Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Leetonia Cherry Valley Coke Ovens

The Cherry Valley Coke Ovens are made up of 200 Coke Ovens, built in about 1866 by the Leetonia Iron and Coal Company.  They would burn coal to remove the impurities and then ship out the ashes as "coke" to make fine grade Iron and Steel. 

This company changed hands a few times over the years, though the name Cherry Valley Iron Works Company is the one that has stuck.  By 1930, when the Great Depression hit it was owned by M.A. Hannah.  It went out of business then and was never reopened. 

Today it is a park.  A beautiful and mysterious place to visit.  Briana and I came here to scout the area for a possible place to investigate.  For me it was like visiting the Shire in Lord of the Rings.  For Briana, it was like visiting Sleepy Hollow and she expected the Headless Horseman to come out at any moment.  Either way, we were both enchanted. 

I am so happy the citizens of Leetonia have saved this place.  It is a part of the history of Columbiana County that made it great.  These are referred to as Bee Hive Ovens and there are none left existing in the state but the ones found here. 

I look forward to bringing my crew here and exploring every inch of it.  A colleague named Jim, who lives in Leetonia,  has found an old locomotive back in the woods that he is going to show us and I hope to get pictures of. 

Like an ancient, abandoned city in the jungle, I could have spent several hours here happily.I am still researching the area and hope to have more information on it soon.  I do know it was given an award for Historic Places in October of 2010.  It surely deserves it.  I can't wait to return with some ghost hunting equipment.  I wonder whispers we will hear.....