Snagged on a bend in Ohio’s State Route 13, is a former gem from the little cities of black diamonds. Trimble, Ohio was a brick producing town that turned dependent on coal with the opening and development of nearby mines. The brick factory closed in 1928, and the coal mining had largely ceased operations by May of 1945. The community park is scarcely full of children playing and they recently ended their little league sports organization due to a lack of funding and involvement. There is one restaurant and one grocery store that services the immediate region.
Trimble hosts a homogeneous population among its 329 residents. The town is proud of their high school and proud of their history. To outsiders, it can be hard to gauge where this quaint, quiet town built of brick begins and where it ends; sandwiched neatly between the larger towns of Jacksonville and Glouster which formed nearly 50 years after Trimble. 

The train tracks from Kanawha River Railroad are remnants of a bygone era for Trimble, Ohio. They were built in the mid 1800s to service the growing demand for coal when the slow moving canal was not sufficient for transportation. Trimble is known a little city of black diamonds due to the coal production in the area. In the 1930s, local Sunday Creek Mining Company was one of the most profitable coal companies in the world.

A sunset over Trimble, Ohio on April 16, 2022. The population has dwindled over the last several decades down to 392 as per the 2020 census. The loss of important industry has left 31.8% of the population under the poverty line.

Aaron McCown rests while picking ice from the driveway of a home he bought and is rebuilding. McCown is also hoping this home will provide an opportunity for his son to have a stable environment when he is out of rehab for a drug addiction.

Levi Schoolcraft, 10, chalks up his pool cue while a gun lay on a table in the garage his father works in. Schoolcraft attends Trimble elementary school and is an avid sports-fan, spouting off the entire roster of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Levi Schoolcraft warms up his trumpet before his spring band concert at Trimble Elementary and Middle School in neighboring Jacksonville, Ohio. “I didn’t practice at all,” Levi Schoolcraft said. “I just blowup my cheeks and make it look like I’m playing but don’t make any noise.”

Patrons gather at Kasler’s Country Kitchen. The restaurant is the only remaining option in town to sit for a meal. The prices are modest at $4.95 for a hamburger and $1.95 for a slice of pie. It has changed ownership only once since James and Rebecca Kasler opened it in 1990.

Rickie Slone picks out a bouquet of flowers for his fiancé from the Trimble Kroger on Valentines Day. The Kroger recently moved to Trimble after outgrowing a space in Glouster, Ohio.

Brick pavers from the early 1900s were used to erect the two memorials to honor the history of the town. There are few traces of the once thriving coal and clay industry associated with the Trimble and yet, any resident in town will proudly declare the history of the Trimble Brick and how they are believed to be used at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500, though officials from the track have since stated they were not. A sign stating ‘Trimble: Home of the World’s Finest Bricks’ continues to greet visitors as they enter town.

Rick Nott cleans dishes while his daughter Emma, 3, runs around the kitchen. “She is going to be the one that breaks me,” Nott said. “She is my third child and my third daughter. It’s impossible to say no to her.”

Members of the community watch as the Trimble High School Basketball team cuts the net from the rim after winning the TVC-Hocking conference title on Feb. 19, 2022. Athletics plays a major role in the community. Every basketball game the gymnasium is packed with supporters following years of success across various programs. Men’s basketball headcoach Howie Caldwell has led the team to the conference title in each of his five seasons as head coach.

(Left) Christa Stanley, 16, of Jacksonville, Ohio, fights with her stepbrother Joseph Mitchel Campbell, 13 outside the Trimble Auto Repair. Their father works as a security guard at the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail in Nelsonville, Ohio.

Eli Schoolcraft, 3, sits on the stairs of his grandparents trailer in Trimble, Ohio to avoid being spanked with a wood plank his father pulled from a pile nearby. Eli sat down so that his father couldn’t reach his behind.

Joshua McCown stands for a portrait with a crossbow his father bought. McCown is recently out of a Suboxone clinic in nearby The Plains, Ohio due to an overdose on opioids months earlier and was admitted to a treatment facility.

