The Little Cities Archive

Shawnee, Ohio


Posted by JRW on June 11, 2011

excerpted from “Hocking Valley Coalfield”  by T. Sterry Hunt, LL.D. F.R.S.
subtitiled: “The Coal Trade of the West” publishe 1874 Salem Massachusetts



§ 109. As yet the means of exporting coal from the Hocking valley are very inadequate. Previous to 1869, it was accessible only by the Hocking Canal, which runs from Columbus to Athens. The Columbus and Hocking Valley railroad, between the same points, was opened in that year, and has since shown a steadily growing coal trade, so that it is now in contemplation to lay down a double track with steel rails. The receipts of coal at Columbus, by this road, have been as follows, reckoning as is there done, twenty-seven bushels to the ton.


1870 50,000

1871 250,000

1872 600,000

1873 801,000

Columbus consumes a considerable proportion of this coal

in manufactures, and the remainder is sent by rail to various points and largely to Chicago. The Newark, Somerset and Straitsville railroad, opened in 1872 to Shawnee, carried to Newark in 1873, 300,000 tons of this coal, of which a large portion went to the lake-ports.

§ 110. These are as yet the only two outlets from the Hocking valley coal field, but the importance of the region has led to several new lines which are in process of construction, while others are projected. Of the former we may mention first the Atlantic and Lake Erie railroad, destined to connect Toledo on Lake Erie, with Pomeroy on the Ohio River, which will pass through the eastern part of the coal field down the valley of Sunday Creek, by New Lexington, Moxahala and Ferrara, thus connecting this part of the field directly both with the lakes and the river. By this route, now building, the distance from Toledo to Ferrara will be 174 miles; while by the present connections it is 198 miles from Toledo to Shawnee by the way of Newark, and from Toledo to Straitsville by the way of Columbus, 183 and 190£ miles by two different lines.

§111. Another railroad is now being built by the Pennsylvania railroad company from McLuney, a station five miles east of New Lexington on the Cincinnati, Wilmington and Zanesville railroad (which is controlled by that company) to Moxahala and thence to McCuneville near Shawnee on the Newark, Somerset & Straitsville railroad, thus giving a direct communication from the coal field to Zanesville. In connection with this a short portion of road between Dresden and Oxford will give the Pennsylvania railroad company a direct line from the coal field, by the way of Zanesville, to Cleveland. The coal from this field has hitherto reached Cleveland through Shelby on the Cleveland, Columbus & Cincinnati railroad, either by the way of Newark, from Shawnee, a distance of 181 miles, or from New Straitsville, by Columbus, 197 miles. By the new route through •

Zanesville the distance from Ferrara, in the centre of the Sunday Creek valley, to Cleveland, will be but 164 miles. It is also proposed to build a few miles of road from Oxford to Loudonville on the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago railroad, which will effect a good connection with the lines of that company to Sandusky, Toledo, Chicago and the northwest.

§ 112. The Newark, Somerset and Straitsville railroad is now leased to the Baltimore and Ohio railroad company, which also controls the Marietta and Cincinnati railroad. From the Carbondale branch on this latter an extension is about to be built a distance of twenty-two miles through York and Ward, passing up Monday Creek and Snow Fork valleys, to Shawnee, the present terminus of the N. S. and S. R. It., from which point a road is projected eastward by Buckingham to Ferrara. From Newark to Sandusky, a direct line is now opened by the way of Mansfield. The Baltimore and Ohio company is also constructing an independent line from Newark to Chicago, passing through Fostoria, and now built nearly as far as Defiance, thus giving a direct connection between Chicago and the coal field, independent of the Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne railroad over which a large amount of coal from it is now sent, passing by an indirect route from Columbus to Crestline. A projected road from Columbus, by Bellefontaine, joining the Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne railroad at Lima, will make the communication between this coal field and Chicago, still more direct, while another projected line passing by Marion and Fostoria, will also give a direct connection between Columbus and Toledo. This latter city will become important for the coal trade, both as a shipping-port and as a point whence coal can be sent by the railways diverging northward and northwestward to Detroit and throughout the state of Michigan.

§ 113. Columbus will also serve as a centre for the distribution of this coal to some of the western and southwestern parts of Ohio and Indiana. The distance by rail from New Straitsville to Dayton, via Columbus, is 134 miles. From Dayton to Ferrara by the Cincinnati, Wilmington and Zanesville railroad (also known as the Cincinnati and Muskingum Valley railroad) and an incompleted link from Washington on this road, to Xenia, will however be but 118 miles.

§ 114. From Logan on the Columbus and Hocking Valley railroad, another line is now partly graded, passing southward, through Starr, along the western border of the coal field to the Marietta and Cincinnati railroad, which it will intersect at Vinton. It is destined to reach the Ohio River at Gallipolis; while from Hampden on the M. and C. R. R., a line now runs to Portsmouth on the Ohio. The M. and C. R. R. crosses the southern, and as yet unopened part of this coal field in Brown and Waterloo, not more than 150 miles from Cincinnati, while by the extension of the Carbondale branch of this road through York to Shawnee, the present mines on the banks of the Hocking River will be about 160 miles from Cincinnati. From this city to Ferrara by the Cincinnati and Zanesville railroad, the distance will be 157 miles.

§ 115. These railway lines, as Col. I. B. Riley, of Newark has well said, “place all the principal coal-markets of Ohio nearly equidistant from this field, making the distance to Sandusky and Cincinnati about 160 miles each, and to Cleveland and Toledo about 170 miles, and furnishing competing routes to each place.” The usual rate of charge for coal over the Ohio roads is one and a quarter cents per mile, per ton, so that the carriage to these points will not vary much from $2.00 per ton. Adding to this $0.90, the average estimated cost of mining the coal of the great vein, including the expenses at the coal bank, this coal will then cost, delivered at the principal points of consumption and of the shipment in Ohio, about $3.00 per ton.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: