Bellefontaine, Ohio: Wikis


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Bellefontaine, Ohio
—  City  —
Logan County courthouse in Bellefontaine

Nickname(s): The Peak of Ohio
Location of Bellefontaine, Ohio
Detailed map of Bellefontaine
Coordinates: 40°21′39″N 83°45′29″W / 40.36083°N 83.75806°W / 40.36083; -83.75806
Country United States
State Ohio
County Logan
Founded 1820
 - Mayor Adam Brannon (D)
 - City 8.8 sq mi (22.7 km2)
 - Land 8.8 sq mi (22.7 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation [1] 1,243 ft (379 m)
Population (2000)
 - City 13,069
 - Density 1,491.3/sq mi (575.8/km2)
 - Metro 46,005
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 43311
Area code(s) 937
FIPS code 39-05130[2]
GNIS feature ID 1064407[1]

Bellefontaine (pronounced /bɛlˈfaʊntɨn/ bel-FOWN-tin)[3] is a city in and the county seat of Logan County, Ohio, United States.[4] The population was 13,069 at the 2000 census. It is the center of the Bellefontaine Micropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Census Bureau in 2003. The highest point in Ohio, Campbell Hill, is within the city limits of Bellefontaine.



The name Bellefontaine means "beautiful spring" in French, and is purported to refer to several springs in the area.[5]


Blue Jacket's Town

Around 1777, the Shawnee war leader Blue Jacket (Weyapiersenwah) built a settlement here, known as Blue Jacket's Town. Blue Jacket and his band had previously occupied a village along the Scioto River, but with the coming of the American Revolutionary War to the Ohio Country, Blue Jacket and other American Indians who took up arms against the American revolutionaries relocated in order to be closer to their British allies at Detroit. Blue Jacket's Town was destroyed in Logan's Raid, conducted by Kentucky militia in 1786 at the outset of the Northwest Indian War. The expedition was led by Benjamin Logan, namesake of Logan County. Blue Jacket and his followers relocated further northwest to the Maumee River.[6]

Beginning in the 1800s, Revolutionary War veterans and others from Virginia and elsewhere began settling in the area of Blue Jacket's Town. Bellefontaine is on or near the edge of the Virginia Military District, and the Treaty of Greenville delineating lands to be held by Americans from those to be held by natives was poorly administered in the area.[6]

Historic Holland Theatre.

Holland Theater

The Holland Theater is a theater in Bellefontaine that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It opened in the 1930s as a live theater, but was later converted to a 5 screen megaplex before closing in 1998. In recent years, it has been reopened for events and performances for Bellefontaine and the surrounding area.

The railroads

Bellefontaine was platted in 1820 and incorporated in 1835.[7][8] In 1837, the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad built the first railroad in Bellefontaine. This began Bellefontaine's reputation as a railroading town. This reputation was cemented in the 1890s, when the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (also called the Big Four Railroad) built a main terminal in the city. This terminal also boasted the largest roundhouse between New York and St. Louis.[9]

Though railroading hit hard times in the late 20th century, and the Big Four terminal ceased operations in 1983, Bellefontaine remains a landmark on America's railways. The city is at the junction of CSX lines going to Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Dayton.

Automotive transportation

In 1891, Bellefontaine became the location of the first concrete street in America. George Bartholomew invented a process for paving using Portland cement, which until then had been used in stone construction. A small section of Main Street, on the west side of the Logan County Courthouse, was the first to be paved using that process. When that proved successful, Court Avenue, which runs along the south side of the courthouse, was then paved. While Main Street is now paved with asphalt, Court Avenue has retained its original concrete pavement for over 100 years. At its centennial, the street was closed and a statue of Bartholomew placed at its Main Street end, although since then one lane has been reopened for eastbound traffic.

In 1979, Honda began manufacturing motorcycles in the Columbus suburb of Marysville, Ohio. Since that time, Honda's operations in the Bellefontaine area have greatly expanded, and Bellefontaine is now centrally located to Honda operations in Marysville, East Liberty, Russells Point, Anna, and Troy, Ohio. It follows, then, that Honda is presently Bellefontaine's largest employer.