Rick Nott holds a postcard of his home dated 1906. It was given to his mother who bought the home in the 1980s. “We had no idea who she was, but she told my mom about how she lived here when she was little” Nott said. “You can see how much has changed just around the house. The driveway used to connect around to an old school.”

David Duncan Jr. poses for a portrait on the porch of his home in Trimble, Ohio on April 4, 2022. Duncan was told yb doctors that he had a tumor growing next to his brain that was responsible for his vertigo and high risk of seizures. He is an avid self-proclaimed ‘survivalist’ and continues to plan a trip to West Virginia where he will bring only a knife and lantern to forage and survive for several days. “I’m a tough son-of-a-bitch,” Duncan said. “This won’t stop me.”

(Left) Xavier McCown and Jeremiah McCown throw snowballs around their their aunts car. They live in Athens but are visiting for the day. The car had been recently broken into while sitting in the driveway of their home.

A toy electric car for children is left lifted in Tim Kline’s garage. Kline recently installed security cameras 360 degree view around his home after an attempted break-in. “Living in Trimble kind of sucks,” Kline said. “But we can take care of things ourselves here.”

Trimble does not have many government services other towns have. They have police service from Glouster, fire service from Jacksonville, and a nominal budget for road maintenance.

During the early spring, frozen land prevents melting snow or rainfall from seeping into the ground. The water then runs off the surface and flows into lakes, streams, and rivers, causing excess water to spill over their banks. Add seasonal storms to the mix, and the result is the severe spring flooding common across Southeast Ohio.

Cows gather in Trimble Township on Congress Run Road during a snow storm on Jan. 23, 2021. Residents refer to Congress Run as one of several ‘suburbs’ of Trimble.

Volunteers from Habitat for Humanity put up siding on a new home build in town. The volunteers are from Hamilton College in New York State that chose to spend their spring break helping build a home in Trimble.

David Duncan Jr. strips copper wire given to him by friends. Duncan is on disability and cannot work due to vertigo and adverse health effects that prevent him from being able to stand or move for too long. “I  like to store up all year what my friends give me so I can buy toys for the kids before Christmas,” Duncan said.

(Left) Mary Cramlbit and Aaron McCown rest after working on a home they purchased and are restoring in Trimble. They bought the home and 1.5 acres for $14,000. The house is little more than a shell but they hope they can spend the next several years rebuilding it.

(Left) Olivia and Lexi Nott stand for a picture for their soon-to-be step-mother Felicia Shover during a combination 16th birthday and Easter party for Lexi. “I feel like I just get more freedom now,” Lexi Nott said. “I’m not getting a car or anything but I feel more mature.”

Richard Harris displays a cross prominently in front of his home. He keeps a sign up by his door that reads ‘This home is not politically correct. We love GOD!” Harris travels to neighboring Glouster to worship because all three churches in town have closed over the last several years. The most recent was The West Side Church of Christ in 2020. Declining attendance and support were exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and left the town with no active religious places of worship.

A dog barks through a window shaded by a confederate battle flag. Owner Rachael Ward has lived in Trimble her entire life. “I believe in history,” Ward said. “If you actually read the confederate constitution, it doesn’t say anything about slavery at all.”

Braxton Moore, 8, ties the laces of his younger brother Paxton Moore, 6, during a little league baseball practice at Trimble Community Park. Since the Trimble Township Youth League dissolved the baseball league, players still looking to participate have joined the Corning Miller League based in Corning, Ohio, several miles away.

Trimble is a quiet community where residents tend to keep to themselves beyond a friendly wave. It is a bend in the road sandwiched between Jacksonville and Glouster. The loss of mining and bricks have devastated the town. The median household income in Trimble is only $32,000, less than 50% of the $67,521 national average. The village is far from perfect but the community is proud of the values they try to build in their children, and many believe it is on the way up.

Back to Top