History of the Area
Situated in the valley of Sunday Creek, the Burr Oak area was
inhabited by Indians and, later, by settlers who found an
abundance of game animals and the resources necessary for
survival in the Ohio wilderness.
Coal, one of Ohio's most important mineral resources, was mined
here for many years. As mining operations expanded, mining towns
grew and prospered. Few of these mining towns were as notorious
as the village of Santoy.
Many colorful tales were told of life in Santoy. In the true
spirit of frontier life, so the story goes, a gunfight was once
held over a $20 debt. The street was cleared as the two
participants met for a showdown. The ensuing battle left both
men lying in the street--one dead and the other critically
wounded. The "Old West" came to life in Ohio when the coal
company payroll was robbed by bandits who made a horse-mounted
getaway through the town.
Countless other tales live on, but Santoy could not. A fire in
1924 destroyed the coal tipple and several businesses. The loss
was so devastating that just three years later the second mine
shaft shut down. In November 1931, the nineteen remaining voters
decided to abandon the town. Today, only the church, the town's
first building, still stands as a reminder of days gone by.
In 1950 Burr Oak Lake was created by the construction of the Tom
Jenkins Dam across the east branch of Sunday Creek. Two years
later, Burr Oak was dedicated as a state park.