The City of Nelsonville is located in the northwest portion of Athens County Ohio, United States. The population was 5,392 at the 2010 census. It is the home town of Hocking College.
Nelsonville, with its Historic Square, is nestled in the beautiful Hocking Hills region.
The history of Nelsonville:
First settled in 1814 by the Daniel Nelson family, Nelsonville was incorporated in 1838 with Charles Cable as its first mayor.
Nelsonville blossomed into a classic Appalachian town by the mid-19th century, relying on the extractive industries of coal, clay and salt. Like many large mining towns, Nelsonville was home to a large hotel, The Dew House, and a thriving theater, Stuart's Opera House, both located on the Public Square. The large amount of coal extracted from the Nelsonville area earned Nelsonville the nickname "Little City of Black Diamonds."
During the American Civil War's famed Morgan's Raid, Confederate cavalry under Brig. Gen. John Hunt Morgan paused in Nelsonville in July 1863 and burned ten wooden canal boats. However, the 400 confederates failed to destroy a covered bridge over the Hocking Canal when citizens rushed to extinguish the blaze after the raiders rode off. This allowed Union cavalry to continue their pursuit of the fleeing Confederates when they arrived in Nelsonville two hours later. Upon arriving in town, the Union cavalry was delighted that the townspeople had prepared a feast for them.
Recent years have brought a revival of sorts to Nelsonville, capturing its artistic spirit in an effort to restore the Public Square into an Arts District. Most recently, Nelsonville was admitted into the national Main Street Program, and named a Preserve America Community. The central business district has also been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and both the Dew House and Stuart's Opera House have been listed separately. Nelsonville is best known for producing Star Brick, and you will see these striking bricks lining the sidewalks throughout the historic district.