We research & explore the coolest ghost towns & historic locations in Ohio!
Fallsburg, OH (Fallsburgh) – (1839 – present mill & farming town with little growth)
Classification: small town
Location: Fallsbury Township, Licking County – On SR 79 at the intersection of SR 586 (Pleasant Valley Rd)
The area was first settled by Tomas Meek (1799 – 1864) who opened a blacksmith shop sometime around 1840. He is probably buried in Meek Cemetery on the south side of McDonald Rd, about 7/10 of a mile east of SR 79. Minor McQueen (1785 – 1867) & Sarah (Normam) McQueen arrived next. They were buried in Fallsburg Cemetery on Church St off of SR 79 along with several members of their family. The town of Fallsburg was never laid out or platted, but most of it was built on land that was owned by Silas Bland (1799 – 1882) & Harriet (Cooksey) Bland (1808 – 1886). They were both buried in Perryton Cemetery on Pinewood Trail Rd off of SR 586, about 5 miles south of town.
In its early days, Fallsburg also had a saloon, grocery store, shoe shop, & the first Baptist church was built in 1835. The post office ran from 1839 – 1907 & dropped the “h” from the town name in 1892. A saw mill was constructed around 1840 next to the Wakatomica Creek & later purchased by William Harrison Gregg (1827 – 1901) & Mary Jane (Hull) Gregg (1833 – 1920). They added a grist mill & in 1881 a covered bridge was built on the east section of Frampton Rd off of SR 586 to make crossing the creek easier. It was rebuilt after an arson fire by teenagers in the 1950s. Today it goes by the names of both Greggs Mill or Handel Covered Bridge. The last school in Fallsburg was constructed in 1938 but now sits abandoned on SR 586, just a couple of buildings to the south of SR 79. There are also some members of the Meek family & other early families from the area buried in Fallsburg Cemetery on Church St.
Fleatown, OH (Hog Run) – (early 1800s to late 1800s farming town partially abandoned over time)
Classification: small town
Location: Licking Township, Licking County – On Jacksontown Rd (SR 13) at the intersection of White Chapel Rd
This small town was originally named Hog Run, due to the fact that hogs from local farms would run away to the area at certain times of the year because of a large abundance of beech nuts & acorns. One of the hogs was owned by John Ward (1816 – 1895), who most of the locals started to call “Hog” Ward. Some of the other hogs were owned by Issac Stadden (1770 – 1841) & his wife Catherine (Kleiber) Stadden (1780 – 1870).
On the Stadden’s land was said to be orchards planted by Johnny “Appleseed” Chapman (1774 – 1845) as he had passed through & reportedly did some planting while he was there. Catherine Stadden firmly denied this. She brought three apple tree saplings from Pennsylvania when her family made the move to Hog Run & claimed that most of the orchards in the Licking Valley were from her good trees & seeds. Catherine bitterly disliked Johnny Appleseed & called his trees “shabby saplings”. Many historians however discount her statements & still claim that Johnny did the majority of the planting on the Stadden’s land.
Hog run later got the name of Fleatown when a traveler stayed a night & said that’s what it should be called. It was never incorporated though & didn’t have a post office. Fleatown’s Friendship Church was organized in 1811 & many of the residents were buried in Fleatown (Friendship) Cemetery at the southeast corner of SR 13 & White Chapel Rd. Issac & Catherine Stadden were buried at Bowling Green Cemetery on Marne Rd off of SR 16 on the east side of Newark.
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.
Homer, OH (Burlington) – (1816 – present farming & business town with fluctuating periods of growth)
Classification: small town
Location: Burlington Township, Licking County – On Homer Rd
Homer was laid out in 1816 by John Chonner (1776 – 1853) & Mary Chonner (1775 – 1854). The town was originally named Burlington, but that changed when the post office was established to avoid confusion with the township name. There wasn’t much in the area at the time except for a few log cabins built by early residents of the township. The only roads through town were old hunting & trapping trails that were blazed by natives of the Shawnee, Wyandot, & Delaware tribes. 7 mounds & several earthworks attributed to the ancient Adena tribe were discovered in Homer’s vicinity, & a “giant” skeleton was found in a creek bank that was excavated in 1824. The local natives stated they knew about the earthworks, but had no other knowledge of the ancient tribe which had long since disappeared.
John Chonner was a veteran of the War Of 1812 & enlisted in the Ohio Militia, serving as a 2nd Corporal in a mounted company. After the war, he constructed the first saw mill & first brick house in Burlington Township & also kept busy with farming. In 1823 Owen Owens, who was a preacher from the Welsh Hills Church on Hog Run, established the first church congregation in Homer. Services were held in log cabins & log schoolhouses. Later that same year, James Houck (1873 – 1883) expanded the town’s west side with plots of his farm up for sale for more residents & businesses. Unfortunately James lost a son, his house, & his farm was ravished by “The Burlington Storm”, a horrendous tornado that rolled through town in 1825. Many other homes, farms, & orchards were destroyed & several lives were sadly lost. Homer grew well in the 1820s – 1840s & had all the imaginable nostalgic charm of a small Ohio town of that era. There was a tavern, 3 hotels, a tannery, 2 physicians, a dry goods store, blacksmith & other small merchant shops.
The 1872 Presidential Election put Homer in the national spotlight with the first woman to run for the office. Victoria (Claflin) Woodhull (1838 – 1927), an early women’s suffrage leader & first woman along with her sister Tennessee to open a brokerage firm on Wall Street. Victoria was nominated by the Equal Rights Party. She lost the race against incumbent Republican Ulysses S. Grant & Liberal Republican Horace Greeley, but did receive some votes.
Although it was a bustling community in the mid to late 1800s, Homer suffered a bit of a setback having failed to attract a canal or railroad to create a major population increase. It lagged behind while other towns in the county like Granville & Utica were booming. Factories with good manufacturing jobs in some of the larger towns drew residents away from Homer. Some of the local farms were also struggling to keep up with advances in agricultural machinery. The town’s population in they heyday of the 1880s was around 300 with 2 hotels, 2 blacksmiths, a large school, wagon & cabinet shop, 3 churches, & 2 dry goods stores.
In the 1890s, Homer seemed to be spiraling downhill, but the discovery of local natural gas led to progress in the early 1900s & the hopeful sentiment, “There is gas at Homer”. The Ohio Fuel Supply Company ran pipes from fields in West Virginia to a station in Homer & a main pipe to consumers all the way in Cincinnati. The jobs created a small boom in town & also helped keep other small businesses running in the 1900s.
These days, the Columbia Gas Transmission company still operates in Homer. We have it listed in the small town category, but Homer also has some semi – ghost town remnants. School #2 built in 1909 & #3 built in 1950 still stand on Homer Rd. Both closed in 2008 & are in danger of being demolished. There are several houses that were built in the 1800s around town & a few abandoned homes & businesses. It’s not as busy as it once was, but Homer has proud residents with a past that’s definitely rich in history. John & Mary Chonner were buried in Homer Cemetery on Homer Rd, a large cemetery for a small town, along with James Houck, his family, & many other early settlers & families.
Lock, 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.
Licking County Ohio Ghost Towns Research Resources