Ohio ghost town Blackfork Lawrence County history travel abandonedBlackfork, OH - (1818 - present farming, clay mining, & brickyard town nearly abandoned & later repopulated)

Classification: small town

Location: Washington Township, Lawrence County - Near the intersection of Blackfork Firebrick Rd. & Irish Hollow Rd.

Blackfork was settled next to Black Fork Creek by a mix of runaway slaves from the south, native americans, & European immigrants. They were all paid the same wages by the local businesses during a time when racial prejudices were still running rampant in most of the rest of the country. The Union Baptist Church was organized in 1819. It was originally a log cabin structure but was replaced in the late 1800's.

Blackfork's first biggest sources of income were the Blackfork Coal Co. & it's iron furnaces. The Washington Furnace was built in the early 1850's. It was in operation from 1853 until the late 1800's & what's left of it can be found in the woods off a gravel road on the south side of the intersection of Blackfork - Firebrick Rd. & Irish Hollow Rd. The land where the coal mines were got sold to the Cambria Clay Products Company who dealt in clay mining & had a brick making plant. The brickyard also had a rail yard on the Toledo, Cincinnati, & St. Louis Railroad. 

Portions of the old railroad platforms are still visible there & the railroad's tunnel # 2, built in 1882, is about 4 miles south of town under an overpass on Dry Ridge Rd. It was built by the residents of Blackfork. The railroad was later bought out by the Cincinnati, Hamilton, & Dayton Railroad, & then sold to the B & O who reconstructed the tunnel in 1816.

When the brick company went out of business in the early 1960's many of the residents left to find work in other cities. The foundation of Blackfork's general store is still visible & marked by a set of steps close next to Blackfork - Firebrick Rd. Some of the town's residents were buried in Union Baptist Church Cemetery next to the church on Coker Rd. (Ninner Hill). Blackfork had a post office from 1902 - 1985. Others were buried in the Washington Furnace Cemetery south of the furnace on the same gravel road.

Haydenville, OH (1852 - present mining & company store town, the last company town in Ohio)

Classification: small town

Location: Green Township, Hocking County - On Haydenville Rd. off of U.S. Route 33

Peter Hayden (1806 - 1888) was a business man from New York who had recently moved to Columbus. He immediately set out to build his fortune in Ohio with the booming industries of the mid 1800's. Peter founded the town of Haydenville in 1852 with big plans for it's future. He had an iron furnace moved from Hanging Rock, OH by canal to Haydenville in 1856. The Haydenville Railroad Tunnel was also built that same year & is said to be haunted by some of the workers that died during it's construction. It can be found on a trail that goes north out of the cemetery on Howard Rd.

The Hocking Canal provided easy access into town but when Haydenville got a train station on the Hocking Valley & Toledo Railroad, things began to move much faster. Peter Hayden also ran a foundry, bank, hardware store, & a the company store. The station was built in 1903 & currently sits abandoned on the tracks near Wandling Rd. The townspeople built a Methodist Church & a post office in 1870, a school, & also built most of their own houses. Hiring an outside contractor rarely happened. The Haydenville Mining & Manufacturing Co. was formed in 1882 engaging in brick & tile making. The town's other main sources of income were the iron furnace & nearby clay, iron, & coal mines. It was a nice town but a tough life as the people that lived there basically worked for the town, purchased what they could from the company store, & didn't get much more than that out of it. They also took a certain earned pride in that though, being part of a community that made the town their own.

Haydenville & it's industries were hit hard by the Great Depression. The railroad tunnel was abandoned in 1957 & the company went out of business in 1965 giving Haydenville the distinction of being Ohio's last company town. Haydenville's historic district was listed on the National Register Of Historic Places in 1973. Ohio Historical Marker #4 - 37 at 1635 Haydenville Rd. tells much of the town's story. Many of the early residents were buried in Haydenville Cemetery on Howard Rd.

Murray City, OH - (1873 - present coal mining & railroad town slowly abandoned over time)

Classification: small town

Location: Ward Township, Hocking County - On Rt. 78 where it meets Rt. 216

It was named after John Murray Brown (1839 - 1893), an early settler who bought up the land & laid out the town in 1873. He also built a hotel in 1875 for local workers but sold out his interests in the community a few years later to a larger coal company. Brown moved to Somerset, OH, then Columbus, & later Detroit, MI where he died & was buried in Woodmere Cemetery.  

Murray City was incorporated in 1891 & was once one of the largest coal towns in the U.S. with over 2,000 residents & a semi-pro football team in the 1920's, The Murray City Tigers, which is now in the Pro Football Hall Of Fame. The town continues to lose more residents since the mines shut down with a current population of around 450. The train depot has been converted into a museum. 

Thanks to group member Tammy Altman for providing the info on John Murray Brown!

Ohio ghost town Stonelick Clermont County history travel abandoned

Stonelick, OH - (early 1800's - present farming & mill town with little growth)

Classification: small town

Location: Stonelick Township, Clermont County - On U.S. Highway 50 at the intersection of Stonelick - Williams Corner Rd.

