New Straitsville, Ohio
New Straitsville was an important town the the Hocking Valley coal mining region. Coal mining boomed in the Hocking Valley from approximately 1880 to 1920. Some sources claim a peak population for New Straitsville of over 4,000. The Highest population I can find is 2,782 in the censuses of 1880 and 1890. New Straitsville's population today is 720. New Straitsville is just 2.5 miles from Shawnee. In 1890 the Shawnee and New Straitsville area would have had a combined population of close to 10,000. Today the area's population is less than 2,000.
New Straitsville has had a turbulent and interesting history. It was the site of early labor organizing among miners. The Knights of Labor (an early union) was very active in both New Straitsville and Shawnee during the 1870s and 1880s. Members of the Knights of Labor (many of whom had worked and organized in the Hocking Valley coal fields) formed the United Mine Workers Union Columbus Ohio in 1890. During a bitter strike in 1884, miners deliberately set fire to the coal seam in New Straitsville's main underground mine by pushing cars filled with burning wood and kerosene into it. The fire burned for years (is supposedly still burning) and effectively, permanently closed the mine. Other mines in the area continued to operate until the 1930s. New Straitsville was also known as a center of moonshine production during prohibition.
Unlike nearby Shawnee, I saw no obvious preservation efforts in New Straitsville. Many historic structures have clearly been lost over the years in New Straitsville. There are many still left though.
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