Featuring 144 color photos, along with historical research about the locations, “Abandoned Ohio” was released by Fonthill Media & Arcadia Publishing on October 1st, 2018. It’s packed with history, ideas for road trips, & also makes an awesome birthday or holiday gift!
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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, 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 are 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 brakeman 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 local 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 SR 278.
Moonville was doing well up through the 1880s, but a bad smallpox epidemic in the 1890s lead to a major population decrease & all the mines shut down over the next couple of decades. There wasn’t many residents by the 1920s & 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 1970s, 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 are also several electric poles that once powered the town & other remnants along the railroad path.
Boston Mills, OH (Helltown) – (1806 – 1974 mill & railroad town acquired by the Cuyahoga Valley National Park)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Boston Township, Summit County – On Boston Mills Rd at the intersection of Main St
Boston Mills was settled by surveyors from Connecticut in 1806 who built a cabin on the grounds of what is now the Boston Cemetery. It was originally in Portage County & the township was named Boston after Boston, Massachusetts. The village also got the same name as it was the first in the township. There were several mills in the area including saw mills & paper mills operated by the Cleveland – Akron Bag Company. A post office was organized in 1825 but was discontinued later that year. It reopened in 1832 & ran until 1861.
The town grew with the introduction of the Ohio & Erie Canal in 1827. On top of the mills, it also had a warehouse, two stores, a hotel, school, blacksmith shop, broom factory, & several businesses that dealt in building boats for the canal. After the canal was abandoned, Boston Mills got a train station on the Valley Railroad which kept the area thriving for many more decades.
There are a few stories of haunted places around the town. Boston Cemetery at the end of Main St is said to be haunted, as well as the “Crybaby Bride” on Boston Mills Rd that leads into town, & several other old buildings around the area. There are also stories about the Krejci Dump on Hines Hill Rd containing toxic substances & a government cover-up to stamp down the rumor. It was intensified in 1974 when Boston Mills was designated a national recreation area. Some of the remaining residents were forced out by eminent domain & their houses were demolished as the town became part of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. An urban legend of a giant snake from the reportedly toxic dump roaming around sometimes keeps people out of the woods, plus stories of local groups of cults & satanists who don’t want people to know what they’re doing back there. The “End Of The World” is the name given to the spot where a portion of Stanford Rd abruptly ends & is closed off from traffic.
The Boston Mills Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992 & has a visitors center at the former store on Boston Mills Rd. M.D. Garage next to the visitors center was built in 1946 as a gas & auto service station. It’s restored & houses historical exhibits. Boston Community Church at the corner of Boston Mills Rd & Hines Hill Rd was constructed in 1911 & originally used as a school. A replica train station at the intersection of Riverview Rd (County Rd 9) & Boston Mills Rd is used by the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad which operates rides for local tourism. There are also many old houses in the historic district.
Egypt Valley, OH (Egypt) – (mid 1800s – late 1800s farming & railroad town abandoned when the land was bought for coal mining)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Kirkwood Township, Belmont County – On Salem Ridge Rd & Starkey Rd
It had a few residents as early as the first decade of the 1800s but didn’t become a town until the mid 1800s. Egypt Valley had a school, general store, a train station on the B & O Railroad, & post office from 1852 – 1857. The most popular locations these days are the two cemeteries, Salem & Old Egypt (Circle Cemetery) on Salem Ridge Rd, but there are also several decaying barns & houses in the area, a wood bridge, & remnants along the old railroad path.
Egypt Valley is well known for its ghost stories. Louiza Catharine Fox (1856 – 1869) was engaged to be married with the much older Thomas D. Carr (1846 – 1870), who was a Civil War veteran. They met through Alex Hunter, the owner of a local coal company who they both worked for. Thomas worked in the coal mines & Louiza was a servant in Alex’s house. The engagement between Thomas & Louiza was originally approved by her parents, but they changed their minds when they heard rumors around town about Thomas’s violent side. The marriage was called off & the rumors turned out to be true. He waited in the dark one night next to a road that Louiza used to walk home. She was with her little brother at the time, who Thomas told to go home so he could talk to Louiza. Instead of talking, Thomas kissed Louiza one last time & proceeded to slit her throat with a razor blade. Her little brother saw it happen from a distance & ran home to tell their parents. Thomas got arrested & was the first person hanged in Belmont County in 1870. Louiza is said to still haunt Salem Cemetery & can reportedly be seen or heard crying by her grave.
