According the Eliza Drew Miller and her family, who owned the woods in 1961, nothing had been cut out of Drew Woods, nor had it been pastured for the 75 years they had owned it. They also felt that it had probably never been cut or pastured. Perhaps it was the last remaining tract of old growth forest in western Ohio.
J. Arthur Herrick of the Ohio Biological Survey, praised Drew Woods in 1961, stating: " The size of the trees, the considerable number of species, and its truly virgin nature force me to the conclusion that this is very likely the finest stand of forest in the entire state."
At the time, Eliza had been offered $5,000 dollars for the trees and the area had already been marked by the forester to be cut. Mr. Herrick felt time was of the essence if the woods were going to be saved.
Pike Lumber Company acquired the area in 1963, and with the guidance of the Dayton Museum of Natural History, left the area untouched until 1984. At that time Howard M. Utter, Pike President, stated; "We choose to preserve this unique forest as a living classroom and exhibit of the native fauna that was present long before our land was settled." With that, Pike Lumber Company donated Drew Woods to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves.
Since the early 1960's there have been numerous research projects conducted in Drew Woods. A study of the trees showed some to be 300 years old. Thirteen articles and abstracts about the life in its three buttonbush ponds have been published. And in a 1990 research paper, Drew Woods was identified as "the only old-growth remnant of oak-maple upland forest and oak-maple swamp in the state".
Today, Drew Woods is part of the Darke County Park District. Through a lease agreement with the State of Ohio, we have taken over the management and programming of Drew Woods according to its master plan. Currently it has no visitor facilities, but Naturalist led tours into the preserve are offered twice a year.