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Defiance, Ohio
Top to bottom, left to right:
Downtown Defiance, post office of Defiance and Defiance County Courthouse
"Shell Town."
"A Great Place to Live"
Location of Defiance, Ohio
Location of Defiance, Ohio
Location of Defiance in Defiance County
Location of Defiance in Defiance County
Country United States
State Ohio
County Defiance
 • Total 13.02 sq mi (33.73 km2)
 • Land 12.53 sq mi (32.44 km2)
 • Water 0.50 sq mi (1.29 km2)
676 ft (206 m)
 • Total 16,494
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,327.96/sq mi (512.74/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 419
FIPS code 39-21308
GNIS feature ID 1064519
Website City of Defiance, Ohio
Defiance Moraine throughout Ohio
The Defiance Moraine trends across the entire state of Ohio

Defiance is a city in and the county seat of Defiance County, Ohio, United States, about 55 miles (89 km) southwest of Toledo and 47 miles (76 km) northeast of Fort Wayne, Indiana, in Ohio's northwestern corner. The population was 16,494 at the 2010 census.


The city contains the site of Fort Defiance, built by General "Mad" Anthony Wayne in August 1794, during the Northwest Indian War, at the confluence of the Auglaize and Maumee rivers. General Wayne surveyed the land and declared to General Scott, "I defy the English, Indians, and all the devils of hell to take it." This area became Fort Defiance. Today a pair of cannons outside the city library on the Maumee River overlook the confluence and mark the location of Fort Defiance, along with a mounded outline of the fort walls. The city was named after Fort Defiance.

From Fort Defiance, the U.S. forces moved northeast along the Maumee River to fight the decisive Battle of Fallen Timbers near the current town of Maumee, Ohio. This victory secured for the United States the Northwest Territory, now the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

Fort Winchester was built on the same spot during the War of 1812, but it was a larger fort that extended southward somewhat along the Auglaize River. Historical plaques in the sidewalks mark the full extent of Fort Winchester.

In 1822 Defiance was laid out as a town. In 1845 it was made the county seat of the newly created county, and in 1881 it became a city.


Defiance is located at 41°16′55″N 84°21′46″W / 41.28194°N 84.36278°W / 41.28194; -84.36278 (41.281891, -84.362856).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.13 square miles (31.42 km2), of which, 11.62 square miles (30.10 km2) is land and 0.51 square miles (1.32 km2) is water.

Defiance lends its name to a distinct end moraine from the Wisconsian glaciation. As Cushing et al. point out, "The Defiance moraine represents the last notable stand of the glacial front in this region." The moraine varies in width from 2 to 4 miles, and according to Leverett, "it is like a broad wave whose crest stands 20 to 50 feet above the border of the plain outside it."


According to the Midwest Climate Center, Defiance's average January temperatures are a high of 31.2 °F (−0.4 °C) and a low of 17.1 °F (−8.3 °C). Average July temperatures are a high of 84.2 °F (29.0 °C) and a low of 63.3 °F (17.4 °C). There are an average of 16.4 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and an average of 138.8 days with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower. The record high temperature was 107 °F (42 °C) on June 28, 2012.

Average annual precipitation is 35.60 inches (90.4 cm) with an average of 129.0 days with measurable precipitation. The wettest year was 1990 with 48.63 inches (123.5 cm) and the driest year was 1930 with 19.67 inches (50.0 cm). Normally, July is the wettest month with an average of 3.89 inches (9.9 cm) and February is the driest month with an average of 1.84 inches (4.7 cm). The most precipitation in one month was 12.00 inches (30.5 cm) in June 1981. The most precipitation in 24 hours was 4.63 inches (11.8 cm) on September 18, 1907.

There is an annual average of 21.8 inches (55 cm) of snow in Defiance. There are an average of 16.5 days with measurable snowfall. The most snow in one season was 56.0 inches (142 cm) during 1977-78, including the maximum monthly snowfall of 26.0 inches (66 cm) in January 1978. The most snowfall in 24 hours was 12.0 inches (30 cm) on December 20, 1973.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 800
1860 1,399 74.9%
1870 2,750 96.6%
1880 5,907 114.8%
1890 7,694 30.3%
1900 7,579 −1.5%
1910 7,327 −3.3%
1920 8,876 21.1%
1930 8,818 −0.7%
1940 9,744 10.5%
1950 11,265 15.6%
1960 14,553 29.2%
1970 16,281 11.9%
1980 16,783 3.1%
1990 16,768 −0.1%
2000 16,465 −1.8%
2010 16,494 0.2%
2020 17,066 3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 16,494 people, 6,663 households, and 4,291 families living in the city. The population density was 1,419.4 inhabitants per square mile (548.0/km2). There were 7,435 housing units at an average density of 639.8 per square mile (247.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.1% White, 3.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 4.8% from other races, and 2.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 14.4% of the population.

There were 6,663 households, of which 31.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.3% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.6% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.91.

The median age in the city was 37.1 years. 24.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.7% were from 25 to 44; 26% were from 45 to 64; and 15.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.3% male and 51.7% female.

Parks and recreation

Defiance has several city parks that offer a variety of recreational activities, including baseball and softball diamonds, and playground equipment. These parks include Kingsbury Park and Diehl Park. Kingsbury Park has a public swimming pool.

Independence Dam State Park, 4 miles east of the city on State Highway 424, along the Maumee River, is also a popular recreational site for area residents. The park provides picnic facilities, nature trails, and fishing. There is a reservoir with adjacent trails, along with a track up top. There is also a Frisbee golf course. On the other side, there is a dog park.


Public library of Defiance, Ohio
Public library in Defiance

Defiance City Schools provide public K-12 education. Schools maintained by local Lutheran and Catholic churches also provide preschool-grade 8 education. Northeastern Local Schools (Tinora) and Ayersville Local Schools also serve rural Defiance, but each is a smaller school district.

There are three high schools in the Defiance area: Defiance (located in Defiance), Tinora (part of Northeastern Local Schools) and Ayersville High Schools. Tinora and Ayersville High Schools are located a few miles from the main city and serve the rural areas of Defiance County to the northeast and southeast, respectively, of Defiance.

Defiance College is a small liberal arts college affiliated with the United Church of Christ and has an enrollment of about 1,000 students.

Defiance has a public library, a branch of the Defiance Public Library System.

Notable people

  • Kevin Bacon, Ohio Senator
  • Doug Bair, pitcher for seven Major League Baseball teams
  • Chad Billingsley, former pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers
  • Michelle Burke, television and film actress
  • Wild Bill Davison, jazz cornet player
  • Alene Duerk, became the first female admiral in the U.S. Navy in 1972
  • Alan Francis, 24-time Horseshoe World Champion
  • Chet Grant, football player and journalist
  • Asel Hagerty (1837–1919), Canadian-born Medal of Honor recipient in the American Civil War, buried in Defiance
  • Jessicka Havok, professional wrestler
  • Michael Hitchcock, actor, comedian, screenwriter, and television producer
  • Sam Hornish Jr., Indianapolis 500 winner and part-time driver in the NASCAR Xfinity Series
  • Greg Kampe, men's head basketball coach at Oakland University
  • Don Miller, one of the Four Horsemen of Notre Dame
  • Ray T. Miller, 43rd Mayor of Cleveland
  • Jon Niese, pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Chad Reineke, pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds
  • Terry "Tuff" Ryan, author of The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio, daughter of Evelyn Ryan (the subject of the book)
  • Bruce Shingledecker, Alaskan wildlife painter
  • H. Allen Smith, humorist
  • Walter W. Wensinger, highly decorated lieutenant general in the Marine Corps during World War II

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