Connecting Rural Ohio
Connecting Rural Ohio: Vinton
Vinton is a village of 324 (U.S. 2000 census data) in Huntington Township of northern Gallia County, about 100 miles southeast of Columbus. It is situated at the intersection of Ohio State Routes 160 and 325.
The settlement of Vinton was laid out in 1832 by Gen. Samuel R. Holcomb and former U.S. Representative and Gallia County Attorney Samuel F. Vinton. The village was named for Vinton who, among his many achievements, helped to establish the U.S. Department of the Interior. In 1805, Holcomb and George Tyler settled near present-day Vinton, along Raccoon Creek.
Enoch McNeal built a gristmill on the banks of Raccoon Creek in 1815, and Stephen and Samuel Holcomb erected a sawmill nearby in 1819 for John Adney. The first post office in Vinton was established in 1835.
A number of the early residents of Gallia County were employed in the iron industry, working at mines and furnaces scattered about the nearby Hanging Rock iron fields. By the mid-1800s, this area boasted 22 iron furnaces. The native ores were mined at or near the furnaces, either upon the furnace property, or are brought in by farmers upon whose lands the exposure occurs, and who during such time as they could spare from the ordinary work of their farms, dug ore in small amounts and transported it to the furnaces.
On July 17, 1863, Confederate Brigadier General John Hunt Morgan led his 2nd Kentucky Cavalry through Vinton on a raid from Tennessee, through Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Morgan’s men plundered Vinton for supplies and burnt the bridge over Raccoon Creek as they evacuated the area. In 1870, the Vinton Bean Dinner was sponsored by the Corwin Matthews Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, a tradition that has continued with various sponsors to the present day.
Vinton became a stop on the Columbus, Hocking & Toledo Railroad in 1880, prompting a boom that lasted well into the 1920s.
By the 1880s, most of the charcoal-fueled southern Ohio furnaces had been shut down, replaced by the newer coal-burning furnaces further north in Cleveland, Youngstown and western Pennsylvania. Some of Vinton’s residents found employment in the nearby coal fields, which saw increased production from the Civil War to the early 1970s, when regulations and reclamation cut Ohio coal mining by half over the next 30 years.
The Gallia County Commissioners on June 7, 1882, approved a petition signed by 30 Vinton residents to incorporate as a village. In 1893, Vinton School opened on Clay Street for Grades 1-8. Students in Grades 9-12 attended school at the George Glenn Building. Those planning to finish high school went to the Ewington Academy. A new public school was constructed in 1915 on Keystone Road, and the 1893 building was sold to the village and serves to this day at the Town Hall.
In 1889, the Vinton Leader, a local newspaper, was established and published until 1916. In 1910, the first opera house in Gallia County is located in the village on Main Street.
The Adney sawmill was destroyed by fire in 1919 and rebuilt in 1920. Fire struck again in 1928, originating in the A.L. Stevens home on Main Street and eventually spreading to the McCarley Brothers Hardware, the Baptist church, the IOOF hall and the Kerr-Butler Funeral Home and garage.
Severe floods struck Vinton in 1937, 1968 and 1997. The 1997 high-water event caused damage estimated in the millions of dollars and drew a brief visit from then-Vice President Al Gore.
Passenger rail service was discontinued in 1949. A new Vinton Elementary School was dedicated in 1986.
Today, Vinton itself lacks significant employment opportunities, manufacturing plants and construction sites to provide workforce opportunities for residents. Though employment rates for Vinton’s residents exceed many communities in Ohio’s Appalachian region, residents do have access to educational attainment opportunities through the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College.
Following their projects in New Straitsville and Chesterhill, OSCnet and The Ohio State University in 2007 identified Vinton as the third location at which to provide non-traditional educational services and workforce development training such as Internet-based distance learning programs and adult education classes, as well as new small business and entrepreneurial opportunities, to these underserved populations of Ohio.
The OSCnet/OSU technology team, along with several other local, regional, state and federal partners, is bringing innovative educational services and workforce development training to the region. By offering new opportunities through distance education and career development, local area residents are earning course credits and certificates, learning new trades in education and technology skills, and are once again finding hope and achievement in their lives.
Click on the images below for a slide show.
Some of the information on this page is based on information from a document by Kevin E. Kelly, called History of the Village of Vinton. Additional information was obtained from an article in the August 2, 2003, Vinton Village News.
Historic photos courtesy of Village of Vinton.
The Vinton Water Tower is a significant component of the Satellite Internet Wireless Neighborhood deployed in Vinton Village. A 120-degree Sector Antenna and one of a paired Avalon Antenna array are mounted at the top of the tower.
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