Ask anybody who lives outside Ohio for a word that describes the state, and you’ll probably hear “Buckeyes.” Ask anybody who’s a resident, and they’ll probably say the same thing. Though it’s often called the Mother of Presidents, Ohio is certainly just as well known for The Ohio State University, with an enrollment topping 64,000 students, and its fearsome Buckeye athletic teams.
History and Demographics
Ohio became the 17th state in the union on March 1, 1803.
While Columbus, home of the main campus of Ohio State, is its current capital, the first city to serve in that capacity was Chillicothe. According to 50states.com, the first permanent settlement was in Marietta, founded in 1788. Native American history plays a large role in the development of Ohio.
The Buckeye State is a mix of agriculture and industry. It’s the country’s leading producer of nursery and greenhouse plants. A number of its cities and towns are linked to interesting “firsts.”
The Ohio Oil Company was formed and headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, during the natural gas boom of the 19th century. It became Marathon Oil Company and remained headquartered in Findlay until 1990.
While Akron, known as the rubber capital of the world, was the first city to use police cars, Cincinnati claimed the first professional municipal fire department. The latter also had the first professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Reds.
Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was also the setting for the TV sit-com “The Drew Cary Show.” In addition to being the state capital, Columbus marked the site of the founding of the American Federation of Labor (AFL).
Among sports fans, Ohio is known as a football and basketball state. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton.
The small town of Fostoria has the distinction of being the only municipality situated in three counties: Hancock, Seneca and Wood.
The Buckeye State’s flag is the only one in the U.S. with a pennant design and is red, white and blue. Ohio has an official state rock song, “Hang on Snoopy.”
The state’s founders must have loved the color red. The state bird is the cardinal, the state flower is the red carnation and the official beverage is tomato juice. The state song is “Beautiful Ohio,” and the state tree is, appropriately, the buckeye.
Noted People from Ohio
Ohio claims seven former U.S. Presidents: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding.
It was the place of birth of a number of well-known personalities in the entertainment industry, among them Clark Gable, Arsenio Hall, Paul Newman and Steve Spielberg. Sharpshooter Annie Oakley also hailed from the Buckeye State.
Former Senator and Ohioan John Glenn ventured into outer space in 1962. He was also the first American to orbit the earth and went back into space in 1998 at age 77. Wapakoneta is the hometown of astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.
Milan, Ohio claims Thomas A. Edison, the inventor linked to the incandescent light bulb, an early motion picture camera and the phonograph. America’s first automobile was created in 1891 by James Lambert of Ohio City. In 1839, Akron’s Charles Goodyear introduced the process of vulcanizing rubber. Ninety-nine years later, New Carlisle’s Roy Plunkett invented Teflon. The Wright Brothers of aviation fame hailed from Dayton.
In 1869, W. J. Semple of Mount Vernon patented chewing gum. Among the most famous athletes from Ohio were DeHart Hubbard, who set a record for long jumping in the 1924 Olympics, and Cleveland’s Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
In addition to Ohio State, other noted colleges and universities include Ohio University, Oberlin and Antioch. Oberlin, founded in 1833, was the first interracial and coeducational college in the U.S.
Ohio has 88 counties. It’s bordered on the north by Lake Erie. The Ohio River winds its way along the southern part of the state.