Aerial view of Piqua
|Motto: "Where Vision becomes reality"|
Location of Piqua, Ohio
|• Mayor||Lucinda L. Fess|
|• Total||11.89 sq mi (30.79 km2)|
|• Land||11.62 sq mi (30.10 km2)|
|• Water||0.27 sq mi (0.70 km2)|
|Elevation||873 ft (266 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||20,619|
|• Density||1,766.1/sq mi (681.9/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||1061544|
Piqua was one of the cities that experienced severe flooding during the Great Dayton Flood of 1913.
In 1747, Fort Pickawillany was constructed by the British to protect their trading post at a Miami village of the same name. It was located about a mile northeast of the present city of Piqua, at the confluence of Loramie Creek and the Great Miami River. The fort was attacked in 1752 by Charles de Langlade, a Métis war chief, of Ottawa and French Canadian descent. He led more than 240 Ottawa and Ojibwe allied with French forces against the British and the Miami village in the Battle of Pickawillany, resulting in the death of the Miami chief and a British trader.
After the battle, the British and Miami abandoned this site. The Miami rebuilt Pickawillany, and Piqua later developed near their village. The British soon took over the area after defeating the French in the Seven Years War (1754-1763), known in British North America as the French and Indian War.
Piqua was settled by European-American colonists as two separate communities in 1780, known as Upper Piqua and Lower Piqua. The two villages united by 1800. Officially incorporated in 1807, Piqua's development was related to the founding of
The word 'Piqua' is believed to be derived from a Shawnee language phrase: Othath-He-Waugh-Pe-Qua, translated as "He has risen from the ashes," related to a legend of the people. It became associated with the Pekowi, one of the five divisions of the Shawnee people, who were eventually known as the Piqua.
This local Shawnee history was also the source of the name of the community of Shawnee, founded in 1797 on the east side of the Great Miami River. It is adjacent to the former Pennsylvania Railroad corridor, later used by the merged Penn Central Transportation and subsequently by Conrail. Shawnee has long since been incorporated into Piqua. The Piqua High School Indians athletic teams also took their mascot name from the local Native American history.
Rossville (since incorporated into Piqua) was an early local African-American settlement. Virginia planter John Randolph of Roanoke, who served as a US Representative and Senator, arranged for the emancipation of his hundreds of slaves in his will of 1833. He also provided money for his executor to relocate the freedmen to the free state of Ohio, and to buy land and supplies to help them establish a settlement. The will was challenged but in 1846, his 383 slaves gained their freedom. Most of these freedmen settled in Rumley, Ohio, but some eventually founded Rossville and an associated cemetery, known as the African Jackson Cemetery. These are located on the northeast side of the Great Miami River off North County Road 25-A.
Piqua was home to the first municipally operated nuclear power plant, the Piqua Nuclear Generating Station. It operated from 1962 to 1966, leading to Piqua being nicknamed "The Atomic City." This major demonstration project was a failure. The United States Atomic Energy Commission (now US Department of Energy) bought out the contract with the City of Piqua, in order to terminate the operations early. During this period a name brand automotive batterywas manufactured and marketed locally as the "Piqua Atomic Power Plant."
The "Orr-Statler Block" building at the corner of Main and High Streets was erected in 1891 and long dominated downwotn. For many years its core tenant was a hotel of more than 100 rooms, first known as the "Plaza," later as the "Favorite," and finally as the "Fort Piqua." The hotel closed in the 1980s.
The building's street-level commercial spaces were occupied by a variety of businesses over the years, including a barbershop, grocer, bank, the local telephone company business office, Western Union, a combination bus station and taxi office with a very popular soda fountain and lunch counter, and others. Just prior to the start of the Prohibition era, the hotel's bar was moved to the basement level. It is rumored to have closed only its outside entrance during those years, operating as a speakeasy.
The building suffered disrepair and neglect for a period, and renewal plans seemed unable to secure funding. In a public-private redevelopment, the building was fully renovated during a two-year project. Since 2008, its major tenant has been the city's public library. In addition, the building is the location of Mulligan's Pub, a full-scale restaurant and bar, complete with a patio for live entertainment. The building is now known as Fort Piqua Plaza.
