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Westerville, Ohio
State Street in Westerville
State Street in Westerville
Location of Westerville in Ohio
Location of Westerville in Ohio
Location of Westerville in Franklin County
Location of Westerville in Franklin County
Country United States
State Ohio
Counties Delaware, Franklin
Incorporated 1858
 • Total 12.74 sq mi (33.01 km2)
 • Land 12.60 sq mi (32.64 km2)
 • Water 0.14 sq mi (0.36 km2)
875 ft (267 m)
 • Total 39,190
 • Density 3,261.11/sq mi (1,259.14/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
43081, 43082, 43086
Area code(s) 614 and 380
FIPS code 39-83342
Hanby House 1905
Hanby House, circa 1905

Westerville is a city in Franklin and Delaware counties in the U.S. state of Ohio. A northeastern suburb of Columbus, the population was 39,190 at the 2020 census. Westerville is the home of Otterbein University. Westerville was once known as "The Dry Capital of the World" for its strict laws prohibiting sales of alcohol and for being the home of the Anti-Saloon League, one of the driving forces behind Prohibition at the beginning of the 20th century.


Early history

The land that is today Westerville was first settled around 1810. In 1818, Matthew, Peter, and William Westervelt, settlers of Dutch extraction, migrated to the area from New York. Matthew Westervelt donated land for the construction of a Methodist church in 1836, and the settlement was subsequently named in the family’s honor. In 1839, the Blendon Young Men’s Seminary was chartered in Westerville; Matthew Westervelt was one of its first trustees. The Church of the United Brethren in Christ bought the seminary in 1846, and the next year the seminary was reformed, and renamed Otterbein College after the church’s founder Philip William Otterbein. It continues today in Westerville as the private Otterbein University.

Westerville was platted by 1856, and officially incorporated in August 1858. The town's population in that year was 275.

Throughout the Antebellum era, several homes in Westerville were stations on the Underground Railroad. Among these is the Hanby House, located one block from the college. Benjamin Russell Hanby had moved to Westerville in 1849, at the age of sixteen, to enroll at Otterbein University. Hanby went on to write many familiar hymns and songs, among them "Darling Nelly Gray" (inspired by his sympathy for Southern slaves), "Who is He in Yonder Stall?", and the Christmas favorite "Up On The Housetop". His home in Westerville, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was dedicated as a museum in 1937 and is now owned by the Ohio Historical Society and managed locally by the Westerville Historical Society. It is the only state memorial to a composer in the state of Ohio.

"Dry Capital of the World"

An 1859 town ordinance prohibited sales of alcohol in Westerville. By the 1870s, a burgeoning conflict between pro- and anti-temperance forces boiled over into the so-called "Westerville Whiskey Wars". Twice, in 1875 and 1879, businessman Henry Corbin opened a saloon in Westerville, and each time the townspeople blew up his establishment with gunpowder. Westerville's reputation for temperance was so significant that in 1909 the Anti-Saloon League moved its national headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Westerville. The League, at the forefront of the Prohibition movement, gained its greatest triumph when the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1919. The League printed so many leaflets in support of temperance and prohibition—over 40 tons of mail per month—that Westerville, by then known as "The Dry Capital of the World", was the smallest town in the nation to have a first class post office. The League's Westerville headquarters was given to the Westerville Public Library in 1973 and now serves as a museum attached to the library. After Prohibition ended, Westerville remained dry for most of the twentieth century.

Since 1915

In 1916, Westerville became the first village (and second municipality) in Ohio to adopt a council-manager form of government, in which a city council makes policy but the town's administrative and many of its executive governmental functions are vested in an appointed, professional manager. Westerville retains the council-manager system to the present. The city elects seven council members at large for four-year terms; the council selects from among its own a member to serve as mayor, vice mayor, chair, and vice chair. Under the City Charter, the mayor is only "the ceremonial head of the government" of the city. The council additionally selects the city manager, who serves indefinitely. In 2007, David Collinsworth replaced David Lindimore as city manager after the latter's tenure of twenty-two years.

