Completed in 1959 and closed in 2009, it was sold by the Ironton City Schools Board of Education to the owner of Southern Ohio Salvage and Contracting, Jack Hager, for $125,000. On top of the $125k the school board received for the property they saved an additional $30,000 they would have had to contribute in demolition costs. Over the summer of ‘09 Whitwell was selected as one of seven schools in Ohio by the EPA as a testing site for potential health concerns from toxic air pollutants. The EPA tests mainly focused on two harmful chemicals, benzene and benzo(a)pyrene. The preliminary figures showed the level of key hazardous pollutants “well below levels of short term concern” the EPA stated. An estimated $50,000 of damage occurred in the spring of 2011 when persons unknown broke into the building and stole copper piping and metal. Most of the destruction was from water damage, “They cut into a main line into the bathroom and water ran into the bathroom for who knows how long, maybe three weeks,” Hager said. In 2012 The Ironton Zoning Appeals Board refused to approve developer Jack Hager’s plan to turn the former school into a 20-unit apartment complex for seniors and veterans. They cited that it was made perfectly clear what the building could be used for when it was put up for bid – no apartments. The above photos were taken toward the end of last summer and it seemed like very little had been done to the building in terms of renovation.
Nearly half of Ohio’s 79 driver’s license testing stations including eight in Southeast Ohio would close and some would be replaced by regional “super stations,” under a state proposal obtained by a newspaper through a public records request.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports the recommendation put together by State Highway Patrol Capt. Carl Roark would save about $706,000 a year.
Testing sites in our region which could close include: McArthur, Gallipolis, Waverly, Ironton, Middleport, Malta, Woodsfield and Caldwell.
Our city has alot of problems. Drug addiction, alcoholism, economic depression, poverty…this past week, a number of churches in the area (not just our city) came together to put Old Testament methods into practice. It was called The Joshua Walk. The city’s 11 mile perimeter was broken up into ¼ mile increments to be walked once a day for 6 days. On the 7th day, it was walked 7 times. Those who couldn’t walk it, drove the perimeter. It was an amazing experience. When it was suggested, some people thought we were crazy. Our city has always had alot of tension between church groups, but for this event, nearly all the churches in the city came together for something bigger. Christians, Baptists, Methodist, Episcopal, Catholics, Apostolic, Pentecostal…it was amazing. And God definitely showed up. We prayed for the city’s problems. We prayed for change. We prayed for each other.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
So if you’ve got a minute, take the time to watch it. I don’t think there was a single person there who wasn’t touched by the event.
Newly-created Demand Satisfaction Photography is the go-to studio for the Ashland area’s photography needs. The creators, Timothy Newhouse and Michael Kent, studied photography in college and can boast experience in movies, commercials and documentaries. Now the photo duo is using their combined knowledge to launch a photo studio in which they can create quality photography for all of life’s big and small moments that need captured.
Demands Satisfaction Photography does weddings, baby pictures, portraits and sports photography as well as photo restoration, all at high quality and reasonable prices. For these photographers, making beautiful images is about incorporating the customers wants and needs as much as possible. They work with clients to incorporate individuality in every shot and offer a variety of formats for their clients to enjoy their images. That’s why Demand Satisfaction offers a variety customizable print sizes and specialty options, including coffee mugs, and mor
Ironton Iron Inc. was an iron casting company that manufactured iron ductile castings primarily for the transportation industry. Originally built in 1908 as the Ironton Malleable Iron Company. The plant covered an area of 25 acres and an annual production of 70,000 tons of castings were made. In 1916 it was acquired by the Dayton Malleable Iron Company and then by the Amcast Industrial Corporation after that. Over the years Amcast faced several EPA violations for the toxic waste disposal site that it shared in Ironton with Allied Chemical known as the Goldcamp Disposal Area. Amcast used the disposal site along with Allied from 1945 until Allied closed the site in 1977. In 1983 the EPA added Goldcamp to the National Priorities List for Superfund cleanups. Many years later Allied sued Amcast to recover half the cost of an estimated $20 million-plus cleanup of the former Goldcamp Disposal Area, which according to court documents, Amcast never paid it’s share. Lengthy court battles followed for years. The Goldcamp disposal site was not the only environmental litigation Amcast has faced.
