Little Cities of Black Diamonds

Little Cities of Black Diamonds

Our mission is to preserve and share the stories and traditions of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds region and, through our history, culture and environment, to enrich the lives of those who live here today.

Our Story

30 Years of Heritage Preservation

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.

Our Work

Uncover, preserve, and share the historic record of the Little Cities of Black Diamonds region.

Promote authentic and sustainable heritage tourism so everyone can explore the Little Cities.

Grow communities through heritage events and educational programming.

Board of Directors

Tyler McDaniel


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.

Kellye Blosser

Vice President

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.

Cheryl Blosser


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.

Pat Anderson


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.

Nicki Mazzocca

Board 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.

Aidan Neal

Board 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!

T. Chris Wilson

Board 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.