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History of Oak Hill, Ohio (continued)

Mineral Resources Lead To Commerce
In 1888, over a million tons of high quality coal were mined here. Jackson County was second only to Perry County in coal production in Ohio. Valuable minerals found in the surrounding area led to many industries and employment. The brick, clay, and coal industries were the major source of employment for the area. Farming, making iron, and manufacturing clay products became three of the leading occupations of these Welshmen and their descendents. Coal mining was very profitable in the Jackson Lake region.

Oak Hill School District Formed
About the year 1890 the population of the two school districts in Oak Hill, Portland School District and Oak Hill, School District, increased to a point where the two districts were combined into one district and a six-room brick building was erected on the hill. From this school came the first graduating class of 1893. This building was condemned after only ten years of use.

New Newspaper Created
n 1900 Sherman Miller, a Methodist Minister, started publication of “The Defender” which he edited until 1905, when the name of the paper was changed to “The Oak Hill Republican” and Dan T. Davis became the editor with Miller retaining the ownership. Two years later Reverned G. James Jones acquired the ownership and changed the name of to “The Oak Hill Press”. Later Arch Martin and E.G. Chapman formed a partnership thereby combining ownership of the Oak Hill Press with the Jackson Herald and printing moved to Jackson.

Central School Building Constructed
In 1901 the Central School Building was constructed and it was occupied on January 1, 1902. Later two more rooms were added and six teachers and a principal were employed.

Providence University Created
Dr. G. James Jones organized Providence University in 1901. He used the old brick school building on the hill, which he purchased from the village. In 1909 a corporation was formed by Dr. Jones and four others. According to the Articles of Corporation professorship were mathematics, German, Latin, Greek, ancient literature, rhetoric, shorthand, pensmanship, bookkeeping, music, physical science, culture, and hygiene. Tuition was $25 per year if paid in advance and $30 if paid monthly. Many high school pupils attended this school during the summer terms, so they might be able to finish high school in less than four years. The school was discontinued in 1911.

Other Financial Institutions Created


The Oak Hill Savings Bank was organized on October 29, 1902 with a capital of $296,616.65. The incorporators were J. Edward Jones, David D. Davis, George D. Shelby, Simon Labold, and James W. Bannon. In 1913 the Oak Hill Savings Bank constructed a new building that was later occupied by the Jenkins Pharmacy. In 1962 the Oak Hill Savings Bank built a modern building located on Front Street. It is one of the areas oldest financial institutions. A drive-in-service window was added to the original structure in 1983.

The Citizens Savings and Trust Company was incorporated on July 3, 1905. The Citizen’s Savings and Trust Company’s main office was located in Jackson with a branch in Oak Hill. The bank operated under the original name until September 1921, when the charter was amended changing the name to The Citizens Bank. Later a new building was constructed (home of the original American Legion before the American Legion moved to the Highway Restaurant Building) and the bank operated until it closed in 1931 during the depression.

South School Building Constructed
In 1915 the South School Building was erected. It was a two-story building of four rooms.

Electricity Comes To Oak Hill
In 1915, the first electricity was manufactured at the Ohio Fire Brick Plant. This plant had all of the facilities to manufacture electric current with the exception of a generator. A small generator was purchased and it was the intention of management at that time to generate enough electricity to furnish lights for the employees of The Ohio Fire Brick Company Plant and the sister plant, The Davis Fire Brick Company Plant, one mile away.

When the generating plant was in operation, the lights in and around the plant looked so bright and attractive that the D.D. Davis family decided to run an electric line to their residence on Main Street. Shortly thereafter, a brother, E.J. Davis decided he would also like to have electric lights at his residence on Front Street on the lot where the present Oak Hill Savings Bank is located. Immediately after making these two extensions, neighbors and friends were anxious to have the lights and the management was petitioned to extend the line to the various close residences. This expansion took place one year later and at that time the officials of the company were contacted by a group of individuals known as the Oak Hill Band. The application was made by the band serenading the Davis family one evening. At this performance they played five selections and then the committee called upon the Davis family and inquired if it would be possible to extend the electric line far enough to furnish the Village with five streetlights. This was done.

The next problem encountered was that the generator was over-loaded and it was necessary to purchase a larger one to furnish the Village of Oak Hill with enough electricity. The main lines were then increased and many, many more customers were added montly. The generating plant operated in the evenings from 6:00 P.M. until 11:00 P.M. except on Saturday night when the lights remained on until 11:30 P.M. On Sunday night, the plant closed at 10:30 P.M. Each night the town gave a warning fifteen minutes prior to “lights out”. During the winter months when the nights were longer, the plant operated from 6:00 A.M. until 8:00 A.M.

The lines were extended to various places within the corporation and this operation became a burden on the Brick Plan where the energy was produced. So, in 1928, the Ohio Fire Brick Company sold the franchise to E.M. Poston and Associates. This company was later enlarged and the name changed many times.

Oak Hill High School Built
The Oak Hill High School Building was built in 1924 and its first graduating class was in 1925. The ground located on the north side of the school was made into a football field and later electric lights were added for night games.

Clionian Club Organized
The Clionian Club, a Federated Women’s Club, was organized in 1926. The main project was of the club was the establishment of the first public library. The first president and organizer was Mrs. D. Howard Jenkins.

Pyro Church Organized in 1928
Parish Grove Built in 1937

Oak Hill Chamber of Commerce Organized
The Oak Hill Chamber of Commerce was organized in 1928. Roscoe Kern was the chamber president from 1928 to 1952. During his term of office, Lake Jackson was developed, and many streets were paved. He was made a lifetime member.