About a mile down the road from Salem Cemetery is the Old Egypt (Circle) Cemetery which is said to be haunted by the ghost of a truck driver who died in a crash around there. He lost an arm that was never found & the sounds of fingernails tapping on gravestones can supposedly be heard in the cemetery at night. The Old Egypt Cemetery is also reportedly haunted by “devil” dogs that guard it & can be heard howling in the woods nearby at night.
Sprucevale, OH – (1835 – 1870 mill, farming, & canal town abandoned due to lack of economic opportunities)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Saint Clair Township, Columbiana County – On Sprucevale Rd about 3 miles north of Calcutta, OH
In 1835 the Hambleton brothers platted the town of Sprucevale around a small grist mill that they recently purchased. James Hambleton (1788 – 1869) operated the mill & served on the canal board. Charles Hambleton (1790 – 1864) ran the general store & post office. Benjamin Hambleton (1786 – 1869) had a saw mill, oil mill, & another general store. Issac Hambleton (1802 – 1895) managed a wool factory. The Sandy & Beaver Canal was built through town but was badly damaged when the local reservoir broke in 1852. It lost funding & maintenance as railroads in nearby towns had taken over the shipping industry. With no railroad & a dilapidated canal, Sprucevale’s days were numbered. The town had over a dozen homes & twenty families at one time, but everyone left by the end of 1870.
Canal lock #42, also known as Gretchen’s Lock, sits along the banks of Beaver Creek & is supposedly haunted by a girl named Gretchen Gill who died of malaria in Sprucevale. The bridge over Beaver Creek on Echo Dell Rd is said to be haunted by Esther Hale, a bride to be whose groom took off the day before the wedding. As the story goes, Esther was found dead in her home a few months later still wearing her wedding dress.
Echo Dell Rd in Beaver Creek State Park is also the site of Gaston’s Mill which has been restored & opened to the public along with a few other old buildings. The Hambleton’s Mill was restored in the 1970s & is an impressive sight to see on Sprucevale Rd just north of Beaver Creek. Ohio Historical Marker #10 – 15 is about 1/2 mile north of the mill. It marks the spot where gangster Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd met his demise in 1934 when he encountered a large group of federal agents & local police just 3 months after being declared “public enemy #1” by J. Edgar Hoover.
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 fuel 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 US 50. Drive past a limestone quarry to where the road forks off. Take the left fork & go around a few bends to a trail that leads to a closed iron bridge in the woods on the right. It is actually an abandoned county road. Hike the trail & follow the tree markers until you get to the furnace remnants. The ovens are up the hill behind the furnace. Despite being just about 2 miles from US 50, it’s amazing how remote the location seems to be while visiting.
Fallsville, OH – (1848 – 1893 farming & mill town slowly abandoned over time)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Penn Township, Highland County – On hiking trails off of Careytown Rd
Fallsville was founded by John Timberlake who built a stone house & a grist mill next to the impressive waterfall on Clear Creek. In 1825 Simon Clouser (1796 – 1881) & his wife Elizabeth (Duckwall) Clouser (1797 – 1875) purchased the land from Timberlake & moved into the house in 1826. Simon was a farmer & operated the grist mill for people that came from miles around because it was the only large corn grinder in the area. The Auburn Methodist Church congregation was formed with a log church in 1830.
On April, 20 1848 John Timberlake officially platted the town of Fallsville & named it after the waterfall next to the mill which is now part of The Fallsville Wildlife Area. More residents moved into town & Fallsville grew to have 3 streets with 8 houses in town & a few more on the outskirts. The residents thought Fallsville would get a railroad built through it & become a large town but that never happened. A new Auburn Methodist Church was built in 1891 & still stands today. It was the last structure built in town. Fallsville’s last resident was Andrew Payton who died in 1893.
There are also still several foundations in the area along with some other small structures & remnants. Simon & Elizabeth Clouser are buried with their 3 children at Auburn Church Cemetery on Careytown Rd. The waterfall & remnants of the town are off of Fallsville Lane, the gravel road south of Auburn Church. It’s blocked off from traffic but there’s a small parking lot at the front of the road.
