Featuring 5 towns with 20 pictures from Vinton County, “Abandoned Ohio” was released on October 1st, 2018 & is packed with history & ideas for road trips. It also makes an awesome birthday or holiday gift!
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Bee – Harrison Township
Post Office: 1888 – 1903
Location: 39.248924 -82.658529
on Ponetown Rd at the intersection of Thompson Rd
Remnants: none known
Description: The town had a one-room schoolhouse & a cooper shop on the south side of Ponetown Rd just west of the GPS coordinates owned by Bernard Hampshire (1829 – 1877) & Angeline (Humphrey) Hampshire Graves (1845 – 1920). She remarried after Bernard passed away. They were buried with relatives in Fairview Cemetery about 1 & 1/2 miles south of the GPS coordinates in Fairview Cemetery on the west side of Fairview Rd. The town’s postmaster was Samuel Smiley Duffy (Duffee) (1863 – 1940) from Hocking County. He later moved to Franklin County & was buried with relatives in Greenlawn Cemetery on Greenlawn Ave in Columbus.
Bolins Mills (Bolens Mills) – Knox Township, Vinton County
Post Office: 1878 – 1910
Location: 39.232000 -82.291297
on US 50 at the intersection of Staneart Hollow Rd along Raccoon Creek
Remnants: Weaver Chapel & Cemetery on the east side of Weaver Church Rd
Description: It was originally in Athens county & was founded by William Bolen (1788 – 1849) & Susan Bolen (d. 1854). William built a grist mill & saw mill next to Raccoon Creek & was a farmer. The town had a general store in the northwest corner of the intersection of US 50 & Staneart Hollow Rd & a school in the northeast corner of the intersection of US 50 & SR 356. William & Susan were buried with relatives in Weaver Chapel (Bolins Mills) Cemetery. The family surname is spelled Bolin in some branches.
Cintra – Swan Township
Post Office: 1882 – 1885
Location: 39.354188 -82.448846
on Shurz Rd between SR 93 & Old Shurz Rd
Remnants: Prose Cemetery in the woods 1 mile northwest of the GPS coordinates on the east side of SR 93
Description: Cintra had a train station on the Columbus, Hocking Valley, & Toledo Railroad. The Prose family was the most prominent in the area, with Reverend John R. Prose (1821 – 1909) beign the town’s postmaster. He attended Wesleyan University, was a Freemason, & preached in the Methodist Church that was on Bethel Rd. John had 4 children & was buried with his wife Clarrissa (Johnson) Prose (1829 – 1870) in Bethel Cemetery about 2 miles southwest of the GPS coordinates on the north side of Bethel Rd off of SR 93.
Cox – Eagle Township
Post Office: 1885 – 1914
Location: 39.299612 -82.740790
on SR 327 along Pike Run between SR 671 & Eagle Mills Rd
Remnants: none known
Description: The proprietors were brothers John Cox (1858 – 1906) & Abraham Cox (1852 – 1907). It had a grist mill near the GPS coordinates on Pike Run. Abraham was the town’s first postmaster. Although the office was only open for a couple of decades, at least 5 more citizens succeeded Abraham in the postmaster position. John was buried with relatives in Mount Zion Church Cemetery 14 miles southeast of town on the south side of Mt. Zion Rd between Martindill Rd & Reynolds Rd. Abraham was buried with relatives in Hamden Cemetery a little over 20 miles southeast of town on the east side of SR 93 south of Hamden.
Ego – Harrison Township
Post Office: 1889 – 1903
Description: Ego was in southwestern Harrison Township between Ratcliffburg & West Junction in Jefferson Township, Ross County. George Perkins was the first postmaster from 1889 – 1892 & Phillip Arganbright held the office until it was discontinued.
