Haydenville: A Small Town with a Big Story
by Patty Carr Horn
The history of the Last Company Owned Town in Ohio is fascinating. I lived in Newark, Ohio most of my life before moving to the unique little town of Haydenville. When I married Larry Horn, (this was his hometown), we would sit for hours and reminisce about the community and spend hours researching and working on different projects that would eventually end up in his book Haydenville: The Company Owned Ohio Town that Outlived the Company. He talked about writing a book for years and I am proud that his book is almost done.
This may be a small town but there are still things to do in Haydenville, Ohio, that is from the past and still happening today. People are still coming here for different reasons. This is my story:
After moving here, it took me awhile to get use to traveling distances just to get food, gas, etc. Before I moved, every place I wanted to go to was within a 5-minute drive, my work was a ½ mile away. It reminds me of people who lived here. They would travel on a canal boat being pulled by horses or mules, or take the stagecoach to get to Hopperville, then find another way to come the rest of the way. I just cannot imagine that I would have the patience to go somewhere and it seemed like forever to get there. It’s bad enough driving or riding for two to three hours and wonder if we will ever get there.
But this was their lifestyle years ago, things have changed over the years, but the memories live on inside each one of us. Deciding on where to live: what town, what neighborhood, what school, what’s it close to. Living in Haydenville people did move from one house to another, but they had everything they needed close by and Mr. Matheny made sure of that.
When immigrants came looking for jobs, they showed their paperwork and was hired. No family members came to the United States with them, being their choice to come to America. Each of them worked alongside other factory men and had a job to do in Haydenville. They only knew each other by their nickname and not their last name.
Anyone who worked in the coal mines, you have my deepest admiration. There is no way you are going to get me underground willingly, being in a hole for an undetermined amount of time working and going deeper into the hills to bring the coal out. My heart races just thinking about it. These fine men were able to bring the coal out of the ground the hard way and not by all the modern machines they have today. Most everyone used coal to heat their homes.
The men who labored over the hot iron ore every day, was unbelievable and you did not hear them complain like they do now days. These fine men were skilled professionals and if something needed done they would do it and not complain, making about as much as you would pay your kids an allowance.
Listening to the stories about people’s life experiences and stories makes you feel a part of this community. I do not mind when people stop by to take pictures of our homes or talk to you about their parents or a family member that lived somewhere in Haydenville and would reminisce what they could remember about Haydenville.
The annual Nelsonville Brick Fest that is held in July brings in several out of state visitors into Haydenville to check out the antique bricks that we have on the homes as well as having several different bricks on our beautiful church. They offer tours of bricks (and homes when available in Haydenville) that are in the Nelsonville, Haydenville, and the Athens area. Be sure to check out their website for more details. I was surprised that more children are learning more about the bricks and making books from all the antique bricks that they are collecting as well. Occasionally, they find a real jewel brick that they want to trade.
The Haydenville United Methodist Church continues to have church services every Sunday and will provide tours inside the church with reservations. Feel free to stop in on a Sunday morning.
I own the old museum now and in the process of remodeling the five-room unique house, one room at a time. There is a picture on the wall that Wib Sparks painted in 1971 (while he still lived in Haydenville). It is a large picture of the Haydenville Company store that he painted directly on the wall that is the length of one wall alone, which is now my bedroom. This picture will remain there as part of history and I will eventually put a shadow box around it, wanting to preserve it as much as possible.
This is the first time this house has had an indoor bathroom. The outhouse was torn down and I planted a buckeye tree in the spot (donated by Larry). The kitchen is almost ready to use for family meals, where we can sit together for meals and not in front of the TV. When you visit my house, you will not find a TV, there are other things in life that are more important. Spending quality time with the family is important to me.
I want to preserve the Haydenville nine-way brick tile, they are aged and falling apart outside, hopefully I can find a way to make them useful and preserve them at the same time. That is my next project. This is my way of preserving the history of this house that is on the National Registry of Historical Places.
In the front yard of this old museum was a Haydenville marker. But when the museum was sold the marker was moved to the Haydenville Park that is right beside the Haydenville United Methodist Church. I did not realize that there was so much interest in finding these markers. They search for the longitude and latitude of the markers, putting the information in their GPS to find their location. Several people who have come to see the marker are from out of state and find as many as they can. While others are on their phones looking for pokey men and dinosaurs from some game they have on their cell phones. Either I am getting older or times are changing faster than me getting older. Nonetheless, I am happy to see people out and about enjoying themselves.
