23 October 2011

Jerusalem, Ohio

Jerusalem resident Joy Yontz is a fifth grade teacher. She invited her students to photograph their Jerusalem, a town in an agricultural area in the rugged hills of eastern Ohio. Their photographic sequence begins and ends with images titled "Good morning Jerusalem" and "Good night Jerusalem." We see children's views of their rural town: rooster announcing dawn, entrance to Jerusalem, Amish buggy on a rainy day, snowy day, old school, Jerusalem post office, quilt barn, pumpkin harvest, painted pumpkins on Miss Clevenger's porch, Allison showing her goat at the county fair, tractor, Jim riding his horse Penny, and wild turkeys in a corn field.



Jerusalem, Ohio
by Jerusalem Resident Joy Yontz

History
The first house was built in 1825. By 1847, there were only three residences in the area that was to become Jerusalem. The Quaker religious group built a church and named it Jerusalem. It is thought that Jerusalem (the town) was named after the church. The Quakers moved from the area and about 1860 the building was remodeled and used as a hotel. The Ohio River & Western Railroad went through Jerusalem until forced out of business in 1931 by a combination of automobile competition and the Great Depression. There are no signs of the railroad left in the small village.

The People and Families of Jerusalem: As of 2010 Census
There are an estimated 161 people in the village corporation limits; 1,079 people with a Jerusalem address. About 61% of adults are married. Approximately 79% of housing in Jerusalem is owner-occupied. 93% of the residents drive to work. The following statistics are based on the population with a Jerusalem address: Total Population 1,079 - Male, 538; Female 541; Median Age 37.4; Race - White 1,051, Black or African American 9; Indian American 2; Asian 14; Hispanic or Latino 1; Average family size 3.09; Occupied housing units 401; High School Graduate or higher 604; Bachelor’s Degree or higher 80; Speak a language other than English at home 6.

School
The first and only school in town was built in 1884. It was a two story frame building at the west end of Church Street. That building was replaced in 1920 with a three room building. Jerusalem had a high school until 1929. Elementary students continued to attend the Jerusalem School until the fall of 1958 when they were transferred to Beallsville Elementary School. The building now serves as a Community and Recreation Center.

Churches
The earliest records found of the Church of Christ date back to about 1907 when meetings were held in the homes of members and then in one of the rooms of the Jerusalem School. They purchased a building lot in 1912 for $150. The congregation still worships in the building on Main Street.  Beginning in 1852, Methodist services were held in the private residence of Jacob Lawrence. They purchased a building in 1960. In the past few years, there have been several Amish families move into the area. There is now a large population of Amish and they travel to each other’s homes to worship.

Economics
There is a dairy farm on the west side of town. The surrounding rural area also has many farms where dairy cattle, beef cattle, goats, and produce are raised. The public water system, Switzerland of Ohio Water District, has an office in the corporation limits. They serve the town’s people and any others who have city water in the surrounding area. However, many people still have their own private water wells to supply their homes and farms with water.

The people of Jerusalem are either self-employed or work at the coal mines or steel mill. Ohio Valley Coal and Century Mine are employers of a large number of residents; they are both located within 5 -10 miles of the town. Ormet, a steel mill, is located along the Ohio River. The only other employer, which is within close proximity of the town, is the local school district, Switzerland of Ohio Local Schools. This is the only school district in Monroe County and also includes part of Belmont County. It is the largest school district in Ohio, geographically, has 2 high schools, 1 pre-K/12 school, and 5 elementary schools. The children in Jerusalem, Ohio attend Beallsville Public School; a Pre-K to 12th grade building with under 400 students.

Recreation
Jerusalem is a very small, rural village and the largest city is an hour’s drive. However, the Switzerland of Ohio Country Club, along with Wilson Lake, is about ½ mile from the east side of town. It offers the residents an opportunity to enjoy a round of golf and/or a day of fishing. The residents who enjoy horseback riding, rodeos, and mutton busting spend many hours at the Grizzle Ridge Arena.

During winter, sled riding, ice skating, and snow days from school are fun for all. Many participate in the different hunting seasons: deer, turkey, raccoon, mink, muskrat, beaver, rabbit, squirrel, and goose are a few. The summer months bring the county fair for the 4-H groups. Children and adults enjoy the week of taking their animals and/or projects to be displayed and judged. This is the beginning for many who will become our future farmers and veterinarians. Others learn the importance of other topics from money management to computer graphics.

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