The area was settled in 1803 by Henry Allison (1739 - 1826) & his wife Hannah (Jackson) Allison (1756 - 1837). Henry was the brother of Dr. Richard Allison, a Revolutionary War veteran that first settled the nearby town of Boston, now called Owensville. Henry built a mill on Stonelick Creek which was Clermont County's most powerful interior waterway. More families & mills followed so Stonelick Creek quickly grew to have the most mills in the county which mostly comprised of saw mills, grist mills, & whiskey distilleries.

In 1839 the first Catholic congregation in Clermont County was organized where St. Philomena church now stands on Balzhiser Rd. just off of Stonelick - Williams Corner Rd. The current church was built in 1905 on the same spot as the previous ones, a log cabin that burnt down & then a stone church. Stonelick also had few schools over the years, blacksmiths, & several cooperage shops for making barrels for whiskey storage & transportation. The post office ran from 1859 - 1900.

Stonelick Covered Bridge was built on Stonelick - Williams Corner Rd. in 1878 & was Clermont County's last remaining historic covered bridge. It crashed into Stonelick Creek in 2014 during efforts to restore it after being closed from traffic for several years. The rebuilding of the bridge is now complete but it unfortunately isn't nearly as cool as the original one was. Local urban legends surrounded the old bridge in mystery for decades but there's no records or confirmation of anything unusual ever happening there or any reasons for the bridge to be haunted.

There's also the St. Philomena Bridge on Stonelick - Williams Corner Rd. where it crosses Stonelick Creek to the corner of Balzhiser Rd. next to the church. It was built in 1904 by the Champion Bridge Co. & moved to that spot in 1950 when it replaced an old covered bridge. It hasn't been used since 2002 when a new modern bridge was built next to it. The last schoolhouse in town, built in 1898, still sits on U.S. Route 50 east of the Rt. 222 intersection.

Ohio ghost town Hartsgrove Ashtabula County history travel abandonedHartsgrove, OH - (1830 - present farming & merchant town with less residents than in the past)

Classification: small town

Location: Hartsgrove Township, Ashtabula County - At the intersection of U.S. 6 & Rt. 534

Hartsgrove is more of a historical community than a ghost town, but aside from the cars rolling by, being in the town square feels more like the early 1900's than early 2000's. The township is also called Hartsgrove but was originally Gladding Township. In 1806, John Gladding (1782 - 1853) & his wife Mary (Ritter) Gladding (1783 - 1853) came from Hartford, Connecticut & settled a farm next to what today is Rt. 534 between Hartsgrove & Windsor.  Their son Joseph Gladding (1809 - 1866) & his wife Thankful (Norris) Gladding (1798 - 1878) later settled a few miles north near Hartsgrove & had several children. Half of the township was a wedding gift to one of their descendants & sometime in the mid to late 1800's the township name was changed from Gladding to Hartsgrove.

The town of Hartsgrove was organized in 1830 with a general store, school, & a post office that ran from 1830 - 1905. Today the town square has a restored general store, the last one room schoolhouse, an old church, a U.S. Presidents museum at the Hartsgrove Emporium, & a nice small park in the middle of it all. It's a great place for a day trip with lots of things to do. John & Mary Gladding were buried in Windsor Township Cemetery about 5 miles south of Hartsgrove on Rt. 534. Joseph & Thankful Gladding were buried with several of their ancestors in Hartsgrove Center Cemetery (Hartsgrove Township Cemetery) off of Rt. 534 just north of the town.

New Hope Ohio Ghost Town Brown County history travel abandonedNew Hope, OH (1810's - present farming town with less residents than in the past)

Classification: small town

Location: Scott Township, Brown County - Next to U.S. Route 68 at the intersection of Main St. & New Hope - White Oak Station Rd. (County Highway 5B)

New Hope was settled by Daniel Holloway (1795 - 1842) & his wife Dillany (Reynolds) Holloway (1795 - 1881). They were already married when they arrived in the area sometime around 1818 & build their cabin on the plateau where New Hope currently sits. The town formed as more families moved there over the next few decades. In 1849 the cholera epidemic swept through New Hope as it did in many other places in Ohio & around the country. 22 of the approximately 100 residents in town perished from the disease.

New Hope started growing again after that & in 1876 the town had a wool mill, saloon, 3 stores,  a school, church, blacksmith, doctor, & a wood frame bridge that crossed White Oak Creek. The population in 1880 was 138 & never boomed due to the lack of a canal or railroad. New Hope's post office ran from 1828 - 1906. Today the town probably has less than 100 residents who we'd like to thank for keeping it clean & preserving their history. We didn't see any abandoned houses & there's many old buildings & structures that are well worth stopping by & taking pics of.

The Old U.S. Route 68 iron bridge, built in 1884, sits abandoned & closed off from traffic crossing White Oak Creek at the end of Main St. Before you get to that point, the old hotel & stagecoach stop built in 1846 is on the left side of the road & a former grocery store & Odd Fellows meeting hall is across the street. A small building marked Scott Township Hall is in the lot behind the town marker on Main St. (maybe a reproduction?). Over on New Hope - McKinley Rd. the Methodist church built in 1851 is still open. A little on down the road is the abandoned Scott Township School built in 1935 & closed in 1971. There's also a few old cemeteries on the outskirts of town. We highly recommend  visiting if you're in the area & expect New Hope to stay on our Top 10 Small Towns list for years to come!

Carbondale, OH (1867 - present mining & railroad town mostly abandoned over time)

Classification: small town

Location: Waterloo Township, Athens County - On Carbondale Rd. at the intersection of 10 Spot Rd.

The town of Carbondale was formed in 1867 as the McClintock & Smith Coal Works were built along with a train station on the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad. It was named after the large amounts of coal in the area. Carbondale once had a bunch of businesses around town including a hotel, two general stores, a high school, gas station, oil wells, & a phone company. It also had a community baseball team that competed against teams from other towns in Ohio. Carbondale had a peak population of 1800 during WWI but is now down to around 100.

Most of the old buildings are gone now but some still remain abandoned & others are down to foundations among tree lined streets & mining roads. There's also several mine shaft entrances around the outskirts of town. In 1991 Peter Jennings did a week long series for ABC's World News Tonight from a front porch in Carbondale. The report was about poverty in America & the lack of economic opportunities in certain regions, a problem which created many of the ghost towns that we have researched.

Thanks to Brett Taylor, manager of Ohio Hiking Trails And Historical Sites. on Facebook for providing the info on Carbondale.

Rendville, OH - (1870's - 1980's coal mining & railroad town mostly abandoned during the Great Depression)

Classification: small town

Location: Monroe Township, Perry County - On Rt. 13. near the intersection of Valley St.

It's currently Ohio's smallest town with 36 residents in the 2010 census. Rendville was established by William P. Rend (1840 - 1915), a cival war veteran who later moved to Chicago & turned into a railroad, coal, & oil tycoon. Rend built whatever his employees needed including grocery stores, saloons, & hotels. The town had around 1,000 residents at it's peak in the 1880's. Rendville was hit hard by the Great Depression & has been losing residents since then. The town lost it's post office in the early 1980's. Many early settlers are buried in Rendville Cemetery at the end of Main St. off of  Rt. 13.

Thanks to our group member Tammy Altman for providing the info on William P. Rend!

Fairhaven Ohio ghost town Preble County history travel abandonedFairhaven, OH - (early 1800's - present farming & stagecoach stop town with no growth)

Classification: small town

Location: Israel Township, Preble County - On St. Rt. 177 at the intersection of Israel - Somers Rd.

Fairhaven became a town sometime around 1833 when it's post office was established. Construction of the Bunker Hill House on St. Rt. 177 took place from 1834 - 1838. It was a stagecoach stop on the Hamilton, Fairhaven, & Richmond Turnpike. The massive building served as a hotel & had a tavern until 1858 when a railroad was built through Camden which took travelers past Fairhaven. In 1862 the Bunker Hill House expanded again with a general store.

Local resident Gabriel Smith was a member of the Friends Of Freedom Society & helped runaway slaves escape from the south during the Cival War. He lived at the Bunker Hill House for a while & hid slaves in his room under a stairway next to the servant's quarters. Smith was buried in Fairhaven Cemetery on Israel - Somers Rd. The Bunker Hill House was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 & is described by Ohio Historical Marker #3 - 68.

Fairhaven has an annual antiques festival there which is usually takes place in June. The general store closed in the early 1900's & the town lost it's post office in 1932. There's also several other old buildings & residences in the area. The Harshman Covered Bridge was built in 1894 on Concord - Fairhaven Rd. about 4 miles north of town. It's 109 ft. long and spans Four Mile Creek. Fairhaven's population was 273 in 1895. It's probably smaller than that today & wasn't included in the 2010 census.

Ohio ghost town Bears Mill Darke County history travel abandonedBear's Mill, OH - (1832  - present mill town with less residents than in the past)

Classification: small town

Location: Adams Township, Darke County - On County Highway 34 (Arcanum Bears Mill Rd.) south of U.S. 36

Bear's Mill was settled by Major George Adams (1767 - 1832) who was a veteran of the Revolutionary War & the War of 1812. The township was named after him & he had a sawmill & corn cracker built on the land in 1832 but died later that year. In 1848 a new mill was built on the same spot by a local contractor Manning Hart (1821 - 1891. He sold it in 1849 to Gabriel Baer (1791 - 1859). Gabriel finished the new mill including the wood siding that still lines the outside today. It's unclear when or why the name of the mill was changed to Bear.

The Friends of Bear's Mill currently operates it, & the mill is the oldest industrial business in Darke County. The mill store sells several kinds of flour & pottery. It's at 6450 County Highway 34, Greenville, OH 45331 - phone # 937-548-5112. They also have a website with more info - bearsmill.com. The town of Bear's Mill was once home to scores of residents who worked in & around the mill. It's still a populated area but more spread out now & most of the big old farms are gone.

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