In 1995 the city annexed 941 non-dry acres of land to its north, which included several alcohol-selling businesses. Subsequently, voters have approved alcohol sales in old Westerville at a number of establishments through site-specific local options. In 2006 Michael's Pizza served the first beer in Uptown Westerville in over 70 years.


Westerville is located at 40°7′25″N 82°55′17″W / 40.12361°N 82.92139°W / 40.12361; -82.92139 (40.123496, -82.921432).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.61 square miles (32.66 km2), of which 12.47 square miles (32.30 km2) is land and 0.14 square miles (0.36 km2) is water.


Shops lining State Street in uptown Westerville
Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 668
1870 741 10.9%
1880 1,148 54.9%
1890 1,329 15.8%
1900 1,462 10.0%
1910 1,903 30.2%
1920 2,480 30.3%
1930 2,879 16.1%
1940 3,146 9.3%
1950 4,112 30.7%
1960 7,011 70.5%
1970 12,530 78.7%
1980 22,960 83.2%
1990 30,269 31.8%
2000 35,318 16.7%
2010 36,120 2.3%
2020 39,190 8.5%
Sources: 2020

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 36,120 people, 13,859 households, and 9,800 families living in the city. The population density was 2,896.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,118.4/km2). There were 14,467 housing units at an average density of 1,160.1 per square mile (447.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.6% White, 6.4% African American, 0.2% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.

There were 13,859 households, of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.7% were married couples living together, 9.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 29.3% were non-families. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 2.96.

The median age in the city was 41.2 years. 22.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 10.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.2% were from 25 to 44; 31.1% were from 45 to 64; and 14.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.0% male and 53.0% female.


In the early days before the town's incorporation, Westerville was connected to Columbus by a plank road with a toll of ten cents. Today, Westerville borders Interstate 71 and Interstate 270 (the Columbus Outerbelt), expressways that connect it with Columbus and other suburbs. Via the interstates, central Westerville is 16 miles (26 km) from downtown Columbus and 12 miles (19 km) from John Glenn Columbus International Airport, Central Ohio's primary terminal for air passengers. State Route 3, the "3-C Highway" which connects Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati, is the chief north–south thoroughfare of the old town center, known as Uptown Westerville, through which it is called State Street.

Streetcars plied the avenues of Westerville from the late nineteenth century but service was discontinued in 1929. Today, Westerville offers little in the way of public transportation. The city itself operates no public buses, but the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) serves Westerville with five bus lines.

Points of interest

Business and industry

  • Cheryl&Co., originally and popularly known as Cheryl's Cookies, was founded in Westerville in 1981 and is still based there.
  • Worthington Industries has a cylinder factory in Westerville.
  • The American Ceramic Society, a non-profit professional organization founded in 1899 in Columbus, has its headquarters in Westerville.


  • The town center, home to many locally owned stores and boutiques, is referred to as "Uptown Westerville". The storefronts along State Street are mainly the original architecture.
  • Westerville is served by the Westerville Public Library. In 2005, the library loaned more than 1.7 million items to its 78,000 cardholders. Total holdings are over 347,000 volumes with over 500 periodical subscriptions. In late 2004, the library started a renovation that was completed in May 2006. The library is also home to the Anti-Saloon League Museum.
  • Westerville is served by the local newspaper ThisWeek Westerville News & Public Opinion, as well as by the newspapers of Columbus, including the daily Columbus Dispatch.
  • The Ohio to Erie Trail runs through Westerville and provides miles of maintained bike paths as part of the Heart of Ohio branch.
  • Blendon Woods, Sharon Woods, and Inniswood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve are part of the Columbus and Franklin County Metropolitan Park District. All have several miles of walking trails; the last includes several exceptional gardens.
  • The Westerville Community Center opened in 2001. The 96,600-square-foot (8,970 m2) building offers a track, gymnasium, pool, climbing wall, and other recreational facilities.
  • Westerville is home to a smaller and lesser-known Hoover Dam, where the Westerville Crew high school rowing team and the Ohio State University and Denison University sailing teams practice.
  • Central High School is further north than North High School, a fact featured on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in March 2008. Central High, Genoa Middle and Hawthorne, Fouse and Alcott Elementary are outside of city limits.


