I am currently working on two stories from the Hells Half Acre days. I am excited about them because they involve so much of the areas history. One tells of jealousy and murder, while the other if filled with mystery and spirits. I will be working on them a bit longer before I can write about them. I am missing some things to completely tell the tales for now. I will say it is about Hells Half Acre, which I talked about before and here is the page address for it:
Saturday, Mike and I ventured into the woods near Lock 57 to see if we could find an 87 year old murder site. Alabama Joe Miller was murdered by his own brother over a woman in 1925 near Hells Half Acre. The East Liverpool Review account (Sept 19, 1925) was fairly specific about the location and we ventured into the woods to see if we could find it. Yes, 87 years is a long time, but snow was still on the ground and that makes it easier to find old trolley track locations. You can see the lay of the land better with snow. We found a spot that has potential, but we have to do more research before we can determine if it is the right place.
What we did find was this old foundation. What ever building that was here burned down, as the timbers that are still in it are charred pretty good. We crawled over every inch of it looking for clues as to when it was lived in. I would say the 70's was the last time any one was even around it. There was an old perfume can laying inside with this wild design on it suggesting that for now. The beam you seem laying against the wall inside actually stretched across the whole foundation when we went there Saturday. I had over a dozen pictures of it. I had even set the perfume can up on the beam to get a better picture of it. We then left the foundation and ventured down the hill a bit to explore an old dump site. We were not even there 5 minutes when there was a big crash that came from the area of the foundation we had just left.
This is me standing beside the beam that once spanned the foundation walls from one side to the other. It fell. In fact, the whole end completely disintegrated. You would never know to look at it now. It is half gone. Well, I am excited because I have pictures of it when it was there. Mike and I are both a little weirded out and it was not long after that that we left. I thought that pretty much ended it, but I was wrong.
I moved all my pics from my camera, like I always do, to my computer so I could look at them. My computer proceeded to freeze up and refused to work. I have been having problems with it so I didn't think anything of it. I then took my trusty camera to this lap top and put them on it. And my laptop froze up so badly I thought it was down for good. It took two days to finally get this thing to work long enough to delete the entire file. The entire file. Every picture I took. Gone. I didn't even get to look at one of them. I was just bummed.
In the mean time, I am looking for information about the area and I ended up on the East Liverpool Historical Society Web Site. They have the most awesome historical society web site I have ever been on! They share all their info, for free and you just can't beat that! Here is their web address
By the time I was done on this web site I was also dealing with the amazing Rev. Jennie Eckert. As it turns out, four years after her death the homes and buildings on her Hells Half Acre property mysteriously caught on fire at least three different times. We wondered if the foundation we found was one of those buildings. Jennie herself was a minister for a spiritualist church on Dresden Avenue at one point and her grave stone refers to her as a Reverend. She was also a psychic who gave readings to people and was a palm reader.
Is she haunting the land that made up Hells Half Acre? Is Joe Miller? I think something is for sure.
The stories I read about Hells Half Acre were awesome and included characters like Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd , Baby Faced Nelson, and Billy "The Killer" Miller. These stories will be on here as soon as I get the pictures I want and information I am seeking. As usual I was shocked at the amazing history this area has to offer that no one knows about. I can tell you that Jennie Eckert, Alabama Joe Miller and Billy The Killer Miller will be added to our list of Columbiana County Legends. Be looking for us!