The little cities of black diamonds are made up of a dozen or so small coal mining towns located in rural south eastern Ohio and they are the bones of what was once a booming coal industry now plagued with poverty and a dying population.
A few of these forgotten small towns have historical significance and are a testimony of good times gone by, such as Rendville, San Toy, and Shawnee. I have blogged about San Toy (here) and I thought I would share some history about Rendville and few photos from a recent visit there.
It’s a tiny town with a big history, and although not much is left today I thought it would be interesting to share some recent photos of surviving structures and artifacts, as well as some history.
Fall Photos St Rt 555, triple nickle, rim of the world, Burr Oak Lake State Park, 10-11-12
While out taking a Sunday drive with the wife, we stumbled upon San Toy, one of the little cities of the black diamonds, the town of San Toy in Perry County Ohio is gone now, but it has a lot left to indicate that a thriving community once stood at this intersection in the rural backwoods of coal county
Between 1900 and 1927, San Toy was a prosperous company town. It was created by the Sunday Creek Coal Company to provide lodging for its employees at the two San Toy coal mines. How did it get its odd name? There are so many stories that it’s impossible to say. It was a fad of the Victorian era to give things Chinese-sounding names, so maybe San Toy just sounded good. Another story says that the town’s best boxer was named Sam Troy, and they wanted to name the town after him, but the handwriting on the town’s charter was misread and misprinted. Probably the closest thing to the truth is the story that the Sunday Creek Coal Company had invested in a Broadway musical called San Toy (which actually did exist around the turn of the century). When it flopped they lost a lot of money. The story goes that, surveying the town, one said to another, “Let’s hope this isn’t another San Toy”