A site that has something in common with the Eiffel Tower, the Liberty Bell, and the Statue of Liberty might surely pique your interest, don’t you think?
A few days ago, I stumbled across this story about an archaeological dig taking place at a location I photographed back in 2007—the Cherry Valley Coke Ovens in Leetonia, Ohio.
Unfortunately, we didn’t stay at the ovens long, as it was cold—and we were only in the area looking at a grand old Victorian home we were interested in buying (despite the allure of its beauty that included a fireplace surround made of tiles with each featuring a different play of Shakespeare’s, was a clear money pit we simply didn’t have the resources to restore at the time). We’ve never made it back, either, much as I would like to return. Now, of course, having read about plans for the site’s restoration, I’m very much interested in returning!
At any rate, back to the archaeology. Leetonia has long desired to turn the site of the ovens into a more tourist-friendly park which will include a museum where the little pieces of Leetonia’s past—built around these ovens and the blast furnaces which used to be here—can be shared with visitors. Thus far, the students from Youngstown State University have discovered a pulley, china, medicine bottles, and part of a plow. The ovens were a, if not the, major business in town for many years, and all sorts of tradesmen from farmers to (no doubt) cure-all peddlers showed up to sell to the mill’s employees; it will be interesting to see what these young archaeologists dig up!
At the same time, the village has finalized the restoration plan, which will allow Leetonia to begin looking for funding to restore the ovens, which were placed onto the National Historic Register in 1993 and received an Ohio Historical Marker in 1999. Continue reading