Ohio ghost town Broadwell Athens County history travelBroadwell, OH - (mid 1800s - present farming & coal mining town abandoned over time)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Bern Township, Athens County - On SR 329 near the intersection of Sand Rock Rd

It was settled by Henry Broadwell (1809 - 1881) & Anne Eliza (Wainright) Broadwell (1813 - 1890) in the mid 1800s as a farming community. Their daughter Ann Eliza Broadwell (1846 - 1931) turned into a prominent business entrepreneur & donated land for a train station on the Federal Creek Railroad. Broadwell's main source of income was from local coal mines operated by The Federal Coal Co.

Ann married Elijah Homer Bean (1843 - 1923) in 1866 & they later moved out west becoming one of the earliest known families to settle in South Dakota. Broadwell had a post office from 1893 - 1919. It lost a lot of residents after the coal mines shut down & has a neighborhood of abandoned buildings where the center of town was.

Ohio ghost town Sewellsville Belmont County history travel abandoned

Sewellsville, OH (Union) - (early 1800s - mid 1900s farming, business, & coal town abandoned over time)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Kirkwood Township, Belmont County - On SR 800 (Hendrysburg - Freeport Rd) at the intersection of McCoy Rd

Sewellsville sits on a stretch of road that's mostly old abandoned buildings. It was once a relatively thriving town that started out as a farming village in the first decade of the 1800s. The town was originally called Union & was named after the first log cabin meeting hall. It was changed to Sewellsville in 1831, named after Peter Sewell. He was a carpenter, builder, & also became the first postmaster. Sewellsville had a post office from 1834 - 1907. The town also had a church, school, & several small businesses over the years. The population was around 125 in 1900.

Later in the mid 1900s, the local surface coal mining industry may have led to Sewellsville's demise. It gave people jobs at the time but bought up a lot of the town's land. Most of the remaining residents had to leave & find work elsewhere when coal production ended. The last school is at the intersection of SR 800 & McCoy Rd. An impressive looking & old United Methodist Church is on SR 800 next to the town's cemetery. There are also a lot of abandoned houses around the area.

Ohio ghost town Hope Furnace Vinton County history travel abandoned

Hope Furnace, OH - (1854 - late 1930s iron furnace & mining town partially destroyed during the construction of Lake Hope State Park)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Brown Township, Vinton County - On SR 278 north of Zaleski

Hope Furnace was built by Colonel Douglas Putnam (1806 - 1894), who was a wealthy businessman from Marietta & also managed a furnace in Ashland County. It started operating in 1854 & had a train station on the Big Sand Railroad. Hope also had a general store, a school & dozens of homes. The town hit its peak population at around 300 citizens in 1870. Many residents left when the furnace stopped production in 1875. Hope's post ran from 1865 - 1890. More residents moved away before the late 1930s when construction of Lake Hope began. It eventually submerged a large percentage of the town's land. 

The furnace is near the northeast corner of the lake off of SR 278. It was listed on the National Register Of Historic Places in 1973 & is highlighted by Ohio Historical Marker #1 - 82. It's also reportedly haunted by the ghost of a night watchman who died on the premises & can supposedly be seen making his rounds with a lantern on stormy nights. The former one room schoolhouse has been restored & is used as a meeting hall. It sits in the forest off of one of the hiking trails. Hope's last church is abandoned on Wheelabout Rd south of town off of SR 278. Lake Hope has lots of recreational activities to do.

Lake Hope State Park Info - parks.ohiodnr.gov/lakehope. 

Ohio Ghost Town Shawnee Perry County history travel abandonedShawnee, OH - (1872 - present coal mining & railroad town slowly abandoned over time)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Salt Lick Township, Perry County - On SR 93 at  the intersection of SR 155

It was the largest town in Perry County for decades but keeps getting smaller as more people move away. Shawnee now has just a fraction of its peak population & was at 655 residents in the 2010 census. Main Street looks like a brick town from the late 1800s to early 1900s with only a few buildings still in operation. The majority of them are abandoned along with many other small business & homes in the area due to the mining industry leaving & competition from large chain department stores in nearby towns. 

Thanks to group member Brett Taylor, manager of Ohio Hiking Trails And Historical Sites, for providing the listing picture!

