Location: Vinton Township, Vinton County - On Arbaugh Rd. near the intersection of County Highway 38 (Eakins Mill Rd.)
The town was settled in 1832 by Joseph Arbaugh (1799 - 1869) & Susannah (Nelson) Arbaugh (1809 - 1855). Joseph had four children that were born in Meigs County from a previous marriage with Mary "Polly" (Conner) Arbaugh, who died a few days after their last child was born. He married Susannah Nelson in 1829 & had nine more children born in Vinton County.
The covered bridge on Eakins Mill Rd. (called Arbaugh, Eakin's Mill, or Geer's Mill Bridge) was built in 1871 at a cost of $800. It provided an easy way to transport goods & people across Raccoon Creek & is the oldest surviving covered bridge in Vinton County. A post office ran from 1890 - 1918 & the old Arbaugh Cemetery is a couple of miles to the northeast (as the crow flies) on Township Highway 26 (McCartney Cemetery Rd.). Some of the Arbaugh's descendants are also buried in Radcliff Cemetery about 3 miles south on Radcliff Cemetery Rd. off of St. Rt. 160.
Thanks to Timothy Hess for the lead on Arbaugh & providing some of the info!
Hope Furnace, OH - (1854 - late 1930's iron furnace & mining town destroyed during the construction of Lake Hope State Park)
Classification: small town
Location: Brown Township, Vinton County - On State Rt. 278 north of Zaleski
Hope Iron 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 station on the Big Sand Railroad. Hope also had a general store, a school & dozens of homes. The town hit it's peak population at around 300 in 1870. Many residents left when the furnace stopped production in 1875 but some stayed. Hope's post office ran from 1865 - 1890. The last few residents left before the late 1930's when construction of Lake Hope & the future state park began.
The furnace is near the northeast corner of the lake off of Rt. 278. It was listed on the National Register Of Historic Places in 1973 & is highlighted by Ohio Historical Marker #1 - 82. The one room schoolhouse has been restored & is used as a meeting hall. It sits in the forest off of one of the hiking trails & the last church is abandoned on Wheelabout Rd. south of town off of Rt. 278. Lake Hope has lots of recreational activies to do. There's more info on their website parks.ohiodnr.gov/lakehope.
Ingham Station, OH (Ingham) - (1856 - 1910's coal & railroad town abandoned when mines shut down)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Brown Township, Vinton County & Waterloo Township, Athens County - Southwest of Rockcamp Rd. where it meets King Hollow Trial & the railroad path at a Y intersection (same parking spot as King's Station in Athens County)
Ingham Station (sometimes just called Ingham) is the town between Moonville & King's Station on the same railroad line. It's about a mile hike taking the railroad path to the southwest at the Y intersection. The town was built on land owned by W. J. & J. M. Ingham. It had a school, general store, post office, train station, coal tipple, & several residences scattered about the area along with a few buildings & structures for the mining industry. There's some foundations, mine shaft entrances, & other remnants along the hiking trails off of the railroad path. Ingham can be accessed from Moonville too but the hike is much longer. Waymarking.com has a nice listing for Ingham with GPS coordinates for many of the buildings & mine shaft entrances.
Moonville, OH - (1856 - 1947 coal mining & railroad town abandoned when mines shut down)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Brown Township, Vinton County - In Zaleski State Forest along the old railroad path that crosses Hope - Moonville Rd.
Moonville has been the most talked about & most popular ghost town in the state for a while now. Some visitors make a yearly pilgrimage to the site & are awed every time by standing in front of & walking through the nearly completely intact abandoned railroad tunnel that once had speeding trains rolling through it. The tunnel sits on the old railroad track bed heading East from Hope Moonville Rd. A new wood bridge crossing Raccoon Creek (world's longest creek) where the train trestle had been torn out was constructed in 2016 with funds acquired from the state & raised by the Moonville Rail Trail Association. They hope to build more bridges along the rail trail & reconnect the nearby ghost towns of Ingham & Kings Station further East on the same railroad line.
Samuel Coe (1813 - 1883) donated land for a train station on the Marietta - Cincinnati Railroad (later bought by the B&O) in 1856 so he could move coal & clay off his property more easily to sell it. The town is always said to have been named after a Mr. Moon who operated a general store nearby. Unfortunately we were unable to locate any genealogy records on him. There was also a school run by Addie & Martie Coe, a tavern, hotel, & several residences that were scattered around the woods. The official population was never much more than 100 residents, even during it's boom days, but many of the miners & railroad workers commuted from surrounding towns & travelers would sometimes stay for a night if the train they were on stopped at the station.
With no roads going through the rough terrain & densely forested area, the railroad tracks were the only way in & out of town.There's several confirmed deaths of people getting hit by trains, jumping off of the trestle as one approached, & jumping off the trains at certain points like where their houses were if they weren't scheduled to stop at the station. There were also a deaths inside the tunnel. One of them was a brakesman that got crushed between train cars & a few people that got hit while walking home. David "Baldy" Keeton (1821 - 1886) who was always described as being a bully is said to haunt the front of Moonville Tunnel. He got into a bar brawl one night at the tavern that was on top of the right side of the tunnel hill. Baldy was found dead on the railroad tracks the next day & reportedly throws pebbles at people from the top of the front tunnel entrance to let them know he's there. David is buried in Keeton Cemetery in Lake Hope State Park off of Rt. 278.
