It is a shame that Appalachian Ohioans cannot replicate some of the successes that West Virginians have had bringing federal money to help their struggling state. But the problem is that all of West Virginia lies in Appalachia, while only part of Ohio does. None of the power centers of Ohio, all urban or suburban, are in Appalachia; the region does not have the population to have political clout nor money to purchase politicians’ attention. With no real economy, plus underfunded and under-attended schools, the region cannot attract money from the state of Ohio, to say nothing of the federal government. The region is a fairly equal mix of “red” and “blue” counties, but neither party pays attention to them, Republicans because they care nothing for the poor and Democrats because they know and care little about the rural white poor.
“Some fifteen miles north of Athens on the Kanawha and Michigan railroad,” reported the Athens Messenger and Herald in 1894, “is situated the thriving little city of Glouster in the center of the rich mining region of the Sunday Creek Valley. It may not be generally known that Glouster claims a population of about 3,000 and is therefore entitled to a greater degree of distinction than is usually accorded the ordinary mining village. The reporter predicted great things for Glouster, based on the below-ground mountains of coal: “The development of the Sunday Creek Valley coal field is yet in its infancy and the field is practically inexhaustible.” Sadly, the truth turned out to be otherwise.
It was February 2014. Cold and brisk, but the weather was fine and it looked like a nice day to take an excursion. I decided to do something I had been hankering to do for quite a while, which was to return to Mud House Mansion. I had discovered this fascinating old building located a bit east of Lancaster only the month before, so the landscape (barren, winter) would look pretty much the same, but what I wanted to do was to get there very early in the morning and get some good pictures of the mansion during the pre-dawn and dawn minutes, the so-called “golden hour” of photography. Well, the plans of mice and men oft gang agley and my exquisite timing was ruined completely when a woman driving a jeep mounted with a battering ram rear-ended by Pilot in downtown Lancaster. She had a grill guard on the front of Jeep (designed to protect vehicles from deer and such hitting the front of the car), but it was one that protruded well in front of the vehicle and that steel frame ploughed into the back of my SUV, caving in the rear door and doing about $7,000 or so worth of damage. So much for golden hour.