The Forgotten Places of Delaware, Ohio…
According to author and researcher Rick Helwig, there are approximately 8,000 to 9,000 ghost towns in Ohio. Helwig, the director of the Center for Ghost Town Research in Ohio, spoke to a large crowd during a program put on by the Delaware County Historical Society at the First Presbyterian Church.
Helwig runs the center from his home in Sunbury, and has been at this business for some time. His father officially founded the center in 1983 after teaching several college courses on the subject starting in the 1970s. Following in his father’s footsteps, and with research assistance from his mother, Helwig has continued to study, classify, and document forgotten towns in many of Ohio’s counties. He identified four different types of ghost towns: true ghost towns, semi-ghost towns, paper towns, and old towns.
Helwig spoke of ghost towns in other counties, such as the town of Pee Pee and Ratsville, which actually had a story about rats attached to it. He also told the story of the haunted ghost town of Moonville in Vinton County. Although headquartered in Sunbury, the Helwig family has published many editions of ghost town books for many of Ohio’s counties. Over time, he updates the books as semi-ghost towns slip into ghost town status, or as new information is discovered.
Helwig’s love of local history spills over to many areas, including Santa Claus and the Civil War. He will be speaking at the November 20th annual membership meeting for the Delaware County Historical Society when he presents with Henry Shaw about Delaware County and the Civil War. Helwig will also be the featured speaker at a program on the history of Santa Claus for the Big Walnut Historical Society in November.
For more information on the Center for Ghost Town Research in Ohio, try writing or calling Helwig. He is listed with the Sunbury Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce and is also very involved with the Big Walnut Area Historical Society.