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Urbana, Ohio
Downtown Urbana
Downtown Urbana
Location of Urbana, Ohio
Location of Urbana, Ohio
Location of Urbana in Champaign County
Location of Urbana in Champaign County
Country United States
State Ohio
County Champaign
 • Total 7.91 sq mi (20.48 km2)
 • Land 7.91 sq mi (20.48 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,050 ft (320 m)
 • Total 11,793
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,442.27/sq mi (556.84/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 937, 326
FIPS code 39-79072
GNIS feature ID 1065415

Urbana is a city in and the county seat of Champaign County, Ohio, United States, 47 miles (76 km) west of Columbus. Urbana was laid out in 1805, and for a time in 1812 was the headquarters of the Northwestern army during the War of 1812. It is the burial place of the explorer and Indian fighter Simon Kenton.

In 1900, 6,808 people lived in Urbana; in 1910, 7,739; and in 1940, 8,335. The population was 11,793 at the 2010 census. It is the home of Urbana University.


Champaign County was formed on February 20, 1805 following the American Revolution and the Northwest Indian War. Colonel William Ward, a Virginian who had settled in the Mad River Valley with Simon Kenton in 1799, purchased 160 acres which he considered the logical and most acceptable site for Champaign's county seat. He approached the county commissioners with a proposition to locate the seat of the new county on this tract. Ward suggested that site to divided into 212 lots and 22 out-lots, half of which, selected alternately, were to be given to the county and while Ward would retain the remainder. Ward also offered two lots for a cemetery and a tract for the public square. The county commissioners approved the proposal, and Ward, with Joseph C. Vance, entered into a written agreement on October 11, 1805. Ward and Vance named the new county seat, Urbana.

The origin of the name 'Urbana' is unclear, however, it is thought that Ward and Vance used the Latin word 'urbs', which means city. Antrim provides the following theory: "It is said by some that Mr. Ward named the town from the word Urbanity, but I think it is quite likely he named it from an old Roman custom of dividing their people into different classes – one class, the Plebeians, and this again divided into two classes – Plebs Rustica and Plebs Urbana. The Plebs Rustica lived in the rural districts and were farmers, while the Plebs Urbana lived in villages and were mechanics and artisans." Others feel that Ward and Vance chose to name it from a town in Virginia, possibly Urbanna, but this seems unlikely. Urbanna means 'City of Anne' and was named for the English queen. It is more likely that two Revolutionary War veterans would turn to Latin rather than honor their former foe. A review in 1939 shows that of the 12 cities in the United States named "Urbana", the city in Ohio was the first.

When Ward delegated Vance to survey the site, there were no platted towns between Detroit and Springfield to use as a model. Nevertheless, Vance and Ward planned Urbana systematically. They provided for an ample public square, and laid the streets in an orderly pattern with no deviations for bogs and swamps.

By 1833, Urbana contained a courthouse and jail, one printing office, a church, a market house, nine mercantile stores, and 120 houses.

On June 21, 2009, a skatepark was added to Urbana's Melvin Miller Park. The skatepark was designed by Kevin Shockey and constructed by Yoder Concrete Construction, LLC. On November 2013, Damien Pendergast, who was a local skateboarder, died from germ cell cancer. Following his death, his high school class raised $700 and support to dedicate the skatepark in Damien's name.


Urbana is located at 40°6′39″N 83°45′5″W / 40.11083°N 83.75139°W / 40.11083; -83.75139 (40.110937, -83.751463).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.77 square miles (20.12 km2), of which 7.75 square miles (20.07 km2) is land and 0.02 square miles (0.05 km2) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 644
1830 1,102 71.1%
1840 1,070 −2.9%
1850 2,020 88.8%
1860 3,429 69.8%
1870 4,276 24.7%
1880 6,252 46.2%
1890 6,510 4.1%
1900 6,808 4.6%
1910 7,739 13.7%
1920 7,621 −1.5%
1930 7,742 1.6%
1940 8,335 7.7%
1950 9,335 12.0%
1960 10,461 12.1%
1970 11,237 7.4%
1980 10,774 −4.1%
1990 11,353 5.4%
2000 11,613 2.3%
2010 11,793 1.5%
2019 (est.) 11,404 −3.3%

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 11,793 people, 4,808 households, and 2,932 families living in the city. The population density was 1,521.7 inhabitants per square mile (587.5/km2). There were 5,401 housing units at an average density of 696.9 per square mile (269.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.7% White, 5.4% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.0% of the population.

