Vinton Co.





Gary B. Speck


 MOONVILE, Ohio is an interesting ghost town site.  It was established in 1856 along the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad (beginning in 1887, operated by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad) in the coal and iron rich woods of southeastern Ohio.  It was a small coal-mining/iron-smelting town and reached its zenith in the 1870s when the population swelled to about 100 folks and a coal-powered iron furnace fed the economy. After the furnace shut down, activity switched to underground coal mining.  That coal was shipped to many of the locally still-active iron forges/furnaces, many of which supplied iron for use in weaponry.


A cemetery is located near the old townsite, and it is also famous as the site of the Moonville Tunnel, a short (50-yard long), brick train tunnel through one of the many hills in the area.  The railroad line has been removed, the right-of-way graded and graveled.  The stone buttresses of the old trestle remain to entice photographers.  Nothing, except the foundation of the schoolhouse, remains of the town.  Even the mine openings have pretty much collapsed.  At its peak it is said to have had post office, railroad depot, saloon, school and a store.


The town was active until around 1900, the last family leaving in 1947.  By the 1960s, all the buildings had been razed.  Trains continued to run through until Aug 31, 1985, when the last one passed through the tunnel and by the old townsite.  In 1988 the tracks were pulled., 


It was located southeast of Hope, near where Township Highway 18 crosses the old railroad grade.  The trestle foundations are east of the road, and the tunnel beyond.  The cemetery is west of the highway, south of the tracks.  I have not determined where the town was located, but it is said to have straddled the tracks. (Probably west of the highway).


It is also the area of a number of ghost stories.


If you do visit Moonville PLEASE respect the rights of nearby residents and follow the Ghost Towner’s Code of Ethics.   



This was our Ghost Town of the Month for December, 2006.





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FIRST POSTED:  December 01, 2006

LAST UPDATED: January 02, 2007




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