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Lancaster, Ohio facts for kids

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Lancaster, Ohio
City of Lancaster
Main Street in Downtown Lancaster
Main Street in Downtown Lancaster
"Glass City", "The Stir", "L Town"
Location of Lancaster, Ohio
Location of Lancaster, Ohio
Location of Lancaster in Fairfield County
Location of Lancaster in Fairfield County
Country United States
State Ohio
County Fairfield
 • Total 18.92 sq mi (48.99 km2)
 • Land 18.85 sq mi (48.83 km2)
 • Water 0.06 sq mi (0.17 km2)
879 ft (268 m)
 • Total 40,552
 • Estimate 
 • Density 2,148.58/sq mi (829.59/km2)
Demonym(s) Lancastrian
Time zone UTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area codes 740 and 220
FIPS code 39-41720
GNIS feature ID 1048903

Lancaster ( lank--)stər) is a city in Fairfield County, Ohio, in the south central part of the state. As of the 2020 census, the city population was 40,552. The city is near the Hocking River, about 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Columbus and 38 miles (61 km) southwest of Zanesville. It is the county seat of Fairfield County.


The earliest known inhabitants of the southeastern and central Ohio region were the Hopewell, Adena, and Fort Ancient Native Americans, of whom little evidence survived, beyond the burial and ceremonial mounds built throughout the Ohio and Mississippi valleys. Many mounds and burial sites have also yielded archaeological artifacts. (See also: Serpent Mound and Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, which though not located in Fairfield County, are close by.)

Prior to and immediately after European settlement, the land today comprising Lancaster and Fairfield County, Ohio was inhabited variously by the Shawnee, Iroquois, Wyandot, and other Native American tribes. It served as a natural crossroads for the intertribal and intra-tribal wars fought at various times. (See also: Beaver Wars) Noted frontier explorer Christopher Gist reached the vicinity of Lancaster on January 19, 1751, when he visited the small Delaware town of "Hockhocking" nearby. Leaving the area the next day, Gist rode southwest to "Maguck", another Delaware town near Circleville.

Having been ceded to the United States by Great Britain after the American Revolution by the Treaty of Paris, the lands north of the Ohio River and west of the Appalachian Mountains became, in 1784, incorporated into the Northwest Territory. White settlers began to encroach on Native American lands in the Ohio Territory. As the new government of the United States began to cast its eye westward, the stage was set for the series of campaigns that culminated in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, and the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. With pioneer settlement within Ohio made legal and safe from Indian raids, developers began to speculate in land sales in earnest.

Knowing that such speculation, combined with Congressional grants of land sections to veterans of the Revolution, could result in a lucrative opportunity, Ebenezer Zane in 1796 petitioned the United States Congress to grant him a contract to blaze a trail through Ohio, from Wheeling, West Virginia, to Limestone, Kentucky, (near modern Maysville, Kentucky) a distance of 266 miles (428 km). As part of the deal, Zane was awarded square-mile tracts of land at the points where his trace crossed the Hocking, Muskingum, and Scioto rivers. Zane's Trace, as it has become known, was completed by 1797, and as Zane's sons began to carve the square-mile tract astride the Hocking into saleable plots, the city of Lancaster formally came into being in 1800. Lancaster predated the formal establishment of the state of Ohio by three years. There were also many villages and townships settled right outside of Lancaster around the same time i.e. Lithopolis, Royalton, Bloom, Carroll, and Greencastle, which contributed to the booming success of the small village.

The initial settlers were predominantly of German stock, and emigrated from Pennsylvania. Ohio's longest continuously operating newspaper, the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette was born of a merger of the early Der Ohio Adler, founded about 1807, with the Ohio Gazette, founded in the 1830s. The two newspapers were ferocious competitors since they were on opposite sides of the American Civil War, as was the split populace of the city itself, until they merged seventy-two years after the war's end in 1937. This was shortly after the Gazette was acquired by glassmaker Anchor-Hocking. The newspaper is currently part of the Newspaper Network of Central Ohio, which is in turn a unit of Gannett Company, Inc.

Initially known as New Lancaster, and later shortened by city ordinance (1805), the town quickly grew; formal incorporation as a city came in 1831. The connection of the Hocking Canal to the Ohio and Erie Canal in this era provided a convenient way for the region's rich agricultural produce to reach eastern markets.

Modern Lancaster is distinguished by a rich blend of 19th-century architecture (best evidenced in historic Square 13, part of Zane's original plot) and natural beauty (best evidenced by the famous Standing Stone, today known as Mount Pleasant) with all the typical modern accoutrements of a small-medium-sized American city.