To get to the waterfall, keep going straight onto the trail past where the gravel ends on Fallsville Lane. Building foundations & an old horse tank, the only one we’ve ever seen in a total ghost town, are on a trail to the left & heading south at the end of Fallsville Lane. Hunting goes on back there so wear bright colors, be extra safe, & as always, respectful of any other outdoor enthusiasts. The hunters we’ve met were all very nice & even gave us some info on where to look. It’s a cool place to snap some nature photos too.
Fallsville also has a ghost story about a native girl who knocks on doors around town on Christmas Eve. She’s said to be trying to tell local residents the location of a gold treasure buried nearby. The Clouser girls were always described as being very strange too, almost witch-like & some of the locals steered clear of them so to speak.
Oreton Station, OH (Aleshire) – (1853 – 1950s coal, railroad, & iron furnace town slowly abandoned over time)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Vinton Township, Vinton County – On SR 160 about 5 miles north of SR 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 1930s & 40s. There are also some interesting smaller structures, remnants, & mine entrances on hiking trails accessible from the parking area. A 17 train car length passing siding, for loading & unloading between the former railroad tracks, is along the left side of the trail heading west from the parking spot.
Before the New York Coal Co. arrived, most of the land was owned by C. K. Davis who operated the Alma Cement Co. in nearby Wellston, OH. After the New York Coal Co. left, the mines were run by the Sunnyhill Coal Co. & lastly, the Peabody Coal Co. Oreton hit its boom days after construction of the Eagle 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 SR 160 from the brick safe. It had a post office from 1854 – 1858. Eagle Tunnel, that the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway went through, is still intact but is closed off with concrete. The last train rolled through it in 1930.
Oreton had somewhere between 800 – 900 residents at its peak. There was about 50 houses & a one room schoolhouse, but it never had 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 SR 160 close to SR 32. His relatives were buried in Radcliff, Beard, Hamden, & Elk Cemeteries. The town was totally abandoned shortly after it lost its post office which was in operation from 1880 – 1950.
It has been reported that the town was originally called Aleshire, according to postal records from before 1880, but there isn’t much info prior to it being called Oreton. It seems to be a ghost town within a ghost town. However, the Aleshires were a large early Ohio family, mostly living in Meigs & Gallia Counties in the first half of the 1800s, & many early Ohio towns were named after family last names. There are several Aleshire graves in Mound Hill Cemetery in Gallipolis, OH, about 35 miles south of Oreton & a strait shot down SR 160. The closest evidence we have to linking the town of Aleshire to the family surname is a record of an Alonzo Aleshire who was born in Vinton County in 1857. An Essie Alshire (1896 – 1918), spelled wrong or name changed, is also buried in Hamden Cemetery 7 miles west of Oreton. We suspect there may be an Aleshire family cemetery somewhere in the vicinity of Oreton that was either simply lost over time or destroyed by the mining industry.
Kings Station, OH (King Hollow) – (1856 – 1910s coal mining & railroad town abandoned when mines shut down)
Classification: ghost town
Location : Waterloo Township, Athens County – On King Hollow Trail where it meets Rockcamp Rd & the former railroad path at a Y intersection
Kings Station is northeast of Moonville & Ingham on the same railroad line & also had the same fate in becoming a ghost town when coal mining production stopped. Taking the railroad path at the Y intersection of King Hollow Trail & Rock Camp Rd, Kings Station & its impressive wooden railroad tunnel, built in 1855 is approximately 1/8 mile to the northeast.
The town was founded by Silas D. King (1840 – 1909) who owned the land & donated some for a train station on the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad, which was later bought out by the B & O. Silas is buried in Elk Cemetery on N Market St (SR 93) in McArthur. Kings Station had a general store, row of wooden houses, a school, coal tipple, & a post office from 1857 – 1892.
There are a few buildings not far from the tunnel & near the old railroad path that have recently been brought to light by someone that lives in the area. Pictures of 3 wood buildings (at least one probably a house) were shown to Brett Taylor of Ohio Hiking Trails and Historical Sites, who confirmed their location as being in Kings Station.
Thanks to group member Tammy Altman for providing the info on Silas D. King!
Little Egypt, OH (1813 – 1951 farming, mill, canal, railroad, & crossroads town annexed into Walton Hills)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Bedford Township (defunct), Cuyahoga County – On Dunham Rd near the intersection of Tinkers Creek Rd
Little Egypt was named after an odd mound structure on the Gleeson homestead that was once described as being pyramid shaped. The area was purchased by the Connecticut Land Company in 1795. A second land survey was conducted in 1797 during which Captain Joseph Tinker, the lead boatman, drowned with a few other men in what was later named Tinkers Creek. Crude roads were quickly built for travelers & settlers, but no one wanted to move there yet as there was nothing to move to except the land itself. The first settler was Elijah Nobles who made the trip from Connecticut in 1813. He didn’t own any of the land but was given rights to live there by the Hudson family that established Hudson, OH as long as he promised to make improvements. A cabin was built for him at the present day site of Tinkers Creek Road Tavern by his closest neighbors that lived 3 miles away. Elijah didn’t like living so reclusive though & moved in 1814 to what would later become the village of Bedford.
Later that same year, the Comstock family arrived from Connecticut & settled their parcel of land. The Comstock genealogy hasn’t been completely unraveled, as records from the time period are scarce, but Stephen Comstock was the patriarch. He probably married Marie Comstock in Connecticut where their first son Charles was born. Shortly after making it to Ohio, Sarah Comstock was born, the first child of settlers in Bedford Township. Stephen later had a few more children (not sure with who) & at least one other wife after Marie died in 1829. The family was successful in farming, hunting, & fishing, achieving the status of the first permanent settlers of the township.
In 1815 more settlers were making their way from the New England states & a combination saw & grist mill was built on Tinkers Creek that year. The Gleeson family arrived from New York in 1818. Moses Gleeson 1782 – 1868 & his wife Polly (Richardson) Gleeson (1789 – 1870) raised 10 children, all born in Ohio, & became the second prominent family & richest landowners in Little Egypt. They purchased the mill which already had its lumber section converted into more room for grinding grain. Production & sales went very well, so Moses & Polly used the profits to begin their next venture.
They set their sights on building a relatively lavish tavern & inn on the Cleveland – Pittsburgh Stagecoach Rd. The “World’s End Tavern” was constructed on the East side of Dunham Rd, back then called Egypt Rd South of Tinkers Creek. The tavern was two houses built together, one side for the family & the other side for lodgers, aptly named as it was situated on a steep hilltop overlooking Tinkers Creek. Another house was built by the Gleesons for the lockmaster of the Ohio & Erie Canal section that ran through town & opened in 1827. Behind the tavern, they established Gleeson Cemetery on the site of the pyramid shaped mound. Rebecca Gleeson, one of their children that died in infancy, was the first burial there in 1833.
Moses & Polly then built a nice 2 story brick house on the south side of Tinkers Creek in 1840, a steam powered saw mill in what’s now the Hermit’s Hollow Picnic Area in the Bedford Reservation of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. They also constructed a distillery on the modern day grounds of Astorhurst Golf Course. At that time, the Gleesons owned all of the land immediately east & west of Dunham & Egypt Roads.
So as not to overlook some of the history outside of the Gleeson family during the mid to late 1800s, the town also had a one room schoolhouse next to Tinkers Creek, a general store, blacksmith shop, & a tavern called Ma Parker’s Tavern. It was owned by Mary Ann & Cardeo Parker who were from another large family in town. A house was purchased in 1880 to make a new school & a sandstone quarry was built in the late 1880s. Little Egypt was never incorporated & didn’t have a post office, but it could have proudly boasted of its growth in such a small area.
Back to the Gleesons… the family name was changed to Gleason in some of its branches. Clara (Gleason) Carey (1851 – 1938), who was a granddaughter of Moses & Polly, inherited the estate & businesses. She moved into the World’s End Tavern with her husband Dominick Carey, a famous bridge & tunnel builder. Dominick built the Maple Wood Stock Farm for race horse training near the site of the old distillery. He tragically died in flood waters around the Main Street Bridge (one of his projects) that connected Ohio to Wheeling, WV in 1892.