One of my favorite things about Haydenville is the Hocking Valley Scenic Railroad located in Nelsonville, Ohio. The train runs on the weekends and on special occasions, like the train robbery just outside Haydenville with Smoke Rise Ranch providing the horses and riders. It is fun to watch the kid’s expressions when the bandits board and rob the train. The robbery takes place by the sawmill in Haydenville.
One of my favorites is when I hear the restored steam engine coming, listening to the sound of the engine and seeing the smokestack above the trees coming down the track, and watching people pulling their cars over to the side of the road to take pictures of the steam engine. The train will go down the track and then come back on the same track which makes the smokestack going the opposite direction. The sad thing was when the Haydenville Train Depot was taken down this year.
During my time in Haydenville, Ohio, I went to Hocking College to receive my Associates Degree in Accounting and Business. I was on the Dean’s List. I started tutoring other students when they were having trouble with Accounting classes, which reinforced my knowledge and understanding. It is a pleasure to help other people learn something new.
Currently I am working at the United States Post Office, which I really enjoy. I am a traveling clerk, which means I am stationed at the Sugar Grove Post Office now, but I can help other local communities. Our Haydenville Post Office is currently opened two hours a day, six days a week. The lobby remains open twenty-four hours a day.
Before I started working at the United States Post Office, I ran for Hocking County Commissioner. When I ran, I was against a two-term component, losing by 47 votes. I know that some people did not like me because I was new and not one of the good old boys. But, I never let that stop me from trying.
Our community is ATV friendly, there is a riding trail through town to get to the different Wayne National Forest trail heads. The riders travel long distances to be able to ride on trails at the edge of Haydenville. These trails are monitored by the Wayne National Forestry. I would just love to own one of the campers that comes by the house, several cost more than my house. But again if I had one I would have to travel. Family time is so important, and everyone needs times just to get away and have FUN.
I am the founder and president of the Haydenville Improvement Committee, Inc. that was formed in 2011, which is the only organization left in Haydenville. The others are no longer in business. Everyone in my organization are all volunteers with no administration fees. A big thank you to all of you.
One of the projects we used to do is community cleanups, but we are unable to do that anymore because of the cost that we were encountering, and the money for the clean-ups is getting harder to find. An average cleanup costs between $2,000-$3,000 a year. Also, we felt that more people should have personal dumpsters and not wait till cleanup day.
My daughter Lauren and her four sons (Ryan, Nathaniel, Christopher, Zachary) moved in next door to me. They moved here from Newark also. The boys are adjusting to the move and the smaller classrooms. Interaction between them and the teachers was worth the move. Their grades have improved. Thanks to the Hocking County teachers, for all that you do.
Of course, one of the things that happened was CoVID and all the restrictions that the governor put in place, wearing of masks, social distancing and not allowed to be in groups. Some people had to talk on the phone or use the internet, Facebook or other type of communication to interact. This has been challenging for everyone especially for those that enjoyed the company of others. Kids were being homeschooled, with most of the classes being online that required every house to have internet. Each boy has a separate chrome book to do all their homework and do the live classroom with the teachers. Some classes used internet games to advance in math and English levels. Times are changing, using all the resources necessary to teach the children that were being homeschooled. It has only been recently that they were able to start school again, having a better respect for the teachers. Some days the boys had difficulty in different subjects and when you have four boys asking different questions, it was difficult for my daughter Lauren to help them figure out without giving them the answers. Lauren has been a great mom not only helping her sons out but helping other students when the parents had difficulty understanding the assignments. Lauren has understanding, love for her boys and has the gift to be a patient loving mom.
The Haydenville Reunion was put on hold, it was a time when everyone past and present would come together and reminisce and see all the changes that had taken place. Let’s not forget all the great cooks that made all the delicious food, trying out new and old recipes. Selling tickets for the Chinese auction to win a prize was our way to help cover the cost of the building rent for the event. Hopefully, we can have another one soon.
One of the things I made that I did not think would go over very well was pawpaw muffins. I picked the pawpaws at the Haydenville/Wolfe Cemetery to make them and I was totally surprised after four batches they were all gone within an hour. Who knew? If you would have known what they were, would you eat one?
My favorite was when Larry and I went up Pickett Hill to pick blackberries. I had an ice cream bucket full of blackberries when a snake wrapped his body around my leg and scared the living daylights out of me. I must have been stepping on its neck because when I lifted my boot up a little it started moving away from me. My heart was racing about 50 miles an hour at that point. GOOD news is I saved my blackberries and did not drop one of them. The pies were extra special that I made with them.
Haydenville is a never-ending story. When you think it is almost done, someone adds to it and the story continues. What is your story………….?