For an intriguing adventure to abandoned sites, explore these ghost towns in Ohio!
Ohio has a long and fascinating history. Through the 19th century, it was a stop for travelers making their way to the American West. Also, its abundant farmland attracted many people to start their own communities.
These small towns and villages often grew significantly before suddenly dwindling, often because of natural disasters, disease, or the shuttering of mines and factories.
Today, many of these communities are still in existence as ghost towns in Ohio. Frozen in time, they have been left as they were decades or even centuries ago. If you love exploring ghost towns, you’ll want to make a stop at these fascinating sites.
Boston Mills is undoubtedly one of the most infamous Ohio abandoned towns. This small town has become shrouded in myths of ghosts, magic, and murder. Its spooky reputation has earned it the nickname “Helltown.”
Founded in 1806, the village enjoyed nearly 200 years as an inhabited town. The change came in the 1970s when President Gerald Ford made it legal for states to claim land for forest preserves. Residents were forced to leave their homes.
Further rumors of toxic waste, satanic rituals, and angry ghosts only add to the town’s infamy. Today, it sits abandoned with homes and businesses boarded up.
Bowsherville was a small town in Wyandot County in Northwest Ohio. It is a relic of the stagecoach area when many people passed through on their way to the West.
The town was settled in 1828 by Anthony and Catherine Bowsher, who opened a general store, inn, and public house. It grew rapidly throughout the middle of the 19th century. However, its population dwindled with the advent of the railroads, leaving the stagecoach era behind.
Today, all that is left is the Bowsherville Cemetery, where several members of the Bowsher family and other former residents are buried.
Carpenter’s Mill is located in Liberty Township on the banks of the Olentangy River in Central Ohio. The first European settlement was built here in 1801, two years before Ohio became a state. Four years later, a proper town was established around the mill.
Throughout the 19th century, Carpenter’s Mill became a prosperous and important mill town in the region. After the death of the mill owner, however, the mill itself fell into disrepair and was eventually abandoned altogether.
Today, Carpenter’s Mill remains an untouched testament to life in the 19th century. A 2012 drought lowered the river and exposed artifacts that had been lost to time.
The town of Egypt, Ohio — sometimes referred to as Little Egypt or Egypt Mills — is located just outside the greater Cleveland area in Northeast Ohio. This small village was once a community of farmers, and it flourished throughout the 19th century.
However, it was bought by a coal mining company in the latter part of the 1800s. One by one, the townspeople left until Egypt was completely abandoned.
Today, it has become the site of many ghost stories. One ghost said to haunt the cemetery is Louiza Catherine Fox, a teenage girl who was murdered by her former fiancee in 1869.
Fallsville was settled in the 1820s and enjoyed roughly half a century as a prosperous little town. It was supported by the local corn mill — the only one in the area. Though it experienced significant growth throughout the midcentury, its plans for further expansion never materialized.
Eventually, there was only a single resident remaining — Andrew Payton. He died in 1893, leaving the town truly abandoned. Today, it is a popular spot for hunting — visitors are encouraged to wear bright colors for safety if they want to explore the ruins. The main Methodist church still stands in the center of town.
Kings Station is located in Southeast Ohio in what was once a coal mine. It rose to prominence in the mid-1800s as part of a network of coal mining towns before being abandoned at the turn of the century, largely because of the mines shutting down.
These are now mostly ghost towns, connected by a defunct rail line. The area is particularly known for Kings Hollow Tunnel, which was constructed in the 1850s by the Cincinnati Railroad. Today, the abandoned tunnel is no longer used but has become a popular spot for hikers and explorers.
Moonville is located close to Kings Station — built as part of the large network of coal mining towns in the mid-1800s. Winding through the Zaleski State Forest, these towns were built by the Marietta Cincinnati Railroad to make coal transportation simpler.
Moonville was never highly populated, even in its heyday. The town seemed doomed from the start, however. Because it had no roads, people were often killed as they walked through the train tunnel.
The population dwindled severely in the 1890s because of a smallpox epidemic. Only a few families remained until the last residents left in 1947.
Newville Ohio was built in 1823 as the site of a gristmill. Though it grew steadily throughout the 19th century, its population declined with the advent of the railroads.
The town was not selected to have a train station. Instead, several nearby towns became stops, drawing more people to them.
Newville continued to shrink throughout the early 1900s. It wasn’t until the 1940s that it was fully abandoned because a dam was being built nearby. The U.S. Army told residents to leave to avoid having their homes flooded. Today, only a few buildings remain of the former mill town.
Like many other small towns in Ohio, Oreton Station began as a mill site. Workers mined coal, iron, shale, and even silver. The town grew significantly during the 1850s, eventually reaching a population of roughly 900 people, as well as commuters.
Gradually, however, small changes caused the town to dwindle. The coal mine shut down, the train station shuttered in 1930, and the tunnel was shut off.
In 1950, Oreton Station’s post office closed its doors, and the last few residents abandoned the town. Visitors will find the ruins of the old furnace and some scattered buildings.
Shaker Village is located in Southwest Ohio. Sometimes called Whitewater Shaker Village, it was settled in 1824 by a small community of Shakers, a religious offshoot of the Quakers.
Beginning with 58 members, the village’s population doubled in the next two decades. They were prosperous for much of the 19th century.
From 1880, Shaker Village experienced discord among its leaders. Eventually, pieces of land were sold and villagers moved away. It was fully abandoned in 1916.
Today, Shaker Village is a national historic site and one of the most completely preserved places of Shaker heritage in the country.
The small town of Sprucevale only lasted about 25 years and fell apart as early as 1870. Its downfall came in part because it had no train station. Later, its canal was seriously damaged after a dam broke.
However, it remained populated — barely — for several decades after that because the only post office for the surrounding area was located there. After the death of the postmaster, Sprucevale was entirely deserted.
Over the years, it has become the site of several ghostly legends. Many of the historic buildings have been restored and are open to visitors.
Vinton Furnace is a ghost town located in the Vinton Furnace State Forest. Settled in the middle of the 19th century, it took its name from the local coal mine and iron ore production. However, it was only populated for a few decades. Roughly 100 people lived there between 1854 and 1901.
The town’s short life was partially the result of its less-than-successful coal production, which caused the closure of the furnace in 1880. A few residents lingered until the turn of the century before the town was completely abandoned.
Today, you can still see the ruins of the coal furnaces, general store, and blacksmith’s forge.
Step Back in Time to One of Ohio’s Fascinating Ghost Towns
Whether the town fell apart because of chemical spills or advancing technology, each one of these Ohio ghost towns tells a fascinating story.
There is a reason why these are beloved tourist sites for history lovers, hikers, and those who love a good ghost story. Don’t pass up a chance to explore one of these unique locations!