Moonville, Ohio  Moonville, Ohio

Moonville no longer exists, but it’s a part of family folklore, a place I’ve never been. Samuel Coe, my Great Great Great Grand Father, mined coal in Moonville and convinced the owner of a fledgling railroad to route the enterprise through his own land (1854) - creating tracks that ran through the former city of Moonville. These tracks allowed for the movement of coal and other goods, becoming the only way in and out of the small town. Isolated, but thankful for work, a small population of people made Moonville their home.  They lived and worked there in difficult times, having to walk the tracks to get to the nearest towns of Hope or Mineral.  

Moonville has become mystical to me.  A place where outsiders created their own small refuge in difficult times.   

Little remains of this former mining community. This territory now stands as the most densely forested area of Ohio.

In response to the 2017 presidential election, and the threats against queer folk, I ask, where will queer people go to survive, to pursue happiness, to create? I have a response to this violence, and how to protect the people I love.

A forgotten ghost town founded by my ancestors, no one can love this place like we queers can. I will recreate Moonville in the form of a refuge, a space for new ideas to manifest. Moonville keeps me focused and reminds me of the deep history of people who survived persecution, hardship, and bigotry by creating something. 

I'll make a railroad handcar to reach the Moonville Tunnel using parts from the Kalamazoo Manufacturing Company. This handcar’s explicit use will be for transport to and from Moonville.  We will ride along where the former tracks ran. (I am modifying the wheels to go ‘off the rails’).

In life, on film, or still image, I have only seen men on handcars. Simply by occupying this space, we trespass and allow for the creating of something new and different. The handcar is movement, two by two, or individually, into an unknown space.  The handcar was always intended to fix things.

Each year I will visit  Moonville to gather information. I survey the land, flag, and tag the area with survey markers, photograph and video document, all in support of purchasing the land to reinstate Moonville.  If failure in this endeavor is inescapable, this information is gathered to create Moonvilles anywhere, everywhere. 

Moonville is an idea, a space were queers can go to continue our work.  Farmers, writers, artists, philosophers, cooks, metal smiths, woodworkers, performers, scientists, doctors, architects, and builders of . . .

We have explored the depths of the ocean, the moon, but we have never been to Moonville.
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