Part 2 of the Southeastern Ohio tour shows some of the results of the struggles that an area that has been economically depressed for decades looks like.
A Ghost Sign in New Lexington.
Apparently not much fun in the sun anymore. It seems like it would’ve always been a bad business model because pools are expensive, and this area has never had much personal income, not to mention it is sparsely populated.
Some seem to have a unique beauty in their deterioration.
While others seem to be just barely standing.
Welcome to Historic Shawnee, Ohio!
This town once had over 3000 residents, now it is down to 600.
While at first glance it appears to be a ghost town, Shawnee is hanging on. While many of the buildings are vacant, some continue to be used.
Closer inspection of this ‘building’ shows the front is still there, but the rest of the building is gone, resulting in a courtyard of sorts.
This building, completed in 1907, was originally a hotel that hosted among others William McKinley. In addition there has always been a theater within.
This theater has recently been restored, and hosts concerns, plays and amazingly basketball games.
When buying a ‘fixer upper’, make sure it isn’t relying on the neighbor to stand up. (amazingly the small building behind the sign had a sign on the front indicating it was the real estate agents office, but it seems unlikely.
While sadly worn down, the buildings do have interesting architectural elements to them. If this were anywhere near somewhere with real estate in demand these cool little old buildings would be snapped up and restored.
With Shawnee being far from any population or jobs centers, they just look like a movie set.
Moving on, we passed this once a school, once a church, now (apparently) vacant building.
In nearby Glouster is a worn sign for The Wonder Bar (which apparently is long gone). No Wonder Dogs for lunch today.
Nearby is what looks like a scene from a Hitchcock movie – and old dilapidated building covered with birds.
Just out of town is an abandoned school, which nature is taking over.
As noted in Part 1 of this day, Nelsonville was a brick town. A park on the outskirts of town have the remains of a brick factory.
With the tower and a couple of large kilns, it is very cool place to check out.
This factory was started in 1880, and closed in 1940.
Amazingly the bricks are still sitting in the kiln.
Look closely you will see ‘Nelsonville Block’ embossed in many of the bricks. This company won awards for their bricks at the World’s Fair in St Louis in 1904.
Stacks of bricks are stored in the park (thankfully it appears nobody is stealing them).
Nearby is the Hocking Canal Lock 19 remains. Canals were essential to the initial development of the area in the mid 1800s.
This photo is representative of transportation in the area over the times. First there was the canal, then the railroad killed the canals.
The railroad itself was mostly displaced by the highway. Why can I stand in the middle of the highway and take this picture? Because it too has been displaced by a newer freeway that bypass all of the towns and this section of road, further killing any chance of survival these towns have.
Our final stop is in the interesting little town of Haydenville.
Haydenville is a company town founded by Columbus industrialist Peter Hayden. If you check out my posts of the Historic Architecture of Broad Street in Columbus you will find the Hayden Building and the New Hayden Building.
For his company town Hayden used the products he produced for sale to build the buildings.
The town was built in stages, and the materials reflect the era that they were producing them in the factory.
Some have interesting architectural features (and satellite dishes and trash).
Even the church was built out of the Haydenville Mining and Manufacturing company’s products.
In fact closer inspection shows a plethora of different tiles used for accent pieces and features.
Even some of the individual homes have these features. Note the pipes in the upper part of the left side of this house used for decoration.
Next door is a similar one, with slightly different features.
The final really unique house in the old company town of Haydenville.
Southesatern Ohio parallels much of Appalachia – there is natural beauty, but much has been destroyed by rampant disregard of nature for the benefit of industry for 100 years or so, now it is left on it’s own.
Yet some survive, either through tourism or other means. Regardless there is much to see in the area, and worth a trip (with an open mind to ‘beauty’)