A mailbox on a ridge in Shade, Ohio sits at a vantage point looking Southeast towards the coal-fired American Electric Power Mountaineer Power Plant near New Haven, West Virginia. Shade is an unincorporated community that receives its power from the AEP Mountaineer Power Plant.
A dog cleans itself in a barn originally built in the 1860's on an afternoon in January. Agriculture brought people to the area--the first white settler in Shade was Joseph Thompson, who built a gristmill in 1815. While agriculture used to be the main occupation and use of the land in Shade, today the only agricultural crops grown in Shade are hay and corn.
Brendon Neal, 16, practices his football punts outside his home. Behind Neal is a structure that was the original school building, later the Lodi Township building, and burned down in Dec. 2016 due to a squirrel chewing through electrical wires.
“We all kinda got stuck around here. I shoulda kept going,” said Nathan, Brendon’s father.
A school bus headed to Shade passes a deer roadkill one afternoon. Living in rural areas, roadkill is a common occurrence.
Eric Bowers raises a beer to friends across the street inviting them over for a drink as his son Elijah stands next to him.
A fifth grade boys’ basketball team practices inside the Shade Community Center. The building, originally built as a school in 1936, is now used for events, sports practices, and birthday parties, among other social events. When local students moved schools in 2004, community members quickly raised funds to keep the building from being demolished or used for welfare housing.
Reflections are caught in the back window of Heidi Marty's truck, against the textures of hay.
The Lodi General Store is the only restaurant, store, and post office in Shade; all in one room. The store was opened in 1973 by Betty Snow, and in 1995 was sold to Pam Bond. Many in the town consider the general store to be the main social gathering place in the community.
Jet streams streak across the sky above the Shade United Methodist Church.
Cameron Powell and Ivy Meeks share a laugh on Cameron’s father’s four wheeler after a mud fight while Elijah Bowers trails behind. After seeing them return from the mud, a friend said, “If I had a nickel for every time I was covered in mud, I’d be a rich man.”
Heidi Marty pushes a bale of hay for her horses with her husband Marvin and Sammy Stevenson. Marty owns 18 horses. Aside from the homes on the main street of Shade, people live on parcels of land spread out from one another. The land and space in Shade are what drew many to the rural area, and what keep them in the community.
Nathan Trout holds his face in tears after his cousin once-removed kicked the hula hoop up at his face on accident. “You know how some boys are real tough? Nathan’s not one of them,” said his mother. Masculinity is often defined by the a sense of hard-working, tough, nose-to-the grindstone work ethic. Being able to work hard and support yourself and family are held as strong values in manhood.
The Lodi Township trustees Roger Hawk, Denver Jordan, and Shorty Hawk meet at the monthly trustee meeting at the township hall. Roger Hawk is serving his 20th year as a trustee. Terms last four years. The two Lodi Township workers are responsible for the maintenance of 41.2 miles of road and the nine cemeteries.
Nikki Stobart holds a dead rabbit she found on the side of the road after school one day.