  • Westerville was named America's best suburb in 2013 by Movoto Real Estate
  • Westerville was ranked #15 on Money magazine's list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live in 2009 and ranked #46 on the list in 2007.
  • The Westerville Parks and Recreation Department has won the gold medal for Excellence in Parks and Recreation Management for Class IV in its last three years of eligibility (2001, 2007, and 2013), as a winner must wait five full years before applying again.
  • Westerville was named Sports Illustrated's "Sportstown Ohio" in 2003 as part of the magazine's 50th anniversary.

In television and media

On the musical comedy television series Glee, Westerville is the location for a fictional private school, Dalton Academy, home to the Dalton Academy Warblers, a rival show choir. The city is located about two hours' drive southeast of Lima, Ohio, the series' main setting.


T. Marzetti Company and its parent Lancaster Colony Corporation, as well as Mac Tools are headquartered in Westerville.

Top employers

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

# Employer # of employees
1 JP Morgan Chase 6,035
2 Mount Carmel Health System 3,428
3 Otterbein University 1,810
4 Westerville City Schools 1,734
5 Alliance Data 1,475
6 OhioHealth 958
7 ESC of Central Ohio 935
8 City of Westerville 863
9 1-800-Flowers (Cheryl's Cookies) 712
10 DHL Supply Chain 668


Otterbein University, a private four-year liberal arts college, was founded by the United Brethren Church in 1847 and is now home to over 3,000 students. The United Brethren Church has since merged with the Methodist Church and is now the United Methodist Church, with which the college continues to be affiliated.

Other colleges and universities in Westerville Ohio include Hondros College, Franklin University (branch), Dominion University, The Ohio State School of Cosmetology, Columbus State Westerville Center (branch) and Fortis College.

Westerville is served by the Westerville City School District. The district operates three high schools: Westerville South High School, an International Baccalaureate School, which opened in 1960 as Westerville High School; Westerville North High School (opened 1975); and Westerville Central High School (opened 2003). In addition, Westerville has four middle and sixteen elementary schools. The middle schools are Blendon, Genoa, Heritage, and Walnut Springs. The elementary schools are Emerson (a magnet school that opened in 1896 as the Vine Street School), Central College (magnet), Hanby (magnet), Longfellow (magnet), Alcott, Annehurst, Cherrington, Fouse, Hawthorne, Huber Ridge, Mark Twain, McVay, Pointview, Robert Frost, Whittier, and Wilder.

Notable people

Kaleb Wesson OSU (cropped)
Kaleb Wesson
  • Tim Bezbatchenko — President for the Columbus Crew SC
  • Steven Boyer — Theatre & television actor
  • Ki-Jana Carter — 1995 No. 1 pick, NFL draft with the Cincinnati Bengals
  • The Crimson Armada — Extreme Metal band
  • Jim Day — host of Reds Live for the Cincinnati Reds
  • Buster Douglas — Former boxing world heavy weight champion
  • Gabby Douglas (born 1995) — gymnast and 2012 Olympic gold medalist
  • Jennifer Hetrick — actor, Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Benjamin Hanby — 19th-century composer
  • Abhijat Joshi — Bollywood screenplay/script writer
  • Andy Katzenmoyer — football player with the New England Patriots
  • Bob Kennedy — two-time Olympian (1992, 1996)
  • John William Lambert — early automotive pioneer, inventor, and automobile manufacturer
  • Lance Moore — wide receiver for the Detroit Lions; Super Bowl Champion with the New Orleans Saints
  • Nick Moore — wide receiver for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers
  • Dan O'Brien — General Manager, Cincinnati Reds
  • Lauren Schmidt Hissrich (born 1978) — Television writer
  • Caleb Shomo — Former vocalist of Attack Attack! and founder of Beartooth
  • Benny Snell (born 1998) — running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Nick Vannett — tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers, former tight end for Ohio State University
  • Kaleb Wesson (born 1999) - basketball player for Maccabi Rishon LeZion of the Israeli Basketball Premier League
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