Fairview – Harrison Township
Location: 39.229378 -82.672695
on Fairview Rd at the intersection of Benson Rd
Remnants: Fairview Church & Cemetery on the west side of Fairview Rd north of the GPS coordinates
Description: The town was named after Fairview Ridge on the west side of the intersection. It had a school on land owned by the Domeny family on the east side of Fairview Rd north of the GPS coordinates between Hutt Rd & Ponetown Rd. Fairview Church was constructed in 1867 on land donated by Jacob Hill (1827 – 1893) & Phoebe (Sines) Hill (1825 – 1892). They were married in 1848, moved to Vinton from Guernsey County, & had 11 children. The church started out with a United Brethren congregation & later switched to United Methodist. Residents used Bee post office on Ponetown Rd in the late-1800s to early-1900s. Jacob & Phoebe were buried with relatives in Salt Spring Cemetery about 5 miles north of town on the east side of Kelly Rd along Middle Fork Salt Creek.
Goosetown – Jackson Township, Vinton County & Benton Township, Hocking County
Post Office: 1902 – 1905
Location: 39.371166 -82.605684
on Macedonia Rd at the intersection of Lowery Rd (Township Rd 234)
Remnants: Chestnut Grove Church & Cemetery at the GPS coordinates
Description: It was named after Goose Creek just to the east of the intersection along Goose Creek Rd. Chestnut Grove Church was built on land owned by Zachariah Jewell (1842 – 1922) & Olive (Edington) Jewell from Morgan County. They were married in 1861 & had at least 6 children. There was also a steam-powered saw mill along Goose Creek across the border in Benton Township, Hocking County owned by David Stokley. Zachariah & Olive were buried with relatives in the cemetery.
Ox – Richland Township
Post Office: 1869 – 1904
Location: 39.246054 -82.622732
on Kelly Rd along Kelly Branch between Headley Rd (Township Hwy 2) & Carpenter Rd (Co Hwy 31)
Remnants: Antioch Church at the intersection of Kelly Rd & Carpenter Rd, old houses & farm buildings in the area
Description: Ox had a school south of the church on the wast side of Kelly Rd. The town’s first postmaster was Civil War veteran Eli Graves (1838 – 1921). He married Martha (Nichols) Graves in 1861 & had 8 children. Eli served in the Ohio Volunteer Infantry & was shot in a thigh & captured at the Battle Of Bull Run in Virginia. He was subsequently released by his surgeon at Camp Chase. Eli & Martha were buried with relatives in Salt Spring Cemetery about 2 miles north of the GPS coordinates on the east side of Kelly Rd just south of US 50. Hiram Remy Jr. (1860 – 1937) was the last postmaster. He was buried with relatives in Bell (Allensville Cemetery) on the west side of Goosecreek Rd (Co Hwy 18) on the north side of Allensville.
Pincher – Vinton Township
Post Office: 1898 – 1904
Location: 39.195304 -82.331287
on Union Ridge Rd (Co Hwy 6) at the intersection of Maynard Rd (Township Hwy 21)
Remnants: none known
Description: George Davis (1854 – 1929) was the postmaster. He married Hannah (Triplett) Davis (1851 – 1920) in 1879 & had a few children. George was buried with relatives in Harkins Chapel Cemetery 4 miles north of town on the north side of Harkins Chapel Rd in Knox Township.
Richland (Richland Furnace) – Richland Township, Vinton County & Washington Township, Jackson County
Post Office: 1872 – 1886 & 1888 – 1914
Location: 39.186533 -82.596500
on hiking trails off of Richland Furnace Rd in Richland Furnace State Forest
Remnants: Richland Furnace at the GPS coordinates, Richland Tunnel on the railroad tracks, former town buildings in the area
Description: It’s one of the most remote ghost towns in the state, but visiting is well worth the effort it takes to get there. Richland Furnace was in operation from 1854 – 1884 & had a train station on the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad, later bought by the B & O. As with most iron furnaces in Ohio, production stopped when the iron supply dwindled to the point of extraction costs becoming too expensive & importing iron from other places wasn’t a viable option. The town had a school north of the furnace on the east side of Wilbur Rd. Company buildings & residences lined the railroad tracks & Wilbur Rd. Richland Tunnel is along the railroad tracks just southwest of the GPS coordinates. There are also many foundations, some buildings tied to the town, & other remnants around the area.
