Scheduled for release on October 1, 2018 by Fonthill Media & Arcadia Publishing, "Abandoned Ohio" is the culmination of the first 6 years of road trips & research by the Ohio Ghost Town Exploration Co.!
Granville, OH (1805 - present farming, mill, railroad, & university town with numerous historical sites)
Classification: historic town
Location: Granville Township, Licking County - On SR 661 at the intersection of County Hwy 539
In 1804 residents from Granville & Granby, Massachusetts formed The Licking Company & purchased over 29,000 acres of land in Ohio. Around 150 or so of them arrived in Licking County in 1805 & immediately began platting the town with a total of 288 lots & plans for the community buildings that they would need.
In 1812 Orrin Granger (1788 - 1822) built a tavern & inn which also served as a stagecoach stop between Columbus & Newark. It was purchased in 1865 by Major Horton Buxton (1821 - 1902), a veteran of the Civil War. Major Buxton owned the inn until his death & it still carries his name to this day. Everyone from presidents & celebrities, to us common folk (haha!), have enjoyed the inn & drank in its downstairs tavern for over two centuries. The Buxton Inn is currently the longest continually operated hotel in Ohio.
One of the other famous owners was Ethel "Bonnie" Bounell (1888 - 1960) was a dancer, singer, & entertainer. She operated the inn from 1934 - 1960. Her cat named "Major", after Major Buxton, is the cat on the inn's roadside sign. It's still said to appear around the inn by the workers & visitors. Ethel Bounell & Major Buxton are also reported to still hang out there. Ethel is referred to as "The Lady In Blue", for often wandering around in a blue dress.
In 1972 Orville & Audrey Orr purchased The Buxton Inn after they heard it might be demolished. They restored the buildings over the last few decades & we had the privilege of speaking with Orville for a while, who we unexpectedly met in the restaurant room on the main floor. He was quietly sitting by himself reading the paper, & after greeting us in a friendly manner, Orville proceeded to tell us several of his own stories about the inn. It was an awesome experience & we give unending credit to Orville & Audrey for their love of The Buxton Inn & its history. It has since been sold & is under new management.
Granville had population booms with the building of Denison University in 1831, a large grain mill, & the railroad. Many of the 1800s buildings on the side streets & secondary roads in town survived & are now on the National Register Of Historic Places. The train station from the Toledo & Ohio Central Railroad was built in 1880. It has been restored & sits at 425 South Main St (SR 661). Granville's mill is still in operation & runs a general store across from the train station.
The Granville Inn, across the road from The Buxton Inn, was completed in 1924 & is also reportedly haunted. Ohio Historical Marker #23 - 45 at the intersection of Broadway & Main St (SR 661 & County Hwy 539) tells the story of The Licking Company & early settlers. Another neat Ohio Historical Marker is #21 - 45 on South Main St next to The Old Colony Burying Ground where most of the early settlers of Granville were buried. The town is a great trip for anyone who would like to spend a few hours or even a day or two visiting many different historical locations.
Providence, OH - (1836 - present mill & canal town mostly abandoned over time but later repopulated)
Classification: historic town
Location: Providence Township, Lucas County & Grand Rapids Township, Wood County - On Old US 24 (Lucas County Rd 53) at the intersection of Providence - Neapolis Swanton Rd
Peter Manor (1778 - 1847) settled in the area in 1816. He was a fur trader who previously operated a trading post for the Northwestern Fur Company. Peter built a saw mill in 1822 next to the Maumee River & expanded it with a grist mill in 1835. He platted the town of Providence in 1837 & had to sell off his mill to the state in 1838 during construction of the Miami & Erie Canal. Most of the 88 plats in the town, which were on five streets, were bought up & the town started to grow. Unfortunately a devastating fire swept through the business district in 1846.
Peter Manor died the next year while in the process of rebuilding his mill. Isaac Ludwig (1813 - 1906) & his wife Christenia (Ness) Ludwig (1819 - 1903) purchased the mill & completed its construction. Providence was hit by the cholera epidemic in the early 1850's & the population decreased again. Then it lost its post office which ran from 1836 - 1868. The town never had a railroad station & the closing of the canal was pretty much the last straw for Providence. Lucas County removed it from their recording list in 1928, basically turning it into a ghost town at the time.
With the success of Grand Rapids on the other side of the Maumee River in Wood County, the Providence area was never totally abandoned. The construction of Providence Metropark & its historic nostalgia made Ludwig Mill & former canal a neat tourist attraction. Although it was annexed into Grand Rapids, Providence has basically regained its separate town status since then. It's a populated place in Lucas County for census purposes & is listed on some maps as a current town.
There are lots of remnants left from the old town. The Ludwig's Mill is restored & has a general store in Providence Metropark at 13827 Old US 24 Grand Rapids, OH 43522. It's open from May to October, Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. On Sundays they do full demonstrations of the mill operations from 1 - 4 p.m. & run a canal boat that passes by the abandoned Miami & Erie canal lock #44. There are also a few other old buildings in the Providence Historic District. Isaac & Christenia Ludwig were buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery on Bailey Rd off of Providence Neapolis - Swanton Rd, about 3 miles north of town.
Location: City Of Marietta, Washington County - Exits off of I-77
Marietta was founded in 1788 at the confluence of the Muskingum & Ohio Rivers as the first permanent settlement in the state, & the first U.S. settlement west of the original 13 colonies. The town quickly grew to be one of the most important in Ohio history. On top of being a river town, Marietta was a major transportation hub with several cargo & passenger railroad stations in the mid 1800s to mid 1900s.
Ohio Historical Marker #14 - 84 at 428 Fort St tells the tale of Meriwether Lewis's arrival in the area on his way to meet up with William Clark for their great expedition of the Northwest Territory. Marker #20 - 84 at 601 Front St & the Ohio River Museum has info about the Underground Railroad on the Muskingum River. Ohio Historical Marker #11 - 84 at 601 Second St has a story about the Northwest Ordinance of 1787.
There are also a ton of historical buildings in Marietta including the Anchorage House on Putnam Ave. It was built in 1854 - 1859 & is said to be haunted by the ghost of Eliza (Whipple) Putman (1809 - 1862) who lived there & hosted lavish parties. Another interesting home, The Castle, is now on the National Register of Historic Places. It was built in 1855 & purchased by John Newton Esq. who was the owner of the Marietta Bucket Factory. The Castle is supposedly haunted by the ghost of Jessie (Davis) Lindsay. She lived there 85 years & died in 1974. It opened for tours in 1994. The Lafayette Hotel & a few other buildings also have reported hauntings.
Roscoe, OH (Roscoe Village) - (1816 - present canal town abandoned over time but is now a restored community)
Classification: historic town
Location: City Of Coshocton, Coshocton County - On N Whitewoman St off of SR 541 (Chestnut St)
The formerly mostly abandoned Roscoe Village has been restored & annexed into the city of Coshocton which was once its rival directly across the Muskingum River. Roscoe was originally called Caldersburg, settled by James Calder in 1816. James was a merchant whose business failed in Coshocton. After building his cabin, James had a 24 x 50 log tavern & hotel built on the land & platted Caldersburg with 67 lots. Another brick tavern was built in 1821 & the first business opened in 1825. Caldersburg had a post office from 1825 - 1831.
The town's boom hit when the Ohio & Erie canal arrived. Construction began in 1827 & was completed in 1830. A church & a new post office were built in 1831, the same year the town changed its name to Roscoe, after William Roscoe, a popular English author. The Walhonding Canal was constructed from 1836 - 1842. It stretched northwest to the edge of Coshocton County & connected to the Ohio & Erie Canal at Roscoe. When it was completed, Roscoe became one of the most important shipping centers on the entire canal system in Ohio. Many of the townspeople would come out to greet new boat arrivals. In the 1840s Roscoe had 5 dry goods stores, 2 saw mills & flour mills, 2 grocery stores, a grain warehouse, & every other kind of business that a modern towns had in that era.