Oak Hill Public Library Organized
The Oak Hill Public Library was organized in July 1935 by members of the Clionian Literary Club. The State Library in Columbus loaned about 600 books for a nine-month period. These, together with gifts and donated books, were available to the public in a small room over the Twin Brothers Grocery. After several other relocations, in 1956, Mr. And Mrs. E.J. Davis purchased a site and began work on a beautiful blond-brick building.

Lake Jackson Created

The main subject of conversation around the Oak Hill area in the late 1930’s was the proposed lake about one mile west of town. It was a topic of discussion around dinner tables and fireplaces in most every household in the area. The Oak Hill Area Chamber of Commerce, along with all other civic organizations of Oak Hill, spent many hours planning and researching for this project. Finally after several trips by a committee from the Chamber of Commerce to Columbus for meetings with officials of the Department of Natural Resources, money was approved for the creation of Lake Jackson. Originally 242 acres of land was acquired for the lake property and an additional 92 acres of right-of-way land around the proposed lake.

The actual work began around April 1, 1939, mainly by WPA workers. The crew consisted of approximately 98 workers using mostly hand tools. In June of 1939 work began on the dam and was completed in early fall. Old timers from the area have many tales of early happenings in the area. Over the years, a small camping area and swimming beach were added. These facilities were improved and picnic areas were added in the mid-1970s. Jackson Park was dedicated as a state park in 1979. There are two picnic areas, multiple shelter houses, a beach, swimming area, spillway, and campground.

The Legend of the Lost Lead Mine
There is a legend that the Indians had a secret lead mine in Jackson County. Findings of masses of lead in Bloomfield, Liberty, and Jefferson Townships gave some credence to this legend. When the Blackfork Creek bottom was being cleared for the water of Lake Jackson a mine-like tunnel was found at the south end of Laurel Point. Laurel Point is a ridge that extends south from the Jefferson Furnace to the Blackfork Creek bottom. This ridge is now a peninsula-like promontory that extends into the water. The opening of the tunnel is now under water. When workmen were clearing the land for the lake they discovered the tunnel. At that time (1938) you could crawl into the tunnel for several yards. Immediately after the discovery the legend of the Lost Lead Mine was revived. Many believe at last the mystery was solved and the news quickly spread. An old timer born in 1889 who lived all his life at Jefferson Furnace heard all the speculation and was said to have chuckled to himself. He kept his secret and thought the people should be permitted to fantasize and they did.

Oak Hill Community Medical Hospital Created

On April 20, 1949 concerned citizens, seeing the need for more adequate medical service, incorporated a non-profit medical clinic in Oak Hill. In 1951 the hospital was opened at a cost of $150,000. The Oak Hill Hospital came into existence through the leadership of D.D. Davis and family. Many local citizens also donated to the original construction. Dr. R.L. Woodyard served as the first superintendent. Dr. Louis Jindra joined the staff in 1953 followed by Dr. John Cook in 1954. In 1957 the Margaret Davis wing was completed at a cost of $750,000. The Thomas A. Jenkins Memorial addition was completed in 1967 at a cost of $312,840 making the hospital an 80-bed facility.

Oak Hill in the 1950’s

Cooper Hollow Wildlife Area Established
Purchases for the 5,421-acre Cooper Hollow Wildlife Area began in 1953.

Davis Home for the Aged Constructed
The Davis Home for the Aged, a 32-room facility, was constructed in 1959 by the Davis Foundation.

Optometrist and Dentist Office Opened
In the early 1960’s Dr. Benjamin Binns, Optometrist, and Dr. Stanley Fleming, Dentist, opened offices in the Dick Brown Building on Park Avenue.

Margaret Ann Pool and Park Constructed
The Margaret Ann Pool and Park were constructed in 1961. The pool was named to honor Margaret and Anna Davis, major donators for the construction of the pool.

Oak Hill In the 1970’s

Jackson County Water Company Formed
A group of farmers in Jackson County who needed drinking water started Jackson County Water in1970.

Village Offices Move to Imogene Brunton Davis Memorial Building
The Village of Oak Hill moved their administrative offices to the Imogene Brunton Davis Memorial Building in 1994.

Oak Hill Festival Flags Created
A United States Flag every forty feet on every street in the Village of Oak Hill was one of the original goals of a small group in the village. The Oak Hill Festival of Flags was started in 2000 to encourage people to display the flag, promote the Village of Oak Hill, and provide family entertainment for the Memorial Day Weekend.

The village and area residents purchased over 1,000 flags for the first festival. Flagpoles were held in place by plastic pipes that were inserted in holes every forty feet along the village streets. It was an inspiring sight to see all of the flags waving in the breeze. Many Oak Hill residents decorated their houses and businesses with flags and banners and the decorated buildings add to the inspiring sight of red, white and blue. In the third year, close to 2,000 flags were displayed along the village streets.

New Schools Constructed
The Oak Hill Union Local School District constructed a new high school/middle school and elementary school in 2003.

New Oak Hill Public Library Building Constructed
The new Oak Hill Public Library Building was constructed in 2004.

Davis Stadium Constructed
The over $4 million dollar Davis Stadium was completed in 2006. Davis Stadium includes a field turf football field, home bleacher seating for 1,563 people, twenty wheel chair spaces, and 20 wheel chair companion seats, visitor bleacher seating for 529 people, eight wheel chair spaces, and 8 wheel chair companion seats, an eight lane rubberized track, 300 space parking lot, and a 9,668 square foot field house that includes a weight room, home locker room with 75 collegiate style lockers, visitors locker room with 35 collegiate style lockers, fully equipped training room, officials dressing room, coaches office, indoor baseball pitching area, storage and utility room, concession stand and restrooms.