Data Compiled by Sandra Cummins

This page is dedicated to my dad and grandpa who were coal miners in the Shawnee and New Straitsville Ohio mines, and to my brother and son, who follow in their footsteps as miners working now in the Glouster Ohio mines.


Coal has long been an important fossil fuel for the nation and Ohio. The existence of coal in Ohio was first noted as early as 1748 by frontiersmen and travelers who told of a coal mine on fire at the mouth of Lamanshikola Creek (present-day Sandy Creek) near Bolivar, Tuscarawas County. A Map of the Middle British Colonies in America published in 1755 noted the word "coals" along the Hockhocking River (present-day Hocking River) in the approximate location of Athens County. Athens County lies at the heart of what is known as the Hocking Valley Coal fields. The Hocking Valley Coal Field comprises portions of Athens, Hocking and Perry Counties. At the turn of the 20th century these fields were some of the most productive in Ohio, contributing as much as 40% of all of the state's coal.

Coal production in Ohio began in the 1800's. It's early use expanded from domestic heating to blacksmithing, brickmaking, and evaporating brine in the salt industry. In 1827, flatboats carried the first shipments of coal to Cleveland via the Ohio Erie Canal for use in steamboats. As early as 1835, coal was shipped down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers for use in sugar refineries in New Orleans.

Source: Energy Information Administration

Hocking Coalfield Map generously provided by Chris Dellamea —

Mine Photos from DNR,
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division,
The Ohio Historical Society Archives/Library,
The Archives for the State of Ohio,
and Courtesy of the Mahn Center, Alden Library, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio