In early November, we spent a weekend in our Rocky Ridge Cabin. One of the benefits of owning cabins is being able to stay in them a few times a year. Even though our properties aren’t that far from home, it still feels like a mini-vacation every time we stay. As usual, we always spend our time in the Hocking Hills hiking and visiting some of our favorite sites. This time we, though, we visited a new place: Haydenville, and it turned out to be a good find. (I had driven through this town many years ago but never stopped.)
If you’ve ever driven down US 33 from the Hocking Hills to Nelsonville, then you’ve been within a ½ mile of Haydenville, most likely without realizing it. Haydenville is located on Haydenville Road (Co. Rd. 25), about 5 miles southeast of Logan. Exit US 33 at State Route 595 and go right. You’ll drive right through town, and then soon back onto US 33.
Haydenville was Ohio’s last company owned town. Company towns were owned by mining companies, which means the company owned all the homes and businesses in town. All town residents were employed by the company. Basically, workers were slave to the company. What makes Haydenville especially interesting is the unique architecture of the town’s structures. The buildings and houses incorporate a variety of different bricks, blocks and tiles manufactured at the company brick/tile plant. The fire clay used in the manufacturing was mined locally. Most of these structures still stand today and continue to serve as homes for village residents. The company no longer exists and the homes are now privately owned. Most of them are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Ohio historical Society provides a more detailed history of the town: click here
Two cemeteries in town are worthy of a visit. Wolfe Cemetery is beautifully situated on a wooded hilltop overlooking the Hocking Valley. You’ll find it on a gravel road off the left side of Haydenville Road approx. ¼ mile before intersecting with US 33 south of town. All of the people buried in the cemetery, except one, were members of the Wolfe family or had married into the family. Many grave markers here date back to the mid-1800s, some with interesting– almost lighthearted–inscriptions. Legends say the cemetery is haunted by a witch supposedly buried under one of the large, flat stone grave markers. The folks at forgottenohio.com provide good information about the cemetery: click here
Located at the end of Howard Road, Haydenville Cemetery is not quite as interesting as Wolfe Cemetery. This cemetery is believed to be the official town cemetery where workers of the company and their family members were buried. While it is interesting to walk through the cemetery grounds, it is what lies in a hollow just north of the cemetery that may be the most interesting site in town to visit.
In a hollow below the cemetery sits the remains of the Haydenville Tunnel. It’s a small tunnel size-wise in comparison to a car or train tunnel, but not any less interesting. The tunnel runs for nearly a mile under the wooded ridges and was once used to transport clay from a clay mine located along a tributary of the Hocking River to the company brick/tile plant. A pallet plant is now located where the brick plant used to stand. Clay was transported by hand in large carts on a narrow set of rails. A large outer arch at the tunnel entrance narrows to a smaller opening several yards inside. The arches are lined with glazed tile manufactured at the now extinct brick plant. It is possible to walk quite a distance into the tunnel with a flashlight. The land around tunnel is owned by the federal government so you should not have to worry about trespassing on private land. Again, forgottenohio.com provides more in-depth information: click here.