Moonville was doing well up through the 1880's but a bad smallpox epidemic in the 1890's lead to a major population decrease & the all the mines shut down over the next couple of decades. There wasn't many residents by the 1920's & the last family left in 1947. From the railroad path on Hope - Moonville Rd. the town was in the opposite direction of the trestle, about 500 yards from the tunnel & past the next creek crossing. Portions of old buildings & one of the train yards were still intact up until around the 1970's but all have since disappeared.
The road to Moonville Cemetery is off of Hope - Moonville Rd. up a steep hill a few hundred feet from the old railroad track bed. Many of the Coe family members are buried there. The dug out foundation of their home is next to where the railroad bed crosses Hope - Moonville Rd. There's also several electric poles that once powered the town & other remnants along the railroad path.
Oreton Station, OH (Aleshire) - (1853 - 1950's coal, railroad, & iron furnace town slowly abandoned over time)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Vinton Township, Vinton County - On Rt. 160 about 5 miles north of State Rt. 32
A good parking spot is right next to the only building that's still intact. It's the brick safe of the general store that was operated by David Eberts (1872 - 1961) who managed the New York Coal Co. in the 1930's & 40's. The coolest structure in the ghost town is currently being overtaken by nature. It's a 17 train car length passing siding that was between the railroad tracks. It's along the left side of the trail heading west from the parking spot. There's also some interesting smaller structures & remnants on the hiking trails accessible from the parking area. Most of the trails lead to mine entrances.
Before the New York Coal Co. arrived, the land was owned by C. K. Davis who operated the Alma Cement Co. in nearby Wellston, OH. After the New York Coal Company left, the mines were run by the Sunnyhill Coal Co. & lastly, the Peabody Coal Co. Oreton quickly hit it's boom days after construction of the Eagle Iron Furnace in 1852. The residents mined iron for the furnace, coal, shale, & small amounts of silver. What's left of the toppled over furnace sits next to a gravel access road on the opposite side of Rt. 160 from the brick safe. It had a post office from 1854 - 1858. The Eagle Tunnel, that the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway went through, is still intact but is closed off with concrete. The last train rolled through in 1930.
Oreton had 800 - 900 residents & workers at it's peak with about 70 houses, a small school, & a church but didn't have a cemetery, probably because it was a working town that most people just moved to for jobs. They were buried back on their family farms or in cemeteries of other close towns. David Eberts was buried in Radcliff Cemetery on Radcliff Cemetery Rd. off of Rt. 160 close to St. Rt. 32. His relatives were buried in Radcliff, Beard, Hamden, & Elk Cemeteries. Oreton was totally abandoned shortly after it lost it's post office which was in operation from 1880 - 1950.
It's been reported that the town was originally called Aleshire according to postal records from before 1880 but there isn't much info about the area prior to it being called Oreton. It seems to be a ghost town within a ghost town so to speak. The Aleshire surname was big during the mid 1800's in portions of Meigs, Gallia, & Jackson Counties not far from Oreton. We suspect there was probably an Aleshire family farm & cemetery somewhere in the vicinity that was either simply lost over time or destroyed by the mining industry. Oreton is definitely one of the most underrated ghost towns in Ohio!
Puritan, OH - (1909 - present brickyard town with fewer residents than in the past)
Classification: semi - ghost town
Location: Clinton Township, Vinton County - On Rt. 160 2 miles east of Hamden
Puritan first hit the maps in 1909 when the Puritan Brick Plant opened for business. The company purchased 980 acres of land in the area. They also operated two coal mines to fuel the brick ovens & a white shale mine for brick & cement ingredients. The owners paid for over a mile of train tracks to be laid, called the Puritan Railway, to haul bricks to other towns & companies. The tracks connected to the B & O Railroad that ran through nearby Hamden & many other Ohio towns during that time.
The plant employed around 100 workers & was capable of producing 100,000 bricks every day. It was later bought out by the McArthur Brick Co. who kept it in operation until the early 1960's. What's left of the decaying plant & brick ovens sits in the woods on the south side of Rt. 160 across from the parking lot of the church next to Patton Rd. There's also an old abandoned schoolhouse on the north side of Rt. 160 next to that same church. The Puritan Cemetery, which pre-dates the brick plant, is at the end of Puritan Rd. It's the first right turn off of Patton Rd. when traveling from Rt. 160.
Thanks to Steve Massie for providing the lead on Puritan!
Vinton Furnace, OH - (1854 - 1883 coal mining & iron furnace town abandoned when production stopped)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Elk & Madison Townships, Vinton County - On hiking trails off of Stone Quarry Rd.
It was founded by Clark Culbertson & Company & eventually became a ghost town along with all of the other iron furnace operations in southeast Ohio. A row of small houses was built for the workers & a post office ran from 1854 - 1857. The furnace started blasting in 1854 & ended in 1880. It employed around 100 people who were paid in company store tokens.
Part of the furnace, coke ovens, & the engine house foundation are still visible. The coke ovens were built in Belgium & only installed in a few furnaces around the world. They were made to produce coke out of coal for smelting iron in the furnace better. Unfortunately the coke didn't burn well & production costs ended up being part of the company's demise.
The furnace site isn't easy to get to. Stone Quarry Rd. is a couple of miles east of McArthur, south off of U.S. Route 50. Drive past a limestone quarry to where the road forks off. Take the left fork & around a few bends to a trail that leads to a closed iron bridge in the woods on the right which is actually an abandoned county road. Hike the trail & follow the trail markers until you get to the furnace remnants. It's just a few hundred yards from Stone Quarry Rd.