Sam Jones and mining hat

Longtime Glouster resident Sam Jones examines an old coal miner’s headlamp inside Sam’s Gym on High Street in Glouster. Glouster was once a bustling hub of economic activity, but has struggled in the years since most of the coal mines have left the region. Jones’ father and grandfather both mined coal, and they started Sam’s Gym in 1936 as a way to give back to the community. You can see a variety of posters, photos and other memorabilia on the walls behind Jones. He’s trained hundreds of people in this gym over the years. Photo by Conor Morris.

Editor’s note: This is the first part of a series from The Athens NEWS exploring the history of the Hocking Valley coalfields and what happened to local communities after most of the coal mines left the area. You can find part 2 here and part 3 here.

Glouster mine

Provided by the Southeast Ohio History Center, this photo shows one of the old coal mine facilities located in the Glouster area in northern Athens County. This photo was apparently taken in 1931. Nowadays, there’s only one coal mine still operating in northern Athens County/southern Perry County, – Buckingham Coal.The owners of that company announced in August 2019 that roughly 100 employees will be laid off from that mine operation

This is a graph from the Ohio Development Services Agency's annual poverty report, dated February 2019.
Glouster in the past

This photo, provided by the Southeast Ohio History Center, shows High Street in Glouster during busier times (in 1918).

Glouster High Street now

This photo shows Glouster's High Street in November 2019 with considerably less activity and more closed-up storefronts. Photo by Conor Morris.

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