Leetonia coke ovens closed for renovation

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The Beehive Coke Oven Park in Leetonia will close for the next few months.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources will be diverting mine drainage water away from the historic coke ovens that surround the 30-acre park.

The water from an old mine shaft filled the railroad trenches over the years and village officials hope to drain them to save the structures, which originally were built in 1865.

The ovens, which are on the National Register of Historic Places, played a major role in the iron and steel industries and were used to purify the coal, but when the industries went down, so did the Coke ovens.

The $150,000 project is being paid for through a grant from the Office of Surface Mining.

“Nobody builds things anymore, so when the water comes through and bursts out a side wall of one of these ovens it’s not like we can go in and patch it up,” said Leetonia Community Development Coordinator Justin Hite. “But yeah that’s what it’s been doing, eroding the stonework.”

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