After lunch it was early, and I had my camera with me -of course. Mr. Trent started driving, I was fooling with the internet a bit trying to find somewhere to explore when-much to my surprise - we pulled into our destination.
Mr. Trent had picked the Leetonia beehive coke ovens park to visit. Now I have to say just the parking lot had some interesting remains of ovens around it, and I was happy with that-I had no idea what lied ahead. We got out to stretch our legs and I ventured off just a bit to catch some more images, when I looked up, I thought Holy cow! There were coke ovens all over the place, a large row of them going off in two different directions. All these brick mounds were in various states of decay as mother nature was slowly taking them back as her own.
It was difficult to imagine this area bustling with overall cladded men working feverishly in the 1860’s. My mind drifted off to a different time -as it often does- and I squinted my eyes to try and visualize what it must have been like when these ovens were fully functional. The ovens were in operation from approximately 1866 to about 1930 when they were shut down due to the great depression.
I have looked at some of these older images of the ovens -to think the amount of men required to work 200 ovens and 4 blast furnaces when they were at peak. The haze of smoke that must have been constantly in the area and the incredible amount of activity is difficult to imagine while looking at the ovens now rounded shells with vines and dirt wove throughout. Wildflowers now replace old tracks and worn paths that were once in the area.
We explored the different trails in the area I have to say it was a nice park and a real delight. I am looking forward to going back to this area again and exploring even further. If you find yourself in (or near) Leetonia, Ohio this is definitely a must see!