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Belle Center, Ohio
Aerial picture of "downtown" Belle Center
Aerial picture of "downtown" Belle Center
Location of Belle Center, Ohio
Location of Belle Center, Ohio
Detailed map of Belle Center
Detailed map of Belle Center
Country United States
State Ohio
County Logan
Township Richland
 • Total 0.71 sq mi (1.83 km2)
 • Land 0.69 sq mi (1.80 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
1,043 ft (318 m)
 • Total 813
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,176.98/sq mi (454.53/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area codes 937, 326
FIPS code 39-05116
GNIS feature ID 1064404

Belle Center is a village in Logan County, Ohio, United States. The population was 813 at the 2010 census. It is a Tree City USA, one of the smallest in the state.


Belle Center was named for its relatively central location between the cities of Bellefontaine and Kenton. Historically, the community's name has also been spelled Belle Centre, Bellecenter, and even Bellecente. The Board on Geographic Names officially decided in favor of the current spelling in 1891.


Historically, some areas in what is now northern Richland Township were covered by swampland. During the 1840s, however, settlers moved in, and a town was platted around 1846, by which time a small town named Richland had become well established in the southern part of what is now Richland Township. In this year, the Mad River and Lake Erie Railroad began to plan for a railroad line through the area. A competition developed between the two towns for the location of a water stop for the railroad (essentially requiring the basics of a station), which eventually was won by the upstart town. Five years later, the village of Belle Center was officially incorporated by the Ohio General Assembly. The presence of the railroad led to growth for Belle Center but decline for Richland (since renamed New Richland). This railroad origin is responsible for Belle Center's "diagonal" street layout.

For many years, many businesses existed in Belle Center, including hotels, blacksmith's shops, restaurants, markets, and even an "Opera House". Today, most older stores are gone, but some establishments still remain. Some of these include three restaurants, a grocery store, a bank, a hardware store, a garage, an ice cream stand, a bar, and a doctor's office.

On July 5, 1986, Belle Center policeman Murray Griffin was killed in the line of duty.


Belle Center
View of Belle Center's small business district, taken from atop a former railroad crossing.

Belle Center is located at 40°30′27″N 83°44′54″W / 40.50750°N 83.74833°W / 40.50750; -83.74833 (40.507530, -83.748287).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.71 square miles (1.84 km2), of which, 0.70 square miles (1.81 km2) is land and 0.01 square miles (0.03 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 153
1860 234 52.9%
1870 276 17.9%
1880 434 57.2%
1890 927 113.6%
1900 962 3.8%
1910 889 −7.6%
1920 909 2.2%
1930 861 −5.3%
1940 835 −3.0%
1950 889 6.5%
1960 949 6.7%
1970 985 3.8%
1980 930 −5.6%
1990 796 −14.4%
2000 807 1.4%
2010 813 0.7%
2019 (est.) 818 0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 813 people, 322 households, and 232 families living in the village. The population density was 1,161.4 inhabitants per square mile (448.4/km2). There were 345 housing units at an average density of 492.9 per square mile (190.3/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 98.2% White, 0.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.6% of the population.

There were 322 households, of which 36.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.0% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 28.0% were non-families. 23.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.88.

The median age in the village was 37.2 years. 26.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 5.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 28% were from 25 to 44; 24.7% were from 45 to 64; and 15.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 48.1% male and 51.9% female.


Old Belle Center depot
Old Belle Center Depot

Belle Center was founded as a stop along a railroad. Since the end of passenger rail service, transportation in Belle Center has relied on local roads and state highways. Today, State Route 273 forms Belle Center's main street, and the north end of State Route 638 is at an intersection with State Route 273 at the southern corner of Belle Center.

Notable people

See also

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