We Celebrate 20 Years
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Shawnee’s National Register Historic District will come to life this Sunday afternoon, October 19, as Little Cities of Black Diamonds Day celebrates its 20th Anniversary. “20 Years as a Cultural District: Collecting and Sharing Our Nationally Significant Story” is this year’s theme, and will be celebrated with theater, exhibits, music, children’s activities and food. Activities will run from noon-5PM both indoors and on Main Street, with a morning guided hike into the Wayne National Forest on the Buckeye Trail set for 10AM.
The Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council formed in 1994 with purpose of understanding and sharing the history of the former Hocking Valley Coal Region located at the corners of Athens, Hocking, Morgan and Perry Counties in southeastern Ohio where the Great Hocking Valley Coal Boom era (1870-1930) brought national attention to the series of upstart mining towns created after the Civil War. Citizen and scholarly research since then has uncovered three stories of national significance from this era including the region’s pioneering role in the nation’s early labor movement, the breaking of color and ethnic barriers by African Americans and European immigrants who came to the area in search of work, and the establishment of one of the federal government’s first-ever environmental clean-up projects that was waged at the end of the boom era as Civilian Conservation Corps and WPA workers replanted the forest and fought underground mine fires here during the Great Depression, creating Ohio’s only national forest, the Wayne National Forest. The Council’s effort has resulted in the series of remnant mining towns in this area reimaging themselves as the Little Cities of Black Diamonds cultural district by promoting their rich history, boom town architecture and national forest lands as assets for future development.
Sunday’s event will build on the events theme with the premiere of the Cantilever Theater at 2:30pm where living history characters will share highlights of the region’s history from an overhanging porch on East Main Street. These second-story cantilevered porches are one of the signature architectural features of the region. Live music from the Second Wind Bluegrass Band from Noon to 1:30pm and members of the Word of Mouth Jazz Band from 3:30-5pm will be featured indoors at the Tecumseh Commons where food and other exhibits will also be located. A guided walking tour of the historic district will begin at 12:30pm. Mr. Bubbles Old Time Medicine Show for children will take place at 1pm and 3:30pm on West Main Street along with other children’s activities provided by the Perry County District Library, Rural Action Environmental Education program and the Sunday Creek and Monday Creek watershed restoration groups. The Southern Perry County Quilt Show will take place in the Masonic Lodge from Noon-4:30 with the announcement of the People’s Choice Awards for the show at 4:30. A ceremonial cutting of the 20th Anniversary birthday cake and the announcement of the annual Little Cities Spirit Awards are set for 1:30 at the Tecumseh Commons. Historic exhibits, artisan vendors and homemade soups, pies and sandwiches round at the afternoon’s offerings. Persons wishing to join the morning Buckeye Trail Hike should gather at the Miner’s Statue on West Main Street at 10AM.
For a complete schedule click here or contact the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council at 740-394-3011 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Shawnee is located at the intersection of State Routes 155 and 93 in southern Perry County. Support for the event comes from the Ohio Arts Council and the generous support of our members!