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Ohio's Statehood

Learn about Ohio's early statehood roots.

Ohio Statehouse in Columbus

Ohio's Statehood

By Theresa Russell

Posted On: Mar 1, 2022

Long ago, Ohio was home to the Clovis people and other civilizations like the Adena and Hopewell Culture followed by the Iroquois and other tribes. With the establishment of the Northwest Territory and westward expansion, Marietta became the first settlement in that territory just a year later.

This expansion resulted as part of The Northwest Ordinance of 1787. In 1800, Chillicothe became the capital of the eastern part of the Northwest Territory and remained the capital when Ohio became the 17th state in the Union in 1803, the same year as the Louisiana Purchase.

ohio state flag

Zanesville was also the capital for a short time, before moving back to Chillicothe. As if two different capital locations weren't enough, Columbus, at the time a non-existent place, became the capital due to its central location.

Travel is the best way to learn about history. Being right at the location where history happened brings all the elements of the past together and enhances both the retention of the facts and the ability to envision how people lived in the past.

mounds in ohio

Ohio maintains its close connection to history and nature. Check out places like Serpent Mound, Fort Ancient and Mound City, which are part of the Ancient Ohio Trail. In the Mound City Group, the Hopewell Culture National Historical Park – just south of Chillicothe – is a great starting point to visit the several sites within this group. And remember, Chillicothe was the first state capital. 

Marietta sits at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, and history abounds here. The city hosts a sternwheel festival every year. Close to nature, the possibilities are endless in Marietta. Zanesville, also on the Muskingum River, includes arts and culture, river activities, historic homes and farms in its offerings.

NOTE: this year, the Ohio River Sternwheel Festival will be from Sept. 9-11th. 

old photo of the ohio statehouse building in columbus ohio

The current capital of Ohio, Columbus, welcomes visitors to explore its fashion, museums, rivers, parks, zoo, arts and cultural activities and food scene. The statehouse is a fine example of Greek Revival architecture.

Ohio, known as the Buckeye State, hasn't forgotten that designation. Buckeyes aren't only a type of tree, but also a confection made of peanut butter and chocolate, shaped into what looks like a buckeye nut. You can explore the Buckeye Candy Trail.

If activity is more your style, get out your hiking boots and trek part of the 1,444 mile Buckeye Trail, a path that circumnavigates the state of Ohio.

For more history and Ohio Statehood inspiration, check out #OhioFindItHere at Ohio.org.

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