Location: Jackson Drive, The Plains
Contact: Eclipse Company Town
The Eclipse Company Town is just two miles north of Athens and Ohio University off of US 33 and Johnson Road near The Plains. Or ditch the car and take the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway straight there.
The Eclipse Company Town was built by the Hocking Valley Coal Company between 1900 and 1902. Operated by the Johnson Brothers, for whom Johnson Road was named, the Company Town sits atop Eclipse Mine #4 of the Hocking Valley Coal Company. Miners and their families once lived in the quaint houses, which form two parallel rows. The town’s store served as a pay station and general store for the miners. The miners could earn credit only, and kept a running tab based on the amount of coal loaded in the mine. That credit was then used in exchange for goods and services at the store.
Married miners without children rented the two front rooms of the second floor of the store. Miners with families and children rented the houses. There were originally eight company houses in the town, with another five nearby, about where the US 33 bridge cross the Hocking River today. It was called Five Spot. There were also many more company houses on the other side of Johnson Road and in the surrounding area.
The mine closed in the early 1930s, as did many others in the area, due to the Great Depression. But the Eclipse Mine #4 reopened in 1940 as part of a World War II effort and continued operating until 1948.
In 1997 Eclipse, Ltd., was formed by five friends who decided to take on restoration of the company town because of their interest in local preservation, history and the Hockhocking Adena Bikeway. In February 2009, renovations of the Eclipse Company General Store were completed.
The Company Town now has twelve company houses, one shotgun house, and the company store. The houses are rented to an array of commercial and residential tenants.
The Eclipse Company Town is located 2 miles north of Athens and Ohio University, and just south of The Plains, Ohio. From U.S. Route 33, turn onto Johnson Road at the Athens Messenger building. Half-way through the big sweeping curve, take the first left onto Jackson Drive. If you’re traveling by bicycle, Eclipse is close to the 7 mile marker on the HockHocking Adena Bikeway.