23rd Annual Little Cities of Black Diamonds Day Set for Oct. 15

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The 23rd Annual Little Cities of Black Diamonds Day will unfold from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. this Sunday, October 15 in the National Register Historic District of Shawnee, Ohio in southern Perry County. This year’s theme is Passages to Change: Transportation Transforms the Region.

The gathering will feature exhibits, panel discussions, music, horse drawn wagon rides and a parade that explores the major role that transportation has played in the history and current day circumstances of the Hocking Valley Coal Region of southeastern Ohio. The event is free and open to the public and takes place at several locations along Main Street. Each year this event celebrates the rich history, culture and natural environment of the Hocking Valley Coal Fields located at the corners of southeastern Ohio’s Athens, Hocking, Morgan and Perry Counties.

The event’s feature activity, a transportation timeline parade, will assemble at 2:30 p.m. and promenade Main Street beginning at 3 p.m. made up of transportation units that impacted the region over time. The parade will be led by Pat Anderson, a local resident of Shawnee Indian descent who will celebrate the early foot trails though the region and closed with backpackers from the Buckeye Trail Association and horse rides from Smoke Rise Ranch celebrating today’s outdoor recreation trail features in the region.

Presentations and panel discussions and an exhibit at the Tecumseh Commons will explore transportation changes in the region ranging from native Belpre Indian trail through the region to the arrival of the Hocking Canal and three rival railroad lines during the coal boom era. These events were followed by the advent of the automobile and highway systems that made consolidated schools and regional shopping centers common place. The current day role of outdoor recreation trails in supplementing the region’s economy via tourism and changes in public transportation will also be discussed. Artifacts and historic pictures ranging from train tickets and railroader tools, to gas station and car dealership memorabilia will be featured.

Three musical acts with a proclivity toward transportation songs are on tap at the Tecumseh Commons and at the Little Cities Speakeasy Tavern in the Harigle Garage. A speech by Living History Character Peter Hayden will be delivered from the back of the historic caboose at the village entrance at the end of the parade at 3:30 p.m. Hayden was a Columbus industrialist who invested heavily in bringing the canal and railroad to the Hocking Valley and Haydenville, the Hocking County community which he founded.

Historian Tom O’Grady of the Southeast Ohio History Center will speak on the Hocking Canals and the role of canals in general at 12:45 p.m. Historian and WOUB personality Ivan Tribe will give a presentation on the role of the railroad in the region during the late 1800’s at 1:30 p.m. Author David Myers will be on hand to share his new book, Carrying Coal to Columbus at 2:30 p.m. The annual Little Cities Spirit Awards will be announced at 3:30 p.m. in the Tecumseh Commons. Brief “Transportation Talks”, fashioned after the popular “Ted Talks” format, will feature Ohio University Social Studies Education and Sociology students’ research on the event’s theme at various locations throughout the afternoon. Horse drawn wagon rides will be available throughout the afternoon in the historic district.

The Southern Perry County Quilt Show will run from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Masonic Lodge.  A fare of homemade soups, pies and sandwiches will be available in the Tecumseh Commons. The Little Cities Speakeasy will feature regional microbrews, wines and moonshine. A model train demonstration and Dr. Tribe’s presentation are all set at for the Speakeasy in the Harigle Garage Building.

For more information visit  or contact the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council by phone at 740-277-5030 or via e-mail at Shawnee is located in the Wayne National Forest at the intersection of State Routes 93 & 155 in southern Perry County.