There were 4,808 households, of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.3% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.2% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.0% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.95.

The median age in the city was 38.2 years. 23.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 11.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.1% were from 25 to 44; 25.3% were from 45 to 64; and 16.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.1% male and 52.9% female.



Grimes Field, Urbana, Ohio, United States
Grimes Field, the Urbana airport
  • A mid-air crash between TWA Flight 553 and a Beechcraft Baron over Urbana on March 9, 1967 resulted in 26 fatalities.
  • Urbana was a stop along the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad, which connected Pittsburgh to Chicago and St. Louis.
  • Urbana's municipal airport, Grimes Field, is home to the Champaign Aviation Museum. A museum known for its restoration of a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress and other historic aircraft.


Champaign County Farmers Market in Urbana
Urbana, Ohio (2021)
Urbana in 2021

Urbana's economy is supported by several industries, including Rittal, Honeywell Aerospace, Honeywell Inc., Control Industries, Freshwater Farms, Bolder & Co Creative Studio, among others. A variety of services are located in buildings around the Urbana Monument Square Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Businesses in the square include banks, accounting, fine dining, bars, and personal care. The Champaign County Farmers Market is held weekly in downtown Urbana. In a contest sponsored by the American Farmland Trust, the market was voted as one of America's four favorite farmers' markets. Urbana is also home to the annual Simon Kenton Chili Cook-Off that takes place downtown in the monument square.


Urbana is primarily served by the Urbana City School District, which includes Urbana High School (9–12) and a pre-k through 8 building. Both the high school and pre-k–8 were finished in 2018, after receiving grants for new school buildings. The original castle building from the high school still stands, but is no longer used. The new high school is on Washington Ave. and the elementary and middle school is south of Urbana on US 68.

Urbana University (closed in 2020) offered liberal arts tertiary-education opportunities in a small college environment. Serving about 1500 students, it offered 28 undergraduate majors in a variety of disciplines; graduate degrees in Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Education and Nursing; and opportunities for international students desiring to study in the United States.

Urbana has a public library, a branch of the Champaign County Public Library.

Notable people

  • Clancy Brown – born in Urbana in 1959, producer and actor (The Shawshank Redemption, SpongeBob SquarePants, Chappaquiddick, Thor: Ragnarok), son of Congressman Bud Brown (below). Grew up in Urbana and Washington DC
  • Clarence J. "Bud" Brown Jr., US Representative (1965 to 1983), former publisher of the Urbana Daily Citizen and Publisher/CEO of Brown Publishing Company
  • Moses Bledso Corwin – attorney and member of United States House of Representatives
  • Elias Franklin Drake – politician and businessman, born in Urbana
  • Pete Dye – golf course architect voted into the Hall of Fame; grew up in Urbana
  • Robert Morton Duncan – lawyer and jurist
  • Robert L. Eichelberger – United States Army general who commanded the US Eighth Army in the South West Pacific Area during World War II
  • Warren G. Grimes (1898–1975) – "Father of the Aircraft Lighting Industry," entrepreneur and inventor
  • Charles T. Hinde – businessman and riverboat captain
  • Edmund C. Hinde – miner during the California Gold Rush
  • Robert R. Hitt – United States Assistant Secretary of State, born in Urbana in 1834
  • Raymond Hubbell – composer of musicals, including the song "Poor Butterfly"
  • Jim Jordan – Representative for Ohio's 4th district
  • Michael Kent – Comedian and Magician
  • Simon Kentonfrontiersman; buried in Urbana
  • Tony Locke – Arena Football League wide receiver
  • Beth Macy – journalist and non-fiction writer; grew up in Urbana
  • Joseph Vance – 13th Governor of Ohio; lived in Urbana and is buried there
  • Martin R. M. Wallace – Civil War general, born in Urbana
  • W. H. L. Wallace – Civil War general, born in Urbana
  • Colonel William Ward – founder of Urbana
  • John Quincy Adams Ward – sculptor of the George Washington statue at Federal Hall National Memorial on Wall Street in New York City
  • Edgar Melville Ward – painter and educator
  • Brand Whitlock – born and raised in Urbana; four-time mayor of Toledo, Ohio and appointed as Ambassador to Belgium by President Woodrow Wilson
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