The Ohio State Stone Laboratory on Lake Erie has been conducting freshwater research for over 100 years. Thanks to the students, faculty, and staff, the health of Lake Erie has vastly improved. The Aquatic Visitors Center on Put-in-Bay is also run by Ohio State. Put-in-Bay is lucky to have the Ohio State Stone Laboratory.

Visiting Stone Labs

The main campus lies on Gibraltar Island. This small island is located north of the downtown harbors. Guided tours of Gibraltar are offered throughout the summer via water taxi. The taxis leave from the downtown docks right next to the Boardwalk. 

Kayak the Bay offers tours of the island as well. Guests paddle to the island and learn about the important research at Stone Labs. It is a worthwhile, and beautiful trip.

The History of Ohio State Stone Laboratory

The facility first opened in 1895. The Ohio State University took over the freshwater field station in 1925 and they have manned it ever since.

Jay Cooke, the famous Civil War financier, built the impressive building in 1864. He was also responsible for the construction of Cooke Castle, made using local limestone. The original carpentry work in the library still remains today. The National Register of Historic Landmarks placed Cooke Castle on its list in 1966.

The Ohio Sea Grant, which also supports the Ohio State Stone Laboratory and the Aquatic Visitors Center, is working with other groups to renovate the castle for special events.

Freshwater Research

The Ohio State Stone Laboratory is an unparalleled experience for students at Ohio State. They spend the summers learning about conservation, taking classes, and also conducting research.

Researchers from all over the country use this lab to conduct important research. Topics include algae blooms and invasive species. These can really harm freshwater basins like Lake Erie. Thanks to these professionals and the thousands of passionate students, Lake Erie continues to thrive.


Arch G: “In my experience the Stone Lab is only open to the general public on one weekend per year (weekend after Labor Day). The remainder of the time it is providing college classes and conducting research as part of its mission for The Ohio State University. There are really a myriad of reasons to visit. First is obviously the lab; it does fascinating research on Lake Erie. Gibraltar Island (home of Stone Lab), is also the home of Cooke Castle that has an interesting connection to the Civil War. There’s even a glacial groove to add one final point of interest. It is always worthwhile to make arrangements to be at Put-In-Bay on the weekend when Stone Lab is open.”

Adela H: “Took my class to Stone Lab last fall. I teach at an all girls public school in Cleveland. Many of my girls never had the experience to be on a boat or travel to Put in Bay. My girls fell in love with all the activities at the Lake and grew an understanding in preserving all that is involved with Lake Erie. My girls and I are truly in awe of the students that work and study at Stone lab. Thank you again for the opportunity to take my students up there! Thank you again!”

Lydia B: “Premiere source for research, education, and outreach dealing with Lake Erie, water quality, and general environmental impact studies in and around the Lake Erie watershed.”