Most people don’t realize just how much American history is hiding in the Buckeye State. From historic mansions to small town inns that have stood the test of time, there are historic gems hiding all over Ohio. The following are 10 of the most historic towns in Ohio. See how many you’ve been able to explore—and which ones you need to add to your Ohio bucket list.
The historic riverboat town of Marietta is known as the first permanent settlement of the Northwest Territory. The town borders West Virginia and is nestled along the banks of both the Muskingum and Ohio Rivers. It's also known for its Victorian-style houses, European ambience, brick streets and sternwheelers. While you're visiting, be sure to take a trolley tour of the town and check out Lafayette Hotel.
Most people don't know Ohio's first capital was actually Chillicothe. Today, it's home to a historic downtown, the site of The Great Seal, Mound City (also known as the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park), the Adena Mansion and Gardens and other notable sites. This small city is a historic gem when it comes to Ohio history.
April Dray/Only In Your State
Throughout the years, several historic figures have passed through the town of Lebanon, Ohio. This gorgeous Warren County city is home to a beautiful downtown, several antique and gift shops, a scenic railway and more. Be sure to grab a meal (or stay overnight) at The Golden Lamb, which is Ohio's oldest continually operating hotel and restaurant. Established in 1803, it's hosted several famous guests such as Charles Dickens, Mark Twain and several U.S. Presidents.
With a population of just a little more than 13,000, the mid-size town of Greenville, Ohio is a charming place to call home. It's the historic location of Fort Greene Ville and the site on which the Treaty of Greenville was signed in 1795, which brought peace to the area and opened up the Northwest Territory for settlement. And even though Annie Oakley was born in the small town of Brock, Ohio, Greenville proudly celebrates her with a bronze statue in Annie Oakley Memorial Plaza and a yearly town festival.
With more than 20 downtown murals, this charming Ohio River town was named after the historic Fort Steuben from 1786. While you're in town, you'll want to take time to observe the murals and explore the fort site. (And if you're here during the holidays, be sure to check out the Steubenville Nutcracker Village in Fort Steuben Park, which features the largest display of life size nutcrackers in the U.S.)
This progressive little town of approximately 8,400 residents has a close-knit community, a rich history and a lively arts and cultural scene. Home to the private liberal arts college, Oberlin College, this town has always been a leader in societal progress. In fact, Oberlin College was the first American higher education institution to admit female and black students.
This Montgomery County town is home to about 5,500 residents. With strong German roots, it's a charming town that was founded in 1804 by German-speaking settlers from Pennsylvania. Although it covers a little more than four square miles, there's a lot of history to observe in Germantown.
Along the banks of the Maumee River is Perrysburg, home to Fort Meigs, the largest wooden wall fortification in North America. At Fort Meigs State Memorial, visitors can observe a reconstruction of the original 1813 fort of Ohio's War of 1812 Battlefield in Perrysburg. On Memorial Day, staff and volunteers reenact camp life for soldiers and a special wreath laying ceremony takes place at the Fort Meigs Monument.
One of the most charming, overlooked towns in Ohio is Granville. It’s a quaint college town with New England charm, it’s full of history and there’s plenty to do and see. The town prides itself in its history and heritage. You'll find several historical markers and museums throughout town. Be sure to check out the Buxton Inn while you're in town.
The small city of Bellefontaine proudly claims "America’s Oldest Concrete Street," which dates all the way back to 1891. (Don’t worry; it’s not falling apart. It’s been maintained since the 19th-century.) Today, you can find the Court Avenue street sign by the courthouse, but you can no longer drive on the street itself. (As an added bonus, nearby is the "World's Shortest Street," McKinley Street, which is only 15 ft. long.)
Have you been to any of these towns before? What other towns would you add to this list? Share your thoughts, experiences and photos with us!