Today, Bellefontaine is centered at the intersection of U.S. Route 68 with State Routes 47 and 540. U.S. Route 33, a freeway that has interchanges with US 68 and SR 540, skirts the northern edge of the city.

Campbell Hill and US military operations

View westward from the U.S. Route 68 bridge over U.S. Route 33 on the north side of the city, near Campbell Hill.

To European settlers, Campbell Hill was first known as Hogue's Hill, perhaps a misspelling of the name of the person who first deeded the land in 1830, Solomon Rogue. In 1898, the land was sold to Charles D. Campbell, in whose name Campbell Hill is now known. Campbell sold the hill and surrounding land to August Wagner, who was the original brewer of Augustiner and Gambrinus beers. (These brands are now the trademarks of the Gambrinus Company of San Antonio, Texas, though the company has stopped production of these beers.)

In 1950, the family of August Wagner deeded Campbell Hill and the surrounding 57.5 acres to the U.S. government. The government then stationed the 664th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron on the hill in 1951. This military unit was responsible for monitoring for possible aerospace attacks from the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The 664th AC&WS and similar military units were eventually superseded by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (or NORAD), and the base in Bellefontaine was closed in 1969.

The Ohio Hi-Point Vocational-Technical District opened a school atop the hill in 1974. The school is now known as the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.

Law and government

Bellefontaine has an elected mayor and city council style of government.


In November 2007, three candidates competed for the position of mayor: Democrat Adam Brannon, two-term incumbent Republican Robert C. Lentz, and independent Tim Barnett. Brannon defeated Lentz by a slim margin, while Barnett was a moderate distance behind them.[10]

City council

City offices.

The Bellefontaine City Council consists of one president, four ward council members, and three council members at-large. In November 2007, the following members were elected:[10]

  • Council President Richard Vicario (R), without opposition
  • First Ward Councilman David Haw (D), incumbent, over Ernest Bailey (I)
  • Second Ward Councilwoman Diane Hager (R), incumbent, without opposition
  • Third Ward Councilman Brian Evans (D), incumbent, without opposition
  • Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Pitzer (D), incumbent, over Jonathan Kunze (R)
  • Councilman at Large Mark Fissel (D)
  • Councilman at Large David Henry (R), incumbent
  • Councilman at Large Don Horn (R), incumbent

Former Councilwoman at Large Terri Knox (R) was defeated in this election.

The first meeting of the council, composed of these members, was held on 8 January 2008. David Haw was elected president pro tempore of the council.[11]


In November 2007, the following administrators were elected:[10]

  • City Auditor Robert Storm (R), over Edward Loe (I)
  • City Law Director Howard Traul (R), incumbent, without opposition


Bellefontaine is located at 40°21′39″N 83°45′29″W / 40.36083°N 83.75806°W / 40.36083; -83.75806 (40.360878, -83.758126).[12]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.8 square miles (22.7 km²), all land.


St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

As of the census of 2000, there were 13,069 people, 5,319 households, and 3,436 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,491.3 people per square mile (576.0/km²). There were 5,722 housing units at an average density of 652.9/sq mi (252.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.82% White, 5.13% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.93% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 2.40% from two or more races. 1.12% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,319 households out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $36,029, and the median income for a family was $42,126. Males had a median income of $34,637 versus $22,849 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,781. 14.6% of the population and 12.9% of families were below the poverty line. 20.7% of those under the age of 18 and 7.0% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Micropolitan statistical area

Bellefontaine is the center of the Bellefontaine Micropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. This micropolis consists solely of Logan County, Ohio. The 2000 census[2] found 46,005 people in the micropolis, making it the 260th most populous such area in the United States. Among all U.S. statistical areas (CBSAs), the Bellefontaine micropolis ranks 622nd. In Ohio, the Bellefontaine micropolis is the 37th most populous CBSA, and the 21st most populous micropolitan statistical area.

By comparison, the least populous metropolitan area in the United States, Carson City, Nevada, has 52,457 residents. The least populous metropolitan area in Ohio is Sandusky, with 79,555 residents. The Bellefontaine micropolis is not as populous as these, but does have a greater population than some micropolitan statistical areas traditionally considered to be small regional cities. (Examples: El Dorado, Arkansas; Clovis, New Mexico; and Red Wing, Minnesota.)

