Little Cities of Black Diamonds


The Mission of LCBD is to keep alive the past stories and traditions of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds Region and through our history, culture and environment help enrich the future quality of life in the region.

What We Do

Seek out, preserve, and share the history of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds region of Appalachian Ohio.

Provide educational and recreational tours centered around our history.

Grow our community by hosting events and developing programming centered around the history and culture of the Little Cities.

Our Story


The Little Cities of Black Diamonds Council is an initiative launched and managed by Sunday Creek Associates, a non-profit organization formed in 1990, to promote community development in southern Perry County. One of the first steps taken by the organization was to understand the history of the coal mining communities of southern Perry County under the beliefs that:

  • It’s hard to know where you want to go, unless you first know where you’ve been.
  • The first step in healing wounds is best to understand how they were made.
  • Understanding your assets and building upon them, is a positive way to overcome deficits that may limit your confidence and reputation.

These beliefs could be based on individuals’ lives, but equally applied to lives of communities that had suffered wounds from the legacy of boom-to-bust mining history. One of the first steps in building assets to heal wounds was to begin to build an alternative identity for communities that had become best known for their decline. Our rich history provided that asset and the name Little Cities of Black Diamonds  

The purchase of a collection of historic pictures from the Wes Tharp Collection was followed by collecting oral histories by one of Sunday Creek’s founders John Winnenberg with groups in New Straitsville, Shawnee and Corning. The first public display of pictures was shared at the New Straitsville Moonshine Festival in 1995 where elders began sharing additional pictures and stories. Scholars were invited with support of the Ohio Humanities Council and a series of presentations that verified and expanded on what was being discovered about the boom mining days of the region. 

Meet The Council

John Winnenberg

founding member

A native of Corning and one of the founders of the LCBD council, John lives in Perry Co. John has been active in restoration efforts in Shawnee since 1976.  He began researching local history stories in the Community Life News (’88-’00) and continued publishing local history stories and books in work with various local history groups in the region.

Cheryl Blosser

founding member

I have always loved studying the past but the history of the LCBD region is close and personal, and at the same time relates to national themes that still resonate today.  This region changed things for the better in labor and industrial relations and hopefully still will make a difference today.

Kellye Blosser

council member

In small towns like ours, it’s easy to feel like we’re isolated from the rest of the world. But learning our history, understanding where we’ve come from and what our region has contributed has made me feel like I’m part of something. By carrying our story, Little Cities of Black Diamonds brings pride and unity to our region.

Tyler McDaniel

historian/Social Media

This region’s history is so important to our state and country’s history. It is important to document and preserve that history, but also educate locals and visitors as why this history is so vital to understand. Helping locals appreciate the past can aid in boosting the pride southeast Ohioans should have in the region.

Scott Moore

council member

I believe the entire region is blessed with such a diverse geology that produced so many economic materials: limestone, salt, clay brick, iron ore, coal and finally, oil and gas – that together with the railroad industry, nowhere was there such a boom and bust to tell and preserve

Nicki Mazzocca

council member

I grew up in Athens, Ohio, completely unaware of the rich history surrounding me.  My father was a coal miner, and I still didn’t know the incredible labor history of our area.  As a media maker and storyteller, I think the work that LCBD does in preserving and sharing our history is invaluable to the region and I’m proud to be a part of it.

Tiffany Profile Picture

Tiffany Arnold

council member

The LIttle Cities of Black Diamonds keeps local history that Appalachian Ohio natives rarely have the opportunity to learn about relevant and alive. It provides an opportunity for communities to understand why being from this area is something to be proud of rather than to run from.

Rachel Terman

council member

The Little Cities of Black Diamonds lifts the voices of local experts who help us understand the connections among the past, present, and future of our communities. The power and value of this local knowledge are resources worth preserving and fostering in Southeast Ohio.

T. Chris Wilson

council member

Raised in the hills of Perry County, Ohio on a dairy and beef family farm. I left the farm after high school in 1961 and spent two years at Ohio University. Wanting to see more of the world, I enlisted in the  US Air Force. After about two decades having served two tours in Asia and obtaining a Bachelor and  Master Degrees from Georgia Institute of Technology and working in a number of western and southern states returned to the hills of Perry County to live in the country. The history of the hill country of Ohio, I think, has a very interesting story to tell and I want to help tell it.

Pat Anderson

council member

The Hocking Valley region is rich in history and history needs to be preserved and shared. The natural resources and the prehistory of the area is also important and needs to be shared and preserved.

Aidan Neal

council member

Growing up in southern Ohio, I didn’t really know much about Appalachia. After moving to Athens and taking a class with Dr. Arnold, I became interested in learning more about the region. I joined Little Cities became I’m passionate about sharing the history and stories from people here. I believe this area is worth knowing and investing in!

Grant Joy

council member

Historically in Appalachian Ohio the story has been written for the people and not necessarily by them. Having an organization  that is dedicated to sharing and preserving the rich stories that exist within the hills of the Hocking Valley is vital to enriching the fabric of the Hocking Valley community. LCBD history instills a greater civic pride, and cultivates a deeper sense of place for those who call southeast Ohio home.

Your name here!

council member

Passionate about local history and community growth?  Interested in attending a council meeting and possibly joining the council?