Shawnee in Perry County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Black Diamonds and Bricks
Shawnee was platted in 1872 by a single investor who purchased the surface land from the other investors in the Newark, Straitsville, Coal, Coke and Iron Company after their railroad, the Newark, Somerset and Straitsville, pierced through the steep hillsides via the Bristol Tunnel, several miles north of town. This made it possible to extract and transport to Lake Erie markets the rich bituminous coal located in unusually thick seams that lay below the surface.
The early mines that surround Shawnee included the XX Mine, the Card & Upson Mine, the Furnace Mine, the Shawnee Valley Mine and the Goslin & Barbour Mine. Several large blast furnaces were also constructed here producing pig iron, helping to feed the nation’s growing want for iron. The mines and furnaces created the economic engine for the newly-constructed town and provided work for the multitude of miners who entered the area during the boom era which lasted until the
A second extraction industry, clay mining, helped keep Shawnee an important economic center beyond its early coal fortunes. By 1906 four brick factories took over as the primary force behind the economy. Established in 1896, the Ohio Mining and Manufacturing Company would eventually operate two brick plants which were later sold to the Claycraft Company. The Columbus Face Brick Company opened in 1898 just south of town. It was succeeded by the Ironclay Brick Company which was more commonly known as “Rock Run.” The Shawnee Flash Brick Company, known by locals as the “Fiddle Factory,” was in operation by 1906.
Rock Run’s orange-colored fire-clay structural brick can be seen in many of the building along West Main Street built during the period 1900-15, including the Tecumseh Theater. Only Claycraft would survive well into the 20th century, shipping brick throughout North America until the early 1970’s.
Erected 2011. (Marker Number 3.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Natural Resources • Railroads & Streetcars. A significant historical year for this entry is 1872.
Location. 39° 36.24′ N, 82° 12.734′ W. Marker is in Shawnee, Ohio, in Perry County. Marker is on Main Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 116 Main St, Shawnee OH 43782, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A Boom Town (here, next to this marker); Welcome to Shawnee and the Little Cities of Back Diamond Region (here, next to this marker); Tecumseh Theater (here, next to this marker); A Little City in the Forest (a few steps from this marker); Knights of Labor Opera House (within shouting distance of this marker); World’s Greatest Mine Fire (approx. 1.3 miles away); New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation (approx. 1.3 miles away); Robinson’s Cave (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shawnee.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 24, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 8, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 178 times since then and 46 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 8, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.