Riley (Rileyville) – Richland Township
Post Office: 1827 – 1840
Location: 39.267517 -82.584458
on US 50 at the intersection of SR 683 along Riley Run
Remnants: Redfern (Redfearn) Family Cemetery on the southwest side of the GPS coordinates across Riley Run
Description: Formerly in Jackson County, James Redfearn (1793 – 1839) from Randolph County, North Carolina was the town’s postmaster. He was buried with relatives in Redfern Cemetery.
Sant – Eagle Township
Post Office: 1888 – 1905
Description: Sant was located in northeastern Eagle Township on roads east of Lady Run Rd that are now mere shadows of what they once were. The town had a school & the post office. That was pretty much it. John Turner (1853 – 1936) was the first postmaster, then Milton Sowers (1859 – 1923) for a few months in 1890. One of John’s brothers, Elisha Turner (1862 – 1928) was the last postmaster from October 1890 until it was discontinued. John & Elisha were buried with relatives in Lebanon Cemetery on the north side of Pretty Run Rd between Narrows Rd & Riddle Rd. Milton was buried with relatives in Chestnut Grove Cemetery at the intersection of Macedonia Rd & Lowery Rd (Township Rd 234) in Jackson Township.
Sheldon – Richland Township
Post Office: 1889 – 1904
Description: Sheldon was in southeastern Richland Township & had a school & a baseball team. Milton Cox (1867 – 1944), buried in Elk Cemetery on SR 93 on the north side of McArthur in Elk Township, was the first postmaster. Harvey Cox (1860 – 1946), buried in Zion Cemetery at the intersection of SR 324 & Zion Rd in Clinton Township, was the second postmaster. Timothy Cassill (1854 – 1929), buried in Cassill Cemetery in the woods on the north side of SR 683 east of Wolf Hill Rd, was the last postmaster.
Ural – Madison Township
Post Office: 1880 – 1907
Location: 39.328007 -82.620009
on Sowers Rd at the intersection of Wolfe Cemetery Rd along Pretty Run
Remnants: Wolfe Cemetery about a mile north of the intersection on the east side of Wolfe Cemetery Rd
Description: Ural had a United Brethren Church on land owned by the Bone family & a school on land owned by the Moore family. Both of them were on the west side of Sowers Rd south of the GPS coordinates. John Stevens (1822 – 1894) operated a saw mill on Pretty Run Rd about a mile west of the GPS coordinates. He was buried with relatives in Lebanon Cemetery on the north side of Pretty Run Rd next to Salt Creek in Eagle Township.
Van – Knox Township
Post Office: 1896 – 1904
Location: 39.225226 -82.325246
on Harkins Chapel Rd between Union Ridge Rd & Long Run Rd
Remnants: none known
Description: Cook VanBibber (1862 – 1922) from Meigs County was the postmaster. He married Margaret (Allen) VanBibber (1864 – 1921) in 1885 & had at few children. Cook was tragically killed along with a couple of his friends, George Gibbs & Aaron Harkins, when the car he was driving was hit by a train on the way home from visiting his children in Columbus.
Arbaugh, OH (Mingo) – (1830s – present farming & mill town)
Classification: small town
Location: Vinton Township, Vinton County – On Arbaugh Rd near the intersection of County Hwy 38 (Eakins Mill Rd)
The town was settled in 1832 by Joseph Arbaugh (1799 – 1869) & Susannah (Nelson) Arbaugh (1809 – 1855). Joseph had 4 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 in 1829 & had 9 more children born in Vinton County. Arbaugh has 2 post offices. The first was called Mingo & ran from 1857 – 1863, with John Calvin as postmaster. The covered bridge on Eakins Mill Rd goes by a few names including Arbaugh, Eakin’s Mill, & Geer’s Mill Bridge. It was built in 1871 at a cost of $800. The bridge provided an easy way to transport goods & people across Raccoon Creek & is the oldest surviving covered bridge in Vinton County.
Another post office named Arbaugh ran from 1890 – 1918. Sarah Arbaugh was its first postmaster, then Henry Geer (1842 – 1912) & lastly Henry’s second wife Eliza (Mace) Gear (1862 – 1937). The old Arbaugh Cemetery is a few miles to the northeast on Township Hwy 26 (McCartney Cemetery Rd). Some of the Arbaugh’s descendants are also buried in Radcliff Cemetery about 3 miles south of town on Radcliff Cemetery Rd off of SR 160. More town residents, including Henry & Eliza Geer were buried in Mace Cemetery south of SR 32 on the north side of Mace Cemetery Rd.
Thanks to Timothy Hess for providing the listing lead & some of the info on Arbaugh!
Hope Furnace, OH – (1854 – late 1930s iron furnace & mining town partially destroyed during the construction of Lake Hope State Park)
Classification: semi – ghost town
Location: Brown Township, Vinton County – On SR 278 north of Zaleski
Hope 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 train station on the Big Sand Railroad. Hope also had a general store, a school & dozens of homes. The town hit its peak population at around 300 citizens in 1870. Many residents left when the furnace stopped production in 1875. Hope’s post ran from 1865 – 1890. More residents moved away before the late 1930s when construction of Lake Hope began. It eventually submerged a large percentage of the town’s land.
The furnace is near the northeast corner of the lake off of SR 278. It was listed on the National Register Of Historic Places in 1973 & is highlighted by Ohio Historical Marker #1 – 82. It’s also reportedly haunted by the ghost of a night watchman who died on the premises & can supposedly be seen making his rounds with a lantern on stormy nights. The former one room schoolhouse has been restored & is used as a meeting hall. It sits in the forest off of one of the hiking trails. Hope’s last church is abandoned on Wheelabout Rd south of town off of SR 278. Lake Hope has lots of recreational activities to do.
Lake Hope State Park Info – parks.ohiodnr.gov/lakehope.
Ingham, OH (Ingham Station) – (1856 – 1910s coal & railroad town abandoned when mines shut down)
Classification: ghost town
Location: Waterloo Township, Athens County & Brown Township, Vinton County – southwest of Rockcamp Rd where it meets King Hollow Trial & the former railroad path at a Y intersection (same parking spot as Kings Station in Athens County)
Ingham was the town between Moonville & Kings Station on the same railroad line. It’s about a mile hike when 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, train station, coal tipple, & several residences scattered about the area along with a few buildings & structures for the mining industry. There are 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, 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.
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.
Puritan, OH – (1909 – present brickyard town with fewer residents than in the past)
Classification: semi – ghost town
Location: Clinton Township, Vinton County – On SR 160 about 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 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 1960s. What’s left of the decaying plant & brick ovens sits in the woods on the south side of SR 160 across from the parking lot of the church next to Patton Rd. 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 SR 160.
Thanks to Steve Massie for providing the listing 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
Vinton Furnace was founded by Clark Culbertson & Company & eventually became a ghost town along with all of the other iron furnace operations in southeast Ohio. It started blasting in 1854 & ended in 1880. The furnace employed around 100 people who were paid in company store tokens for use at the general stores. One of them was on the north side of Elk Fork east of the furnace site. A row of small houses was built for the workers along with a school for their children on the trail heading north off of Stone Quarry Rd just west of the furnace site. The town’s post office ran from 1854 – 1857.
A train station on the Marietta & Cincinnati Railroad, later bought by the B & O, was northwest of the furnace on Vinton Station Rd at the intersection of US 50. There was also another general store & a blacksmith shop at that intersection. The railroad had a switch that ran southeast from Vinton Station to the furnace site. 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 staying to its right & 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.