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

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Bern Township, Athens County - On Rt. 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 1800's as a farming community. Their daughter Ann Eliza Broadwell (1846 - 1931) turned into a prominent landowner & 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 abandonedSewellsville, OH (Union) - ( early 1800's - mid 1900's farming, business, & coal town abandoned over time)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Kirkwood Township, Belmont County - On Rt. 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 it's own relatively thriving town that started out as a farming community in the first decade of the 1800's. 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 it's own 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 1900's 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 towns land & when coal production stopped most of the remaining residents probably had to leave & find work elsewhere.

Shawnee, OH - (1872 - present coal mining & railroad town slowly abandoned over time)

Classification: semi - ghost town

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

It was the largest town in Perry County for decades but keeps getting smaller as more people move away & now has just a fraction of it's peak population which was 655 in the 2010 census. Main Street looks like a brick town from the late 1800's to early 1900's 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 the area & competition from the chain department stores in nearby towns.

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

Classification: semi - ghost town

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

Cheshire was settled in the early 1800's & became a town in the 1820's 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 it's biggest resource 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 it's construction. The residents of Cheshire were exposed soot raining down from the power plant smokestacks & some suffered unhealthy side effects.

Rather than face numerous lawsuits, the power plant proposed a buyout of the town in 2002 & offered the residents money to move out of Cheshire. Some moved & 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. The town is worth taking a trip to & maybe learning a lesson from so history doesn't repeat itself elsewhere.

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 St. Mary's Rd. & Old State Highway 47 off of U.S. Route 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 1800's Dawn had a forge, tile factory, general store, blacksmith, doctor, church, & a two story school (Richland Township #4). The population declined over the 1900's as the town lost it's businesses & the train station.

Dawn still has a small old church on Greenville St. Mary's Rd. on the south side of town. There's 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. 

Congo, OH - (1891 - present coal mining & railroad town slowly abandoned over time)

Classification: semi - ghost town

Location: Monroe Township, Perry County - On Scenic Rd. SE (County Rd. 68)

Congo hit the map when the coal mining started & 40 houses were built for the employees. The ownership & management of the mines changed several times over the decades which seemed to keep the town from moving forward & growing at times. It never had a big population & has been getting smaller since the mines shut down in 1954. Congo had it's own post office from 1892 - 1959. There are some abandoned buildings, old foundations, & smaller remnants in the area.

Ohio ghost town Ruggles Ashland County history travel abandonedRuggles Center, OH - (1820's - present farming town abandoned over time)

Location: Ruggles Township, Ashland County - On U.S. 224 at the intersection of Ohio Rt. 60

Classification: semi - ghost town

Ruggles Center was settled in 1823 by Daniel Beach (1785 - 1862) & his wife Lorinda Beach (1788 - 1856) who were farmers from Connecticut & had five children. Daniel was a veteran of the War Of 1812 & became a justice of the peace in Ruggles Township. The township was named after the land surveryor Almon Ruggles (1771 - 1840), also from Connecticut.

The town was originally in Huron County but split from it in 1846 to make part of Ashland County. Ruggles Center had a grocery store, blacksmith shop, shoe maker, two churches, two doctors, & a school. It also had a train station on the Cleveland, Columbus, & Cincinnati Railroad, & a post office that ran from 1828 - 1904. In 1878 Charles Crittenden (1845 - 1932) built the Castle Hill Crittenden House that still sits on U.S. 224 about .5 miles west of U.S. 250. It's currently on the National Register Of Historic Places.

The one room schoolhouse which was in operation prior to 1900 was moved across the street from it's original location & is on U.S. 224 in the middle of town. Daniel & Lorinda Beach are buried in the Ruggles Township Cemetery on U.S. 224 with many other early families. There's also lots of other old buildings, barns, & structures around Ruggles Center including the abandoned Circle H / Benson Motel on US 250 just north of Rt. 224. It's been closed since the late 1990's or early 2000's.

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 Rt. 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 it's first church in 1845. The Abbott's 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 1800's. 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 1870's 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. & Rt. 657 (Marion Rd. NW) across from the ancient looking Congregational Church which is no longer in use. 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 Rt. 657.

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 side off of St. Rt. 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's 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's also several other abandoned buildings & old store fronts in the area.

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

Classification: semi - ghost town

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

Olive Furnace was built near 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 Cival 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 were purchased by the furnace owners. Most of the early roads in the township were built & maintained by the furnace company. Besides 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.

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