The 1900s brought many changes & people to Little Egypt. A new tavern opened in 1902 at the old blacksmith shop. Construction of The New York Central Railroad began in 1904. Workers & engineers were brought in to build two trestles around town. Trains rolled through from 1911 to the early 1960s. Dunham & Egypt Roads were merged in 1907. Clara Gleason sold off the family land to Philip & Mary Astor in 1918. A new tavern opened in 1926 in the old blacksmith shop cabin & was owned by Charles Benada. They operated a day care center & restaurant in the old Gleeson house next to Tinkers Creek. A horse riding academy that opened in 1935, a beer garden, & a new general store in the 1940s helped kept the economy going. In that era, cottages lined the streets & creek in town, creating a sort of touristy look. However, the much faster & more modern growing town of Walton Hills ended up overtaking the area & spelled the end for Little Egypt in 1951.
There are still several remnants of Little Egypt left around the Bedford Reservation though. Charlie’s Tavern is still open & is now Tinkers Creek Road Tavern & the old lockmaster’s house is a visitor’s center for the reservation. The Edmund & Charlotte (Comstock) Gleason House (Clara’s parents), built in 1851, is at 7243 Canal Rd in Valley View, OH. It was put on the National Register Of Historic Places in 1978 & currently houses the Canal Corners Farm & Market.
A few of the gravestones are still intact in Gleeson Homestead Cemetery on top of the hill East of Dunham Rd across from the Astorhurst Golf Course. One of them is the gravestone of a grandson of Moses & Polly, Edmond Gleeson, who died on October 26, 1851 at 13 years & 11 months old. Most of the bodies were moved to Bedford Cemetery on Broadway Ave in Bedford, approximately 8 miles East of Little Egypt. The Comstocks & other early settlers were buried in Tinkers Creek Cemetery off of Button Rd. Vehicle parking is available near the blocked off portion of the end of the road & follow the old path to the top of the hill & across a field. It’s listed on google maps with the search “Tinkers Creek Cemetery Ohio” but we’re not sure how accurate the pinpoint is.
The Walton Hills Historical Resource Center also conducts tours of Little Egypt, usually in March & May every year, meeting in the Hemlock Creek Pavilion parking lot in the Bedford Reservation. The one in March was for a hike to the Gleeson Cemetery & mound & the one in May a ride around tour for anyone that doesn’t want to do the hike. There are also numerous reports of hauntings in the area. Whether going out on your own or taking a guided tour, Little Egypt is an amazing ghost town to visit within a modern day community.
Thanks to group member Richard Drurey, manager of Consigned To The Forgotten & Photos By RWD, for providing the listing lead, pic, & some of the info on Little Egypt!
Carpenters Mills, OH (Liberty Settlement) – (1804 – early 1900s mill & farming town abandoned over time)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Liberty Township, Delaware County – On Chapman Rd off of US 23 (Columbus Pike)
In 1801 Revolutionary War veteran Nathan Carpenter (1757 – 1814) built a saw & grinding mill on the banks of the Olentangy River. More mills were constructed in the area over the next few decades. It was originally called Liberty Settlement but the town name changed around the time it got a post office that was in existence from 1832 – 1837. Nathan was buried on his family farm but there’s a memorial for him next to the Liberty Cemetery at Liberty Presbyterian Church. It’s Ohio Historical marker # 15 – 21 at the corner of Olentangy River Rd & Home Rd.
Later in 1844, a new grist mill was built in town along the Olentangy River. It was purchased by George Beiber (1803 – 1854) & Mary (Rahn) Beiber in 1848. Their sons James Beiber (1830 – 1905) & Henry Beiber (1835 – 1917) took over the mill production after their father died. They added on to the wooden grist mill with a stone sawmill in 1877 but couldn’t keep up the payments on the debt owed for the expansion. The mill was auctioned off in 1889 & changed ownership several more times over the years. The wooden grist mill was destroyed in a fire but the stone mill still stands between Chapman Rd & the river about 1 & 1/2 miles south of US 23.
The Crist Taver Millworks Boarding house was built in 1835 at 2966 Olentangy River Rd & is on the National Register Of Historic Places. George & Mary Beiber’s farmhouse is at 2010 Stratford Rd, Delaware, OH & was listed on the National register of Historic Places in 1991. The Beiber family was buried in Oak Grove Cemetery on Sandusky St in Delaware, OH.