Abandoned and Forgotten Communities in Ohio

Ohio is home to many abandoned and forgotten communities, each with its own unique history.

Ohio is home to many abandoned and forgotten communities, each with its own unique history. From East Cleveland, which was once a bustling suburb but now struggles with poverty and disinvestment, to Mingo Junction, a former steel town that has experienced a decline in population and economic activity, these communities represent the challenges facing many small towns and cities across the Midwest. Despite their struggles, these communities remain important parts of Ohio’s history and culture, and efforts are underway to revitalize and preserve them for future generations.

East Cleveland

East Cleveland, Ohio, was founded by Scottish immigrants and incorporated as a village in 1895. Later, in 1911, it became a city. One of its most notable features was General Electric’s Nela Park, which was the world’s first industrial park. Additionally, the city was home to numerous opulent mansions situated along Euclid Avenue. Among these, the most famous was the 248-acre estate of John D. Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil and the world’s first billionaire. However, during the Great Depression, many mansions were either abandoned or demolished, and commercial or industrial properties were built in their place. After World War II, East Cleveland’s population began to decline due to several factors, including the development of newer suburban areas, increasing crime rates, and changing demographics. The city’s population peaked at 40,000 residents in 1950 and has since dramatically declined to under 14,000 in 2020.

Mingo Junction

Mingo Junction is a town in Ohio that was founded around 1869. The town’s growth was primarily due to the establishment of an ironworks in the vicinity. Later, the town became known for Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel’s Mingo Junction Works, which unfortunately closed down in 2009. Mingo Junction has also appeared in some popular films. In the 1978 movie “The Deer Hunter,” Mingo Junction served as a steel mill community in Pennsylvania. In 1984, the town was a primary filming location for the movie “Reckless.”


Negley is a community situated in Columbiana County, Ohio, that was once a coal camp operated by the Powers Mining Company. The now-defunct Smith’s Ferry Branch of the Youngstown & Southern Railroad had its northern terminus in Negley. The company store, which was built in 1867, was reportedly the largest in the world during the early 1900s. Today, it has been converted into a 5,000-square-foot antique store.


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