First settled in 1814, Nelsonville blossomed into a classic Appalachian town relying on the extractive industries of coal, clay and salt. Nelsonville owes its existence to the coal mining industry. The large amount of coal extracted from the Nelsonville area earned Nelsonville the nickname "Little City of Black Diamonds."
Recent years have brought a revival to Nelsonville capturing its artistic spirit in an effort to restore the Public Square into an Arts District. The central business district has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Historically Nelsonville is best known for producing Star Brick and you will see these striking bricks lining the sidewalks throughout the town.
Organized around a public square where every month a "Final Friday" celebration is held with vendors, art show openings, and often shows at the recently-renovated Stuart's Opera House, an old theater from the 19th century. The Public Square is a vibrant, historic downtown and is filled with art galleries, and unique eating establishments.
In addition to the historic business disctict thousands of visitors come to ride the Hocking Valley Scenic Railway, bike the 21-mile Hockhocking Adena Bikeway, shop at the Rocky Boot factory outlet, enjoy a performance at the Opera House and see the completely restored 1850s-era Ohio village known as Robbins Crossing. And others, they come to see the world's largest metal cross standing high on a hillside overlooking the town.