Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘St Michaels Russian Orthodox Church’

Trail Run- A Coal Mining Town

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This overview of Trail Run shows many of the homes, the church and the mines.

In the valley between Byesville and Buffalo, the small town of Trail Run can still be found. Years ago this town was a booming coal mining area with 2000 residents. Let’s take a trip back in time to see what this town was like in the early 1900s.

Originally, this area served as home to the Delaware Indians, who lived along Rocky Bottom until the early 1800s. They traded lead for whiskey along their trail beside the run.

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Men worked in the mines to provide for their families.

After the Indians were chased westward, this area had only a few scattered homes. But when coal was discovered in 1888, the town of Trail Run, officially called Robins, began. This town had two strong coal mines. The coal vein was best at No. 1 mine, where it was 6′ thick.

Many working these mines were Slovaks, Russians and Hungarians – about 1000 of them. When they arrived at Ellis Island, immigrants were greeted with signs written in their native language telling them where jobs were available. Most of the coal miners could not speak English so perhaps a sign in Slovak held up near the dock would have told them that jobs were open in the coal mines in Trail Run.

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Trail Run Mine No. 2 is shown just before closing in 1928.

Life in the coal mines was difficult but better than being hungry. Cambridge Collieries built about fifty houses in Trail Run so the coal miners would have a place to live. Rent was $12 a month for a small house on a dirt street, which had no name.

Church attendance, baseball and beer were three of their main forms of recreation in the early 1900s. Since the mines were closed on Sunday, that was their day for a little entertainment. Later, a pool hall, dance hall and bowling alley were added.

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St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church served as home church for many of the Slavs, who worked in the mines.

Miners attended one of two churches in Trail Run. St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church welcomed the Slovaks, which made up a large percentage of the miners. Others attended Bethlehem Methodist, which still exists today.

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St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church had a large children’s class in  1914.

Five baseball diamonds could be found there. The coal mining towns all played each other, but there was a special rivalry between Upper Trail Run and Lower Trail Run. Baseball provided a great form of relaxation, which the families could watch and enjoy.

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Sikora’s Grocery on the corner of Trail Run Road and Robins Road was a popular place for supplies.

Often after the games, players would gather somewhere to drink a couple beers. There were two saloons in town. One of those bars, The Cave, was under Sikora’s Grocery. Or families might go to Williams or Checks stores for ice cream or candy.

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Men enjoyed visiting after church at Williams’ store.

Another way they might get something to drink happened in connection with the railroad. Cambridge Brewery would ship box car loads of beer barrels. If one just happened to fall from the train, a big party would ensue.

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Every day at least a hundred cars loaded with coal left Trail Run mines

Miners usually obtained free coal for their homes in much the same way. Since a hundred cars of coal left Trail Run daily, there was a good chance that coal might fall (or be accidentally pushed) from the train cars filled with coal. The children of the family would walk along the tracks picking up coal in a burlap sack, so their mother could cook and heat the house.

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Railroad track ran close to the first school at Trail Run in 1900.

The first school built in 1895 had a train track running beside it. When a train came by it was necessary to shut the windows to keep out the noise and the smoke.

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In 1923, this three-story, brick Community School provided education to grades 1-12.

However, in the 1930s, the mines shut down because people could get coal cheaper in West Virginia, Kentucky or Tennessee. Miners had to look elsewhere for employment. Some walked to work at nearby Senecaville, while others headed to Akron and Cleveland to work in the rubber and steel factories there. Population in Trail Run dwindled quickly.

Drive slowly through Trail Run some day while remembering those brave men and women who worked so hard to support their families in the only way they knew. Miners learned the value of hard work by working hard.

Trail Run is located in Ohio in Guernsey County south of Cambridge. Easiest route would be to take I-77, Exit 41 and head south on Vocational Road. Just past Bethlehem Methodist church, turn left on Robins Road. You will now head straight into Trail Run. Enjoy the adventure.

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Sitka’s Russian Heritage

As you travel through the streets of Sitka, you will notice the Russian influence as it traveled to the shores of North America many years ago.  This was the Russian capital of Alaska in 1808 and the Cathedral of St Michaels, a Russian Orthodox church, was built there in 1848. It was rebuilt after a fire in 1966  but many of the religious relics were saved and can be seen, including gold crowns, chalices, books, and vestments.

Sitka was the site of the ceremony where the Russian flag was lowered and the US flag was raised after US purchase of Alaska from Russia in 1867. That purchase was called Seward’s Folly and was criticized at the time. At the price of two cents an acre, this acquisition turned out to be extremely rich in many natural resources including gas and oil.  The flag changing  ceremony is still held each year in Sitka on October 18, Alaska Day.

The Alaska Raptor Center is home for many injured bald eagles.  It is an education center that promotes understanding of the bald eagle as well as protecting the injured ones until they are ready for release back to the wild. Today they also had a large owl sitting in their office.  Good Morning America had filmed a segment here  regarding the injured raptors shortly before our visit.

Totem carvers were at work carefully putting finishing touches on their creations at Sitka National Historical Park, Alaska’s oldest national park.  Native Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes’ carvings began in the 1800s mainly as interior houseposts. Imagine these natives  carving beautiful pieces of history on a cold winter’s day.  Many of the poles here are replicas of totems that were first exhibited in the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair.  Some of the originals have been saved from deterioration and are exhibited in  Totem Hall at the park cener.

Russian Folk Dances performed by the New Archangel Dancers were another highlight of the visit.  Their mission is to promote the Russian heritage through sharing ethnic song and dance in traditional costume.  They have performed since the eighteenth century and are an all female dance troop performing both male and female roles.  In the early days, Sitka men didn’t find it appropriate to engage in dancing. Not a manly activity!  The audience thoroughly enjoy their performance.

After strolling through the streets of Sitka, it is time to head back to the ship.  Smaller local boats called tenders take passengers back to the cruise ship, which isn’t able to get close to shore at this point.   Along with souvenirs, many happy memories are carried aboard.

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