Location: Milton Township, Jackson County - On Buckeye Park Rd. near the intersection of Buckeye Rd.
It was a typical blast furnace community with a few hundred residents & was abandoned when production stopped. The town had a church, general store, wood frame houses for the residents, & post office from 1851 - 1865. The land was donated to the state in the 1930's & the furnace was rebuilt in 1972 by the Ohio Historical Society.
Buckeye Furnace is now a 270 acre state park with picnic areas & hiking trails. Several of the original furnace & town buildings have also been restored including charging shed, iron master's house, a storage shed, & the company general store which is open Saturday & Sunday 12 - 4. Buckeye Furnace Cemetery is up the hill behind the company store where some of the residents were buried. There's just a few tombstones left but a lot of unmarked graves too. A fall festival is also held at the furnace every year.
Gee Town, OH (mid 1800's - early 1900's mining & farming town mostly abandoned over time)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Bloomfield Township, Jackson County - On Rt. 327 North of Keystone Furnace Rd.
Gee Town was named after the Gee family that lived in the area in the mid to late 1800's. Most of the residents mined coal or worked at the nearby Keystone Furnace. Jacob Gee (1868 - 1946) & his wife Daisy (Barlow) Gee (1882 - 1964) are attributed with founding the town. We don't have a lot of info on the place other than it was instrumental in working with Keystone Furnace but it can be found on Google maps in a field that looks like it once harbored a town. Gee Town had a train station on the C.H.& D Railroad, transporting iron & coal from the Bloomfield & Ridgeland Mines.
The Gee Town Union Methodist Church was formed in 1842. The last church they built still stands on Union Furnace Rd. & has recently been updated. Jacob Gee (1868 - 1946) & his wife Daisy (Barlow) Gee (1882 - 1964) were the town's longest residents & were buried in the Gee Town Cemetery (Union Cemetery) on Union Cemetery Rd. off of Rt. 327 with their children. Jacob's parents, Stephen (1845 - 1909) & Rosinda (Sheilds) Gee (1844 - 1926) along with his paternal grandfather Marting R. Gee (1820 - 1878) are buried in Keystone Cemetery off of Bain Perkins Rd. East of town.
Keystone, OH (1848 - present mining, furnace, & farming town partially abandoned after the furnace stopped production)
Classification: small town
Location: Bloomfield Township, Jackson County - On Keystone Furnace Rd. near the intersection of Orpheus - Keystone Rd.
Like many of the surrounding townships & counties, Bloomfield was blessed with an abundance of iron & coal which drove the local economy to heights it had never seen before. Construction of the iron furnace began in 1846 & was completed in 1847. As with all of the 1800's furnaces in Ohio, it created hundred of jobs with the mining & railroad industry in an area that was previously dominated by farming & livestock.
Keystone Furnace started blasting iron ore in 1848. Most of the other iron furnaces in Ohio continued operation during the Cival War to provide steel for the Union troops but Keystone shut down in 1861. Some of it's owners were already enlisted in the US Army & many of it's workers signed on to the 27th Ohio Volunteer Infantry which was involved in numerous battles & campaigns including Corinth, TN & also joined up with Grant's forces that were heading for the New Orleans area. The soldiers eventually returned home victorious & highly decorated in 1863 - 1865 & resumed working at the furnace.
Mining & furnace work was dangerous to begin with but Keystone had more perils than usual. Raccoon Creek (the world's longest creek & damn near a river in some spots) was used to ship iron & coal to the furnace. Boats 60 - 85 feet long, & averaging 55 tons, were controlled by 4 men each. Many workers perished by drowning in the creek attempting to do tasks near the many mill dams in the area & Nicholas Bishop was killed in a lightning strike while hauling iron to the furnace with an ox wagon.
Keystone's post office ran from 1849 - 1907, a large portion of that time being in the Keystone Furnace Company general store. A one room schoolhouse that was built in 1846 was replaced by a two story combination school & church in 1867. The town also had a grist & saw mill between the furnace & Raccoon Creek & the blacksmith shop, wagon shop, & company store were across the road from the furnace. Burials took place at 3 cemeteries: Keystone Furnace Cemetery off of Bain Perkins Rd., Perkins Cemetery farther up Bain Perkins where it's called Dupre Rd., & Union Cemetery off of Rt. 327. The parents & paternal grandfather of Jacob Gee, the subject of our sketch of Gee Town, were also buried in Keystone Cemetery. Furnace operations ended in 1885. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
These days, Keystone Furnace is on private property but is visitable with permission from the land owner. The GPS coordinates are N39 00.652 W82 27.107 & all that the owner asks is that you ask first, pick up any trash you come across, & leave the snakes alone (lookout for copperheads!). If you're headed east on Keystone Furnace Rd. it's the first house past the old iron bridge (a left turn north), & if headed west it's a right turn before the iron bridge. We suspect on top of the furnace remains itself, there might at least be foundations of the engine house & other outbuildings.
Jefferson Furnace, OH - (1853 - 1916 coal mining & iron furnace town abandoned when production stopped)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Jefferson Township, Jackson County - On Rt. 279 close to Jackson Lake
The furnace is viewable from a picnic area on the west side of Jackson Lake. The town was founded by a group of Welsh immigrants & businessmen. It had an important role in the cival war by providing high quality iron that was used to make the U.S.S. Monitor ironclad battleship & guns for Harper's Ferry. The area was abandoned when the furnace shut down & is now part of Jackson Lake State Park.
Jackson County Ohio Ghost Towns Research Resources