggle:

Comment by TomJoe
2008-06-03 15:21:27

So that’s where my rock went!

Comment by livius drusus
2008-06-03 16:24:16

I told you nothing good would come of you fording the Ohio. :no:

Comment by TomJoe
2008-06-05 13:54:57

Well, it (the rock) wanted to go for a walk. Any reasonable pet rock owner would walk their rock, no? Reminds me of the time Peter Griffin’s pet rock urinated on his floor. Now that was a bad rock.

Comment by TomJoe
2008-06-05 13:56:04
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Comment by livius drusus
2008-06-08 07:55:04

:lol: You’re in no position to judge, Mr. I’ll-let-Fluffy-run-off-leash-just-this-once.

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Comment by mozzy1977
2009-01-26 20:33:08

The ROCK… has come back!!! To Kentucky!!!!!

Comment by livius drusus
2009-01-26 21:03:21

Congratulations! :cool:

Comment by David Mays
2012-05-15 14:34:48

Those are great ideas. For more Ohio photos please visit
Plus for local history check out my Ohio history blog:
2 brand new articles about Mantua and Ravenna.

Comment by Mike M
2012-07-21 09:18:34

Who thinks it’s a good idea to remove a big-ass rock that is as tall as you are, a hundred times more round than you, and twice as long from a river anyway? And he did it because he thought it would get damaged somehow?

Sorry, but I think that big-old rock can last at least a few more years in that river without eroding away to nothing……

Comment by USARMYCORP.
2014-02-15 16:38:03

I’m glad to see that the rock has been returned to it’s old Kentucky home. People that don’t know anything about the army corp. of engineers don’t realize how much authority they can have when they feel provoked. In my opinion, you should feel a sense of gratitude to even have the Ohio river named after the state of Ohio. I refer to it as Kentucky River. Not to long ago, a group of guys came to south central Kentucky to dig up some Indian artifacts.. what’s with you Ohio boys? Can’t find anything up north? I’m sure there are tons of good stuff in Ohio to find, so you stay in Ohio and I’ll stay in Kentucky.

Comment by MiKE M
2014-02-20 22:09:09

Last I checked, both Ohio and Kentucky are two states in the United States of America. I am from Pennsylvania, yet another state in the same nation.

I can say that, as someone from Pennsylvania, if I were a part of an archeological group and we wanted to come down to Kentucky to do a little digging, I can come down to Kentucky to do a little digging so long as I follow all federal, state, and local laws. I have that right as a US citizen. Same with those “Ohio boys.” You, also, as an American, have the right to go to another state to do the same.

That is all. ;)

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