In April of 1984 Amcast decided to close the Ironton plant putting over 600 employees out of work. Two months later the former employees met with a consultant about the possibility of reopening the plant with it being operated under an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP). As part of that plan the former workers would have to buy at least $2,000 worth of stock in the new company, now to be known as Ironton Iron Inc. The plant operated for about four years after that but it simply could not turn a profit. In 1988 the shareholders agreed to let the company be acquired by another iron company, Intermet. Part of that agreement was that the employee-stockholders would get their initial investment of $2,000 back once the plant turned a profit, but it never did. In December of 1999 Intermet announced plans to close the Ironton plant the following year due to consistent financial losses. In addition, the Ironton plant was one of Intermet’s oldest facilities and the cost of modernization would have further impacted weak operating results. “The decision to close the Ironton Iron foundry was an extremely difficult one for us,” said James F. Mason, group vice president for Intermet. “Intermet has been working for years to make this plant efficient. We invested over $100 million in the plant and lost every penny of it, and more. We feel that all avenues were explored, but unfortunately, the loss of business dictated the eventual outcome of our efforts."
In the later part of 2000 Intermet leveled most of the Ironton site. As common with most old plant sites, issues with environmental contamination has prevented the site from being redeveloped. In 2007 the property was set for a year long $2.5 million cleanup project funded by the Ohio Department of Development that would make the property viable for the city of Ironton. Intermet was to turn over ownership of the property to the city once the property was cleaned up. A couple of companies expressed interest in the property once cleanup was to be completed but now eight years later the site still sits empty with only a few reminders of it’s previous occupants.
Coal power plants may make the most financial sense to build, but perhaps the least environmental sense. Emissions from coal plants are one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. On a global scale, the World Bank and the Obama administration are making moves to shift foreign energy development away from coal-fired plants, but the domestic coal industry maintains powerful champions in the U.S. Congress. The huge piles of coal sprawling along the Mississippi River near Ironton bear testament to that fervent support.
But even with Congressional proponents, the long-term survival of coal as a profitable export seems dim to community activists in Ironton. They see the RAM terminal as a last-gasp effort to squeeze what remaining profit margins exist in an industry where production is so linked to ecological destruction that eventually the limit will be reached. Ironton residents feel stuck in the middle—presented with vague promises of new jobs that will somehow offset the continued environmental degradation of their soil, water and air; long term sustainability traded for short term economic gains.
The geographic distribution of industry has changed within the United States. Sixty years ago, the port of New Orleans would have been the logical place to locate an export terminal of any kind. But scarce industrial land in the city, not to mention the much stronger political will of the population to oppose an environmentally questionable development, makes constructing a project like a coal terminal difficult in areas with larger populations. Over the past 50 years, manufacturing and industry have preferred to build such things in rural areas. Industrializing rural communities is attractive to companies for several reasons—the land is cheaper, the labor is cheaper, and the political landscape easier to navigate. Such small communities also tend to have less access to media, or to organizations dedicated to environmental or governmental watchdogging, many of which are based in cities.
Ironton, however, is fighting back. A coalition of local leaders, organizers and media makers from around the region are raising their voices against the RAM project. Audrey Trufant Salvant is among them. To hear both Audrey and another Ironton resident, Cornell Battle, speak about Ironton and their struggle against the RAM coal terminal, please listen to the interview montage above.
Darin Acosta has spent his entire life exploring and documenting the wetlands, oil infrastructure and forgotten blight of South Louisiana and studied urban and environmental planning at the University of New Orleans. Breonne DeDecker was born near the headwaters of the Mississippi River and now resides at the end of it. She has degrees in photography and sustainable development.
Their current work, The Airline is a Very Long Road, is an experimental biography of Louisiana, which you can find at airlinehighway.tumblr.com.