Though official definitions of micropolitan statistical areas did not exist until 2003, the area now constituting the Bellefontaine micropolis grew in population by 8.7 percent between 1990 and 2000.

Sites of interest

Sign declaring McKinley Street to be the "World's Shortest Street".
  • McKinley Street — Whether or not this is the shortest street in the world is the point of some contention. The sign at the street's south end (at the intersection of Columbus Ave.) makes such a claim, although Ebenezer Place, in Wick, Scotland, has held the official record since November 2006[13]. The City of Bellefontaine's website places the length of McKinley Street at "about 20 feet", and while city's website does not make the claim of the world's shortest street, it does cite McKinley Street as "the shortest street in America".
  • Court Avenue - A small street in downtown, located adjacent to the Logan County Courthouse. It is known for being the first street in the United States to be paved with concrete.[14]


Logan County Historical Society

The Logan County Historical Society and museum is located in Bellefontaine. The museum includes the Orr mansion, former home of the local Orr family, as well as an extension to the mansion that includes history exhibits from around the county. The Mansion portion of the building has been completely restored by the historical society. Day to day operations in the museum and The Logan County Historical Society are supported by a Logan County tax levy and around donations received from visitors to the museum. Donations also can be contributed to the society to be used in historical displays. Recent donations include the 1950s era "house call" bag from local doctor George E. Nixon.[15]


The Bellefontaine City Schools operate three elementary schools,one intermediate school, one middle school, and one high school in the area.[16] These schools have a combined enrollment of 2,840. In addition, the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, located atop Campbell Hill, offers both secondary and post-secondary education. Enrolled at Ohio Hi-Point are 505 students. The neighboring Benjamin Logan Local School District campus also has a Bellefontaine address.

Several colleges and universities operate satellite campuses in the Bellefontaine area. These include:

Bellefontaine Regional Airport

Bellefontaine has a Regional airport located about 5 miles from the downtown business district. The airport replaced the Bellefontaine Municipal Airport in 2002. It is one of 2 new airports opened to the public in Ohio in the past 30 years. The Bellefontaine Regional Airport is the only airport in the area that can cater to large planes. The closest airport that can compare in size is the Union County Airport in Marysville, Ohio.


The city is served by both print publishing and radio broadcasting.

Operating currently are WPKO, an FM radio station, and its sister station WBLL, an AM radio station. These stations are owned and operated by V-Tech Communications.[17]

The Bellefontaine Examiner is the daily local newspaper. It is the latest in a series of newspapers which have been published in Bellefontaine since 1831. It has a current daily circulation of approximately 9500 copies. [18]

Notable natives and residents

Historical marker in downtown Bellefontaine marking the site of Blue Jacket's Town


  1. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  5. ^ Ohio History Central
  6. ^ a b Ohio History, Vol. 12, pg 169
  7. ^ History of Bellefontaine, City of Bellefontaine. Accessed 2009-10-31.
  8. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: Bellefontaine, Ohio
  9. ^ Trostel, Scott D. (2005). The Columbus Avenue Miracle: Bellefontaine, Ohio's WW II Serviceman's Free Canteen. Cam-Tech Publishing. ISBN 092543650X.  
  10. ^ a b c Mast, Joel E. "Brannon elected: Newcomer Democrats take control of city administration, council", Bellefontaine Examiner, 2007-11-07, p. 1.
  11. ^ Mast, Joel E. Year’s first meeting over in 30 minutes, Bellefontaine Examiner, 2008-01-09. Accessed 2008-01-10.
  12. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  13. ^ BBC NEWS | Scotland | Highlands and Islands | Street measures up to new record
  14. ^ Cracked street's hereafter splits Bellefontaine, The Columbus Dispatch, 2008-06-01. Accessed 2008-10-10.
  15. ^ 2009-1-5.
  16. ^ "Bellefontaine City Schools". Retrieved 2007-09-21.  
  17. ^
  18. ^

External links


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