Unfortunately Roscoe lost its railroad hopes as the city of Coshocton was chosen for a stations on the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad & the PCC & St. Louis Railroad. Roscoe's worst fear came in 1913 when its canal system was almost totally destroyed in the massive flood that year. The town continued to lose population over the next few decades & the post office was disbanded in 1961. A few years later, Edward & Francis Montgomery started efforts to restore the aging businesses & homes in Roscoe. The Roscoe Village Foundation was formed which did an awesome job restoring the historic district! Although Roscoe is in the city of Coshocton these days, it still has its own identity & small town charm.
Zoar, OH (Zoar Village) - (1817 - present farming town with less residents than in the past)
Classification: historic town
Location: Lawrence Township, Tuscarawas County - On SR 212 at the intersection of Dover Zoar Rd
Zoar was founded by German immigrants who left Germany due to religious persecution from the Lutheran Church. Joseph Bimeler (1778 - 1853) was a pipemaker, teacher, the leader of the group, & founded Zoar along with 300 other settlers in 1817. The group was called The Society of Separatists of Zoar. They purchased 5,500 acres of land & paid for much of it by helping construct the Ohio & Erie Canal in the 1820s. The town name Zoar means a sanctuary from evil.
In 1898 the villagers voted to disband the Society of Separatists & the town's land was divided up between the remaining residents. Today, Zoar has 10 restored buildings from the original village including the general store, the number one house, garden & greenhouse, bakery, tin shop, wagon shop, blacksmith shop, dairy, & the kitchen & laundry. There are also several other historical buildings & residences in town. The Zoar Village State Memorial site is managed by the Ohio Historical Society & The Zoar Community Association. The general store & visitors center is at 198 Main Street (SR 212) Zoar, OH 44697. Joseph Bimeler was buried in the Zoar Cemetery at the end of 7th Street with many other early pioneers.
Clifton, OH - (1833 - present farming & mill town with little growth)
Location: Miami Township, Greene County & Green Township, Clark County - At the intersection of SR 343 & SR 72 (Springfield Jamestown Rd.)
Classification: historic town
Disgruntled that the Greene County seat was given to Xenia instead of Alpha, founded by the same family, Clifton was later founded by Owen Davis (1751 - 1818) & Laticia (Phillips) Davis (1750 - 1824) & their daughter & son-in-law Catherine (Davis) Whiteman (1775 - 1852) & General Benjamin Whiteman (1769 - 1852). Benjamin became a general in 1805 & served in the War of 1812.
In Clifton, Owen Davis built a mill & Benjamin Whiteman built a tavern, trading post, & a distillery in the first decade of the 1800s. The town quickly drew more settlers & was platted with 32 lots in 1833 by Timothy Bates & Bennet Lewis (1802 - 1876). They also donated land for the first church in Clifton & enlisted the services of a local carpenter, Abdael Kiler (1810 - 1891), to construct houses. He built 14 houses in summer of 1833 which were all bought that year. The town itself was said to be platted "square with the world". We're not exactly sure what that means, but if you take a closer look at it on the map, it's easier to see why they said that. The name Clifton came from the rugged cliffs surrounding the Little Miami River in that area, sometimes reaching around 80 feet high. In its early days, Clifton had a blacksmith, saw mill, flour mill, a doctor, and a general store.
The town missed the railroad boom in the 1840s when the closest one was run through Yellow Springs 3 miles to the west, which was the first reason the population didn't grow larger. The second reason came in 1849 when Clifton suffered from the worst Cholera epidemic of any town in Ohio based on its size. Half of the residents perished from it. Clifton bounced back some though & by 1918 the community had a town hall, jail, school, two stores, three churches, and an opera house that was fit to seat up to 500 people, good enough for a town twice its size. Clifton's population was 152 in the 2010 census, far less than what its peak once was.
The town still has lots of old historical buildings including Benjamin & Catherine Whiteman's original stone house & a restored mill on the same site as the one Owen Davis built. The current mill was originally built by Isaac Preston (1868 - 1950). The Davis family, Whiteman family, Abdael Kiler, & Isaac Preston are all buried in Clifton Union Cemetery on Tanyard Rd with relatives & many other early settlers.
