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Bobtown

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Bobtown is a self-contained mining village, and one of the largest coal patches in Greene County. It was built between 1924 and 1928 by the Shannopin Mining Company ( GR11) on the former Titus and South farms. The Shannopin Mine was one of the last operating mines in the county connected to a company town. Bobtown ultimately had 354 simple, frame, gable-roofed houses of three by two bays in four styles, with running water, flush toilets, and electricity. Most are one story, although two-story versions exist. The inset porches and central chimneys, as, for example, at 6 Crescent Circle, are unique to Bobtown. The houses were built by the Ward and the Fink brothers.

Larimer Avenue, Bobtown, Greene County; typical coal-patch frame housing with two stories, gable roofs, and simple porches set on the facades.

The village is reached by climbing the hillside on a winding road past the empty mine company locker rooms and administration buildings adjacent to Dunkard Creek. Bobtown was built on the plateau at the top of a hill, with streets conforming to the landscape and the houses ranged tightly along them. The former Circle Theater (1925) in Bobtown is a large, blockish red brick structure, much altered over the years. Originally used as a theater, it is now the fire station. The village has one Roman Catholic church, St. Ignatius of Antioch (1974; Larimer Avenue at Bobtown Hill Road) and two Methodist churches; a library reading room (1927; 777 Larimer Avenue) in the former frame school building; jail (1924; Larimer Avenue at Bobtown Hill Road); and several stores. The arrangement of the theater, jail, war memorial, and Catholic church at the intersection of Bobtown Hill Road and Franklin and Larimer avenues creates a central space, almost a town square. Brick corbeling at the cornice line ornaments the rectangular company store at the corner of Main and Franklin avenues, while the former jail is embellished with a pediment, wide cornice, brick corner quoins, and a brick arched door surround. As an ensemble, the village is representative of a pre–World War II way of life that was tied to a single industry.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Lu Donnelly et al.

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