Society and culture

Romanesque Building in Lancaster, Ohio
Romanesque-style City Hall building downtown
  • Lancaster is home to the Lancaster campus of Ohio University, offering a variety of two- and four-year baccalaureate degrees, and several master's programs. This continually expanding branch offers many courses in a variety of settings, including multi-site classes via the Ohio University Learning Network and online classes.
  • Lancaster is home to the Lancaster Festival, an 11-day arts and music festival.
  • Lancaster is home to both the Decorative Arts Center of Ohio and the Ohio Glass Museum, both located within the downtown area.
  • Lancaster is home to the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette newspaper.
  • The 1948 20th Century Fox movie Green Grass of Wyoming was filmed at the Fairfield County Fairground in Lancaster, making it the first community in Ohio to act as the setting for a feature length Hollywood movie.
  • Lancaster is home to the Fairfield County Fair, a week-long fair and the last (88th) county fair in Ohio each year, always on the second week of October. It features a variety of attractions including truck, tractor, and horse pulls, demolition derbies, concerts, bands, and horse races. The Fairfield County Fair also includes lots of food, exhibits, games, and rides for people of all ages.

Sites of interest

Mount Pleasant

A famous Lancaster landmark is Mount Pleasant, a 250-foot (76 m) high sandstone bluff called "Standing Stone" by earlier Native American peoples. It is located in Rising Park, a large city park on the city's north side. It is possible to climb to the top of Mount Pleasant by following a short marked trail from the park through the woods that cover the bluff's other sides. There is also a cave known unofficially as "Devils Kitchen" in the front in which braver people are willing to climb about 20 feet (6.1 m) using only shallow "bear claws". Experienced rock climbers have climbed the sandstone face of the bluff many times as well. Once one has reached the top, there is a lookout area from which one can see over great distances, and take in not just a panoramic view of the nearby Fairfield County fairgrounds and much of the city of Lancaster, but the changing landscape of Central Ohio as well—from the relatively flat farmlands north of Lancaster to the wooded hills lying south of the city.


AHA! A Hands on Adventure

AHA! is a children's museum founded in 2006 whose sole mission is to surround children and the adults in their lives with a hands-on, interactive, playful and educational environment that invites curiosity, allows exploration, encourages participation and celebrates the childlike wonder in us all.

Georgian Museum

Originally built in 1832 for the Maccracken Family, this Federal home is constructed predominantly of brick and local limestone. Converted into a museum, it is now furnished as it would have been in the 1830s with some original pieces and numerous early Fairfield County, Ohio items. Located in one of Lancaster's three National Historic Districts, the structure mixes elements of American, Georgian and Regency architecture.

The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio

The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio is a not-for-profit museum whose mission is to foster knowledge and appreciation of the decorative arts; celebrate the architecture and heritage of the Reese-Peters House; and enhance the vitality and integrity of historic Lancaster. The Center provides exhibitions, public programs, art classes and workshops for all ages, and a focus for research and communication about the decorative arts of Ohio.

Ohio Glass Museum

Opened in 2002, the Ohio Glass Museum is located in historic downtown Lancaster and dedicated to recording the history of the glass industry, which for over 100 years has been one of the mainstays of the economy of Fairfield County.

Sherman House

Lancaster was the birthplace of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman and his brother, Senator John Sherman. The house in which they were born has been converted into a museum, housing both articles related to the life of General Sherman and Civil War artifacts. Originally built in 1811, this frame house was expanded by the Sherman family in 1816 and again with an additional brick front in 1870.


Lancaster is located at 39°43′N 82°36′W / 39.717°N 82.600°W / 39.717; -82.600 (39.7193, -82.6053). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.90 square miles (48.95 km2), of which 18.84 square miles (48.80 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 1,037
1830 1,530 47.5%
1840 3,272 113.9%
1850 3,483 6.4%
1860 4,308 23.7%
1870 4,725 9.7%
1880 6,803 44.0%
1890 7,555 11.1%
1900 8,991 19.0%
1910 13,093 45.6%
1920 14,706 12.3%
1930 18,716 27.3%
1940 21,940 17.2%
1950 24,180 10.2%
1960 29,916 23.7%
1970 32,911 10.0%
1980 34,925 6.1%
1990 34,507 −1.2%
2000 35,335 2.4%
2010 38,780 9.7%
2020 40,552 4.6%

The city's median household income was $33,321 and median family income was $39,773. Males had a median income of $30,462 versus $23,023 for females. The city's per capita income was $17,648. About 8.7% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.8% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those over 64.

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 38,780 people, 16,048 households, and 9,937 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,955.9 people per square mile (755.0/km2). There were 17,685 housing units at an average density of 879.6 per square mile (339.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.9% White, 1% African American, 0.5% Asian, 0.30% Native American, 0% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.6% of the population.

There were 16,048 households, of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 24% under the age of 18, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.


Top employers

According to the city's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, Lancaster's top employers are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Fairfield Medical Center 2,099
2 Fairfield County 947
3 Anchor Hocking 900
4 Lancaster City Schools 745
5 City of Lancaster 430
6 Kroger 412
7 TreeHouse Private Brands 341
8 Crestview Manor Nursing 230
9 Fairfield Homes 185
10 Glasfoss Industries 175


Lancaster City School District operates Lancaster High School. Lancaster has a public library, a branch of the Fairfield County District Library. Additionally, Ohio University-Lancaster is a branch campus of Ohio University that operates in the area.

Notable people

Lancaster is the birthplace and/or hometown of:

Black History Month on Kiddle
African-American activists
Amzie Moore
Ida B. Wells
Roy Wilkins
Andrew Young
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