Columbia, OH (East End) - (1788 - present river, farming, & railroad town with a ghost town within the current community)
Classification: historic town
Location: City of Cincinnati (formerly Spencer Township), Hamilton County - On Riverside Dr (US 52 / Kellog Ave) near the intersection of Wilmer Ave
Columbia was founded on November 18, 1788 by Revolutionary War veteran Major Benjamin Stites (1734 - 1804) who purchased 20,000 acres of land next to the mouth of the Little Miami River. He traveled with a group of 26 settlers down the Ohio River from Pennsylvania & started the first town in Hamilton County a month before Cincinnati (Losantiville) was settled. Columbia also went by the name of Turkey Bottom because of the 2 mile wide valley & fields next to the Ohio River that had an abundance of turkey & other game birds.
The town was initially just a cluster of log cabins around a few block storage houses, but it quickly grew to have 50 houses, a mill, & a school in 1790. The school was the first one in Ohio & the first school west of the original 13 colonies. It was run by John Reily (1763 - 1850), who was also a Revolutionary War veteran, as were most of the other men in the original group. The Columbia Baptist Church congregation also formed in 1790. They built the first church in Hamilton County in 1792. Rev. John Smith (1735 - 1824) was its minister & went on to be one of the first U.S. Senators from Ohio, serving from 1803 - 1808.
The biggest stories surrounding Columbia in the 1800s are that of its advancement of being a transportation hub. The only ways to get there in the early days were by canoe or flat boat on the Ohio River. Columbia had one of the earliest post offices in Ohio which ran by boat & horseback from 1819 - 1874. In 1835 the Anderson Turnpike wagon road connected Columbia with Cincinnati & Chillicothe. Then in 1841 the Little Miami Railroad swept through town. The Cincinnati, Georgetown, & Portsmouth Railroad had a line laid off of that in 1877 with the junction starting in Columbia & a train station on Carrell St. Cable cars were installed in 1890 & were operated by the Columbia Street Railway Co. The center of town moved north into the Tusculum hills due to flooding concerns of living near the river & the fact that Columbia flooded several times in the 1800s.
By 1900 Columbia acquired the name of East End, referring to it as the eastern edge of Cincinnati. Back then Columbia had several grocery stores, three hardware stores, two hotels, saloons, a bank, theater, a restaurant, drugstore, & many other small businesses. The former Little Miami Railroad was bought out by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1870. They had a station built on Torrence Rd off of Riverside Dr in 1907. It closed in 1933 & what's left of it still sits on the railroad tracks between Riverside Dr & Columbia Parkway. In 1925 E.H. Lunkenheimer, a prominent local business man, donated 204 acres for an airport with the condition that it be named after him. Lunken Airport is still in operation on Wilmer Ave. The town had another post office from 1927 - 1957.
The old site of the Columbia Baptist Church & cemetery is across from Lunken Airport with parking in a small gravel lot off of Wilmer Ave. There are a few historical markers for the original town of Columbia in the cemetery where most of the early settlers were buried. A large column was built by the Baptist congregation in 1889 to commemorate their story. All four sides of the base of the column are engraved with info about them. In 1953 during the 150 year anniversary of Ohio's statehood, a marker was placed at the front of the cemetery that tells the tale of Columbia's early years.
Some other points of interest are original homes from the area including the Hezekiah Stites house (Benjamin's son), built in 1835 at 315 Stites Ave, The James Morris house built in 1804 at 3644 Eastern Ave, & the Kellogg house built in the 1830s at 3811 Eastern Ave. The Columbia - Tusculum Historic District also operates a historic homes tour of the Victorian Era houses that were constructed in the Tusculum hills in the late 1800s & early 190's. Another interesting sight is the Spencer Township Hall (township now defunct) that was built in 1860 at 3833 Eastern Ave. These days Cincinnati claims that Columbia - Tusculum is its oldest neighborhood, despite Columbia having a history all its own.
Fowlers Mills, OH - (1834 - present farming & mill town with less residents than in the past)
Classification: historic town
Location: Munson Township, Geauga County - On Fowlers Mill Rd near the intersection of Mayfield Rd (SR 322)
Fowlers Mills was named after two brothers, Hiram Fowler (1800 - 1879) & Milo Fowler (1803 - 1880), who built a grist mill next to the Chagrin River in 1834. There were many other mills in the area in the 1830s including a saw mill & a wool mill that the Fowler's traded their grist mill for. The town had a post office from 1834 - 1893, a hotel, township hall, & several stores, schools, & churches over the years. The Fowler's grist mill changed ownership a bunch of times & stopped production in 1966.
Billie & Rick Erickson bought & restored the mill in 1989, making it the last surviving mill in Geauga County. It's open Wednesday - Sunday with tours on Saturday & Sunday. The mill can produce 700 pound of flour per hour which is sold to local markets & nationally by mail-order. Ohio Historical Marker #7 - 28 tells the story of the Fowlers Mills Historical District. The Fowler's house, which was built in 1840, still stands next to the mill. A couple other points of interest are The Disciple Church built in 1842 & the last school in town that was built in 1913. Fowlers Mills Cemetery sits on the north side of town on Fowlers Mill Rd. Hiram & Milo Fowler were buried in Fowler Cemetery on Haskins Rd about 16 miles south of Fowlers Mills in Bainbridge Township, Geauga County.
Location: City of Zanesville, Muskingum County - Exits off of I-70 & US 40 (National Road)
Zanesville was named after Ebenezer Zane (1747 - 1811) who blazed Zane's Trace, an early pioneer road that went from Wheeling, West Virginia to Marysville, Kentucky. The town of Zanesville was platted in 1799 by Ebenezer's son-in- law John McIntire (1759 - 1815) near the confluence of the Muskingum & Licking Rivers on land that was basically his marriage dowry. John also operated a hotel & a ferry. Zanesville grew quickly with its good location & started booming with the completion of the Muskingum River Navigation System in 1841.
Ohio Historical Marker #9 - 60 near a park on Main St next to the Y Bridge tells the story of the locks. They were large enough to accommodate newer steam boats & trade around the area flourished. The Y Bridges are highlighted by Ohio Historical Marker #3 - 60 at the "3 Y's" of the bridge. It's the only bridge in the U.S. with that unique shape.
In the mid - late 1800s, Zanesville had a second population boom with an extensive railroad system going through town. There were several train stations over the decades. The Zanesville Terminal Railroad Station at the corner of 3rd St & Market St was built in 1917 & is currently used for offices. It closed in 1968, was restored in 1989, & is on the National Register Of Historic Places. Another station that was on the Wheeling & Lake Erie Railroad sits at the corner of Linden Ave & McIntire Ave. Zanesville also had lots of pottery shops which opened up after clay was found in the region. Ohio Historical Marker #16 - 60 on Linden Ave in front of the Roseville Pottery building has info about the company & industry. There are also a few other Ohio Historical Markers in town.
Point Pleasant, OH (1813 - present river town with less residents than in the past)
Classification: historic town
Location: Monroe Township, Clermont County - On US 52 at the intersection of SR 232
Point Pleasant was founded in 1813 by Joseph Jackson (1774 - 1841) who later moved to Indiana. The town is most know for being the birthplace of Ulysses S. Grant (1822 - 1885), the general of the Union troops in the Civil War & 18th president of the U.S. from 1869 - 1877.
His parents Jesse Grant (1794 - 1873) & Hannah (Simpson) Grant (1798 - 1883) rented their home in Point Pleasant for $2 a month. In the 1930's the house was moved from its original location near the Ohio River because of concerns about the possibility of floods. It took a river barge tour to several cities around the country. After that, the house went on a train ride to Columbus, OH where it was displayed at the Ohio State Fairgrounds before returning back to Point Pleasant in 1936 to the spot where it now sits. Grant's Birthplace Home is open for tours Wednesday - Saturday 9 a.m - noon & 1 - 5 p.m. April through October 31st. Ohio Historical Marker # 5 - 13 is in the front yard of the house & tells its story.
Grant Memorial Church on SR 232 was built in 1868 & towers over the other buildings in town. Grant Memorial Bridge on US 52 was built in 1927 & is highlighted by Ohio Historical Marker # 4 - 13. Besides all of the Grant locations, Point Pleasant also has an old one room schoolhouse that sits on SR 756, east off of SR 232. Point Pleasant Cemetery is on Point Pleasant Cemetery Rd north of the church & is a pretty sight to see on top of a big hill. The post office ran from 1826 - 1983.