Cheshire, OH - (1820s - present farming & mining town partialy abandoned in 2002 during a buyout by the Kyger Creek Power Plant)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Cheshire Township, Gallia County - On SR 554 at the intersection of SR 7 near the Ohio River

Cheshire was settled in the early 1800s & became a town in the 1820s with a post office that started up in 1826. 27 lots were plotted for the town's growth & the first school was built in 1835. Farming was its biggest source of income for several decades as crops were floated on the Ohio River from Cheshire to as far as New Orleans. Coal was later discovered in the area & Cheshire got a train station on the Hocking Valley Railway. It also had a hotel, several stores, a church, flour mill, & a barrel factory.

In 1863, 2500 Confederates on horseback swept through the town during Morgan's Raid. The hotel & school dorm were used to house captured soldiers. In 1913 & 1937 Cheshire was devastated by Ohio River floods but the town survived both times. The James M. Gavin (Kyger Creek) Power Plant was built on the west side of Cheshire in 1975. Several old homes & businesses were demolished for its construction. The residents of Cheshire were exposed to soot raining down from the power plant smokestacks & some suffered unhealthy side effects.

Rather than face numerous lawsuits, the power plant owners proposed a buyout of the town in 2002 & offered the residents money to move out of Cheshire. Some left & some stayed, vowing that they would never leave no matter how much they were offered. More homes & businesses were demolished, but In 2004 Cheshire annexed some property to the north & west in the hopes that the town will have a brighter future. The town's population was 132 as of the 2010 census. Cheshire still has several old buildings in the area.

Ohio ghost town Lock Knox Licking County history travel abandonedLock, OH - (1837 - present farming town with less residents than in the past)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Bennington Township, Licking County & Milford Township, Knox County - On Lock Rd at the intersection of SR 657 (Marion Rd NW)

Lock was settled by Isham Abbott (1799 - 1859) & his wife Lois (Everett) Abbott (1807 - ?) in 1836. Isham had a potash business & laid out lots for the town in 1837, naming it Lock for unknown reasons. A post office was established in 1838 at his store & Lock got its first church in 1845. The Abbotts later moved out of town & Lock didn't grow much over the next few decades without a canal or railroad, although it was still the biggest town in the area.

Washington Hildreth (1829 - 1903) was the most prominent business man in Lock during the late 1800s. He was the last postmaster in town & a member of the Ohio National Guard. An atlas from 1871 shows that Hildreth owned 2 stores, a warehouse, & several lots in town, including Hildreth's Hall, where members of the Order of Good Templars met. Around that time, Lock also had another store, a cooper shop, 3 churches, a school, wagon shop, blacksmith, harness shop, & a shoe shop. The 1870s appear to be the peak of Lock's heyday & the community has been dwindling since then.

The last general store in town, which was built on one of Washington Hildreth's lots, still stands at the intersection of Lock Rd & SR 657. A Congregational Church constructed in 1844 is across the street. There's also an old Methodist Church on Lock Rd east of the center of town. Washington Hildreth & many other early residents were buried in Lock Cemetery south of town on SR 657.

Olive Furnace Ohio ghost town Lawrence County history travel abandonedOlive Furnace, OH (Mount Olive) - (1846 - 1915 iron furnace & farming town mostly abandoned after the furnace operation stopped)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Washington Township, Lawrence County - On SR 93 1/2 mile north of Kimble Creek Rd

Olive Furnace was built next to Olive Creek in 1846 & financed by John Peters, John Campbell (the founder of Ironton, OH), Madison Cole, William Clements, & J.L. Thompson. The furnace provided iron for steel manufacturing during the Civil War & for steel manufacturers in Northern Ohio & other places around the country.

The furnace, coal mines, & the surrounding town (sometimes called Mount Olive) were on 3,600 acres of land that was purchased by the furnace owners. Most of the early roads in the township were built & maintained by the furnace company. Beside the buildings at the furnace, the town also had a blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, company store, church, & a school, as well as a few dozen houses for the workers. The closest railroad station was about 1/2 mile southwest of town on the Cincinnati, Hamilton, & Dayton Railway. The furnace began operation in 1847 & produced an average of nearly 4,000 tons of iron every year until production stopped in 1910. Farming was also a local source of income.

