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New Straitsville in Perry County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation

 
 
New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation Marker image. Click for full size.
By TeamOHE, November 7, 2020
1. New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation Marker
Inscription.  
This site, known as the World's Greatest Mine Fire's is a part of the Wayne National Forest located on the Athens Ranger District, and managed by the US Forest Service, Department of Agriculture.

A reclamation project begun in 2010 has changed the face of this area. Plans for an interpretive trail and other developments will come as funding allows.

When violence and destruction broke out during the 9-month Hooking Valery Coal Strike in 1884 no one could envision the long term devastation to the area that Would result.

Coal in the underground mines caught fire, and has been buming ever since. No one is sure how many square miles of underground mines may have bumed but the fire continues to occasionally reach the surface yet today.

Today the Village of New Straitsville doesn't look like a town that would have been at the cutting edge of early labor organizations but in 1875, indeed it was. At that time, mining was in it's heyday here. The growing labor movement gave miners a voice, which in return, resulted in the coal operators combining forces into what miners called "The Syndicate."

The

New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation Marker image. Click for full size.
By TeamOHE, November 7, 2020
2. New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation Marker
layer of coal in the New Straitsville region was called the "Great Vein” and ranged from 12-14 feet thick. Railroads were hurriedly constructed to access the mines which fed several furnaces in the area. When the Syndicate reduced their pay in 1884, 3,000 miners from 46 mines went out on strike. To stay in operation, the coal companies brought in over 1,000 immigrant scab workers (non-Union men) and Pinkerton Guards to protect the workforce. Over the next 10 months, hostilities broke out and the Ohio governor called in the militia to keep order. During that time, angry striking miners pushed burning carts of coal into five mines owned by the Syndicate. The fires were untended until the strike was over in 1885. By that time, several of the fires could not be extinguished.

Multiple efforts over the next many years were attempted to put out the fires; tunnels were mortared, bricked up, and pumped full of water, all in an effort to cut off air flow. Streams were diverted into the mines, and trenches were dug for fire breaks, but nothing worked. Finally the coal companies gave up and just hurried to mine the coal in front of the fires.

As thick seams of coal burned under the land, in many places the surface caved in. Buildings and roads sunk into burning holes. Smoke and mine gasses caused other buildings and part of the town

New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation Marker image. Click for full size.
By TeamOHE, November 7, 2020
3. New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation Marker
to be abandoned. Residents left their farms and homes.

Curious people flocked in to see the great underground 1 fire, and the remaining residents of New Straitsville accommodated the tourists with guide services (picture below), entertaining the visitors with gimmicks such as cooking eggs in a skillet held over a hole in the ground, or drawing boiling water from a well to make coffee.

Today much of the area where the fire still burns is part of the Wayne National Forest. The underground fires still smoulder and occasionally break out, but are monitored closely.

The fires are a reminder of the old adage that anything we do may have unintended consequences.

Historical Items

-Though much of this area has recently been re-contoured, it is an area with a long history of farming and mining.

-You may come across items which are part of the history of the area. It is illegal to remove these items. If they are significant - please call our office as these items help us learn about our heritage.

- Artifacts such as arrowheads, spear points, pottery and grinding stones are also protected by law and may not be collected.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: DisastersIndustry & CommerceLabor Unions.
 
Location. 39° 35.204′ 

New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation Marker image. Click for full size.
By TeamOHE, November 7, 2020
4. New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation Marker
N, 82° 13.416′ W. Marker is in New Straitsville, Ohio, in Perry County. Marker is at the intersection of Clark Street (Ohio Route 93) and Rock Run Road (County Road 41), on the right when traveling north on Clark Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 9135 Rock Run Rd, New Straitsville OH 43766, 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. World’s Greatest Mine Fire (here, next to this marker); Robinson’s Cave (approx. one mile away); A Little City in the Forest (approx. 1.3 miles away); Tecumseh Theater (approx. 1.3 miles away); Black Diamonds and Bricks (approx. 1.3 miles away); A Boom Town (approx. 1.3 miles away); Welcome to Shawnee and the Little Cities of Back Diamond Region (approx. 1.3 miles away); Knights of Labor Opera House (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Straitsville.
 
New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation Marker image. Click for full size.
By TeamOHE, November 7, 2020
5. New Straitsville Mine Fire and Rock Run Reclamation Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on February 8, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 5, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on February 5, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. Clearer, more legible photos of the marker. • Can you help?
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Mar. 2, 2021