Ohio has a rich history and has its share of abandoned and forgotten ghost towns. These once-thriving communities now lie dormant, their structures decaying, and their stories waiting to be told. For the adventurous at heart, these ghost towns in Ohio offer a unique glimpse into the state’s past and provide an eerie, yet fascinating, exploration experience.
From mysterious urban legends to hauntingly beautiful landscapes, these ghost towns will captivate your imagination as you journey through their forgotten streets.
Helltown: The Abandoned Village Shrouded in Mystery and Legend
Helltown, located in Summit County, Ohio, is one of the most infamous ghost towns in the state. This unincorporated community was once a thriving settlement, with a small white church at its heart.
However, various theories and urban legends have emerged concerning the church, its spooky surroundings, and the reason for the town’s abandonment.
The Poisonous Leak and Satanism Connection
According to some, the church was a gathering place for Satanists, who still haunt the town today. Others believe that a chemical spill caused strange mutations in the local population, leading to a mass evacuation.
While these stories are intriguing, they are far from the truth.
The Real History of Helltown
Helltown had a relatively uneventful history, devoid of mutants or demons. The town was abandoned after the U.S. government evicted its residents in the early 1970s to establish a National Park in the area.
Since then, paranormal activity has been reported in abandoned buildings and streets, giving Helltown its eerie reputation.
Moonville: The Haunted Railroad Town with a Dark Past
Moonville, an abandoned coal mining and railroad town in Vinton County, was established in 1856. At its peak, around 100 miners and their families lived in the town. However, Moonville’s isolation and the dangerous nature of its only access point – the railroad – led to numerous tragic deaths.
The Infamous Moonville Tunnel
The Moonville Tunnel, the last remaining structure of the town, is known for its paranormal activity reported over the last century. Ghosts of the tunnel’s victims are said to haunt the area, taking up residence in the tunnel’s dark corners and causing visitors’ uneasiness.
The Ghosts of Moonville
Four distinct spirits are said to haunt the Moonville Tunnel: the Engineer, the Brakeman, the Lady in White, and the Bully. These ghosts and the town’s tragic history make Moonville one of Ohio’s most haunted ghost towns.
Cheshire: The Polluted and Abandoned Coal Plant Town
Once a thriving community, Cheshire was abandoned after a nearby coal plant polluted the air, groundwater, and soil. Residents began experiencing health issues, and in 2001, the utility company installed new emissions control equipment, which only worsened the pollution problem.
What Remains of Cheshire
Today, only a few structures and the long-abandoned streets remain as a chilling reminder of the town’s toxic past. As one of Ohio’s most polluted ghost towns, Cheshire is a stark example of the dangers of unchecked industrial development.
Kyger: The Abandoned Town Plagued by Pollution
Like its neighbor Cheshire, Kyger faced a similar fate due to its reliance on coal mining and the pollution caused by the nearby power plant. As the coal industry declined and pollution worsened, the town’s population dwindled, leaving behind abandoned homes, old cemeteries, and a haunting atmosphere.
Broadwell: The Decaying Remnants of a 19th-Century Settlement
Broadwell, a small town in Ohio founded by Revolutionary War veteran Moses Broadwell, now lies abandoned and overgrown. Once a thriving community with a tavern, store, and tannery, only a few abandoned homes, old cemeteries, and overgrown ruins remain as a testament to the town’s past.
Sewellsville: The Faded Glory of a Once-Prominent Town
Sewellsville, originally named Union, was founded in 1815 and thrived until 1907. The town was renamed after its first postmaster, Peter Sewell. Today, only a few historic structures, an old cemetery, and the memories of its past inhabitants remain.
San Toy: The Mining Town That Vanished
San Toy, a bustling coal mining community in the early 20th century, was created by the Sunday Creek Coal Company. As coal mining declined, the town was slowly abandoned, leaving behind the ruins of its mining past – a church, a jail, and a water well pump house.
The Broadway Musical “San Toy”
Interestingly, San Toy’s history inspired a Broadway musical of the same name, which was financially backed by the coal company.
Utopia: The Site of Three Unique Communal Experiments
Utopia, Ohio, was home to three distinctive communal experiments, each with different objectives – a social movement inspired by Charles Fourier, a proto-anarchist community led by Josiah Warren, and a spiritualistic/abolitionist community led by John O. Wattles. The utopian movement lasted for over two decades before fading into obscurity.
The Remaining Structures
Only a few buildings remain in Utopia, giving explorers a glimpse into the town’s unique past.
Wonderland: The Deserted Summer Cottage Community
Located near Gahanna, Ohio, Wonderland was once a small community of summer cottages. As the nearby airport grew, demand for the cottages declined, and the community was abandoned. Today, only dead-end streets and overgrown roads crisscross the land, offering a quiet and eerie exploration experience.
Tadmoor Village: The Flooded and Abandoned Transportation Hub
Tadmoor Village, once a thriving community and transportation hub, now lies deserted after the flood of 1913. The village’s prime location made it an essential transportation center in early Ohio history, with keelboats, the Miami and Erie Canal, the National Road, and the Dayton & Michigan Railroad all passing through the area.
The Haunting Ruins of Tadmoor
The stone pillars that supported the bridge and a few other artifacts are all that remain of Tadmoor, along with rumors of spirits and eerie sightings. Visitors to the Buckeye Trail in Taylorsville MetroPark can glimpse Tadmoor’s haunting ruins and learn about its history through informational plaques.
Laceyville: The Underwater Ghost Town
Laceyville, once a thriving settlement founded in the 1800s, now lies submerged beneath the waters of Tappan Lake. Divers claim that ruins of an old house still exist, but they’re only accessible via underwater exploration.
Shawnee: The Modern Ghost Town with a Rich History
Shawnee, a semi-abandoned town in Ohio, is one of the best-preserved ghost towns in the state. While its history is largely forgotten, Shawnee was home to Ohio’s first African American mayor, the first African American woman postmistress, and the birthplace of Adam Clayton Powell, Sr., the first black pastor in Ohio. Despite its rich history, the town struggles with crime and the effects of the opioid crisis.
Belmore: The Small and Quaint Ghost Town
Belmore, a small modern ghost town in Ohio with a population of around 100, was established in 1862 and lasted until 1964. While not as exciting as some of the other ghost towns in Ohio, Belmore offers a quaint experience with various structures and a historic church.
Rendville: The Pioneering and Diverse Coal Mining Town
Rendville, a semi-abandoned town in Ohio, was one of southern Ohio’s first coal mining towns to integrate black and white workers. The town reached a population of nearly 1,800 in the late 1880s, including about 300 African Americans. Despite its decline, Rendville remains a testament to the state’s diverse and pioneering past.
Moscow: The Nearly Dead Village with a Unique Name
Moscow, Ohio, is a semi-abandoned town with a unique name and a history of slow decline. The town was established in 1816 by Daniel and William Green, descendants of Revolutionary War veterans Benjamin and Catharine. By 1881, a county history book described Moscow as “nearly dead.”
Exploring Ohio’s Ghost Towns
Ohio’s ghost towns offer a unique and exciting opportunity for exploration and discovery. These abandoned places will surely capture any adventurous soul’s imagination with their haunting beauty, intriguing history, and eerie legends.
So, grab your camera, put on your hiking boots, and venture into the unknown – who knows what secrets you might uncover in the ghost towns of Ohio.