“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Shawnee in Perry County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

A Little City in the Forest

A Little City in the Forest Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, June 27, 2019
1. A Little City in the Forest Marker
Inscription.  By the 1930’s the boom was over. The hillsides were scarred. Thousands of openings, natural and man-made, lead to mines and miles of abandoned underground tunnels. Gob piles of useless coal created huge black swaths of barren land. The region became known as “the lands that no one wanted.” The country was deep in the worst economic depression in its history. The federal government began purchasing land here and designated it as the Athens Unit of the Wayne National Forest, Ohio’s only national forest. The depression-era WPA and CCC workers arrived in large numbers, replanting the forest, fighting nearby underground mine fires and engaging in conservation projects.

In 1952 Shawnee residents joined together to build Tecumseh Lake at the edge of the village. At the dedication, the value of the conservation of the “outdoors” was expressed by religious and civic leaders. This village project brought all the community factions together. Protestant and Catholics alike worked together again, as they had years before to rebuild St. Mary’s Catholic Church after a fire. Tecumseh Lake serves as a recreational area and
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trailhead for two long-distance hiking trails, Ohio’s Buckeye Trail and the North Country National Scenic Trail.

As the forest continued its return in the last half of the 20th century, Shawnee continued on a slow decline in population and economic vitality. By 1972 the coal mines and brick factories had departed. Investors generally were no longer interested in the area. Yet the town survived, unlike many mining communities. Many families had long considered Shawnee home and were determined to hold on and sustain their community. The district was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, as one of the best standing examples of Boom Town architecture in the eastern U.S. Locally sponsored efforts to rehabilitate and restore the district for future generations continues.

By the early years of the new millennium, the return of the eastern woodland forest is well established. With significant and long-term investment, the Monday Creek and Sunday Creek watersheds are being restored, after years of acid mine drainage stained the streams. As the forest matures and streams recover, plant live is more diverse, wildlife is more plentiful and opportunities for local residents to enjoy hiking, fishing, hunting, and camping increase, as do the number of people who come to the region to enjoy the benefits of the recovering landscape.

Tecumseh Theater Historical Tablets image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, June 27, 2019
2. Tecumseh Theater Historical Tablets
This tablet is the rightmost tablet.
by the forest, grown and development—this time around—is influenced by the regenerating environment and the lessons learned from the early extraction industry boom-to-bust era. The forest is a pleasant setting as people explore the region and learn the remarkable story of this place that has evolved during the past two hundred years.
Erected 2011. (Marker Number 5.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureCharity & Public WorkEnvironmentHorticulture & ForestryIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1952.
Location. 39° 36.236′ N, 82° 12.74′ W. Marker is in Shawnee, Ohio, in Perry County. Marker is on Main Street west of 2nd Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Shawnee OH 43782, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Tecumseh Theater (a few steps from this marker); Black Diamonds and Bricks (a few steps from this marker); A Boom Town (a few steps from this marker); Welcome to Shawnee and the Little Cities of Back Diamond Region (a few steps from this marker); Shawnee (a few steps from this marker); Knights of Labor Opera House
The Miner — Knights of Labor Memorial image. Click for full size.
2011 bronze by Allan Cotrill. Photograph by J.J. Prats, June 27, 2019
3. The Miner — Knights of Labor Memorial
This statue is in the pocket mark on Main Street opposite this tablet.
(within shouting distance of this marker); Saltlick Township Memorial Park (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); World’s Greatest Mine Fire (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Shawnee.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 24, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 481 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on September 24, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   2. submitted on September 8, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.   3. submitted on September 24, 2019, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Apr. 25, 2024