In 1915 the furnace was sold for scrap iron & a lot of it was destroyed. The Olive Furnace post office ran from 1857 - 1915. Now the land is owned by the Mt. Olive Furnace Park Corporation which is accepting donations with plans to reconstruct the furnace. The Mount Olive Community Baptist Church still stands across the road from the remains of the furnace & the Olive Furnace Cemetery is up a hill behind the furnace.

Ohio ghost town Steam Furnace Adams County history travel abandonedSteam Furnace, OH - (1816 - 1826 iron furnace & forge town partially abandoned when production stopped)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Meigs Township, Adams County - On Steam furnace Rd (County Rd 27) south of SR 32

An iron forge was built in 1815 & the furnace was built in 1816 by James Rodgers (1787 - 1860), Andrew Ellison (1755 - 1830), & his son Andrew Ellison Jr. The exact location of the furnace & original town is unknown but there are a couple of cemeteries & a few abandoned houses on Steam Furnace Rd. The ghost town is sometimes referred to as "Old" Steam Furnace, as there is a newer community in the area, but all the old town really had was the furnace, forge, & a general store.

James Rodgers & Andrew Ellison Jr. went on to build many other iron furnaces in Ohio. Rodgers also managed the Brush Creek Furnace for a few years. Some of the Ellison's relatives are buried in Brush Creek Cemetery. The google map below is centered on Steam Furnace Cemetery. There are also several other abandoned buildings & old store fronts in the area, including Turkey Creek Church at the intersection of SR 781 & Lucas Rd.

Ohio Ghost Town Belmore Putnam County history travel abandonedBelmore, OH - (1862 - present farming, mill, & railroad town with less residents than in the past)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Van Buren Township, Putnam County - On Main St off of SR 65

Belmore was platted in 1862 by Wesley G. Montgomery (1813 - 1892) Julia (Plummer) Montgomery (1825 - 1859) with a power of attorney from Julia's parents Benjamin & Mary Ann Plummer, who owned the land at the time. It was initially called Montgomeryville but the name changed in 1868 to coincide with the post office that was named Belmore. The town had 17 plots to start out with, & began to expand with a station on the Cincinnati, Hamilton, & Dayton Railroad in 1869.

In the 1870s, Belmore had a mill, hotel, a couple of grocery stores, & several other small stores & businesses. The population peaked in the 1880s with around 450 residents. Although Belmore was a railroad town, it didn't get any big businesses in the 1900s to make the population boom. A school was built in 1904 & unfortunately was destroyed in a fire in 1958. The railroad station eventually closed, as did the post office in 1964.

These days, Belmore has a newer railroad line running through its center but no train station. A CSX train passed by when we were there in July 2014. The old town hall built in 1908 sits abandoned on Main St near an empty church. There are also several other old abandoned businesses on Main St & the town's cemeteries, East & West Belmore, are on Road Y. It's a cool place to swing by right off of SR 65 with a close-knit community of about 120 residents.

Ohio ghost town Dawn Darke County history travel abandonedDawn, OH - (1854 - present farming, mill, & railroad town with less residents than in the past)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Richland Township, Darke County - On Greenville Saint Marys Rd & Old State Highway 47 off of US 127

Dawn was platted in 1854 by Lewis Wesley Johnson (1824 - 1862) who moved to Ohio from Johnsons Mill, West Virginia. Lewis built a saw mill & was also the town's first postmaster. The post office was originally called Eden when it opened in 1856, but the name changed was changed to Dawn & it ran from 1857 - 1935. When the saw mill in town burnt down, a lumber mill was built on the same spot & later upgraded with a grist mill. It was steam powered & home to the first stationary steam engine in the township.

Luckily the town got a train station on the Big Four Railway (Cleveland Cincinnati, Chicago, & St. Louis). The station was called Nevada & sat on the south side of the railroad tracks in the middle of town. In the late 1800s Dawn had a forge, tile factory, general store, blacksmith, doctor, church, & a two story school (Richland Township #4). The population declined over the 1900s as the town lost its businesses & the train station.

Dawn still has a small old church on Greenville St Marys Rd on the south side of town. There are also a few abandoned houses & an abandoned auction house that was once called Auction City. The back of the lot is set up like a fort with guard towers on the corners made to look like Fort Brier, which was a War Of 1812 fort that was built a few miles southwest of Dawn. 

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