Road and railroad access
Piqua has two Main Streets, one being north and southbound along Miami County Road 25-A (the former U.S. Highway 25, also known as the Dixie Highway); the other running east through Shawnee. U.S. 36 also runs through much of the city, cutting the town almost directly in half. Main and Ash streets (U.S. 36) converge in Piqua's downtown. Also running through downtown is the east-west Conrail corridor; originally built as the Pennsylvania Railroad two-track throughway, this track was abandoned in 1985 during restructuring of the railroad industry. A section of it was renovated as a bike trail in the summer of 2001, and it is now known as Linear Park. The remaining rail line serving Piqua is the north and southbound Baltimore and Ohio line, now operated by CSX Transportation (CSXT).
Piqua is located at (40.147474, -84.247968).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.89 square miles (30.79 km2), of which 11.62 square miles (30.10 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.70 km2) is water.
The Great Miami River runs through Piqua. The area at the south end of town on the east side of the river is known as Shawnee.
As of the census of 2010, there were 20,522 people, 8,318 households, and 5,425 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,766.1 inhabitants per square mile (681.9 /km2). There were 9,311 housing units at an average density of 801.3 per square mile (309.4 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.4% White, 3.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 2.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.
There were 8,318 households of which 32.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.9% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.8% were non-families. 28.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.96.
The median age in the city was 38.1 years. 24.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.6% were from 25 to 44; 26.2% were from 45 to 64; and 14.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.0% male and 52.0% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 20,738 people, 8,263 households, and 5,585 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,939.2 people per square mile (749.0/km²). There were 8,886 housing units at an average density of 830.9 per square mile (320.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.21% White, 3.38% African American, 0.33% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.27% from other races, and 1.37% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.74% of the population.
There were 8,263 households out of which 32.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.4% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.4% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 9.0% from 18 to 24, 28.9% from 25 to 44, 21.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,681, and the median income for a family was $41,804. Males had a median income of $31,808 versus $22,241 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,719. About 9.6% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.0% of those under age 18 and 7.9% of those age 65 or over.
The city of Piqua is the home of Hartzell Propeller, the leading producer of small aircraft propellers in the world. Evenflo (formerly Questor Juvenile Furniture) is the leading manufacturer of infant and toddler car seats, and has become one of Piqua's leading employers and industries.
In the late 1890s, Southwest Ohio was the heart of the US flaxseed growing area. There were some 13 linseed oil mills in Piqua, where the flaxseed was "crushed" to extract the vegetable oil, named linseed oil. The flax fiber was used to make both cloth and paper. The oil had a variety of industrial uses. Linoleum is a manufactured flooring product for which linseed oil is the binder. One of the vegetable oil mills in Piqua burned down in the 1890s, a common fate for wooden buildings soaked with vegetable oil. Its owner, American Linseed Oil Company, dispatched Alfred Willard French, their Chief Engineer, from Brooklyn, New York, to organize and supervise the rebuilding of the oil mill.
During the rebuilding of the mill, French included a machine he had invented and patented in 1898, a "cake trimmer", and purchased the most modern equipment then available. He met the leading citizens of Piqua. They were impressed with French, who had graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in three years, and had entrepreneurial spirit. They decided to invest in a new company he wanted to start. The French Oil Mill Machinery Company was founded 25 May 1900, with French as president, to make "improved oil mill machinery". By 1905 the company was exporting its patented and rugged vegetable oil mill extraction machinery all around the world. Today, the company has customers in over 80 countries, still serving the vegetable oil extraction market (to press such seeds as soybeans, cottonseed, rapeseed, canola, and many others). In addition, the company is a world leader in synthetic rubber dewatering and drying machinery, and in hydraulic molding presses for rubber, thermoplastic and composite materials.
During the late 19th century and much of the 20th century, Piqua was a major center of underwear production. A yearly Outdoor Underwear Festival was held downtown from 1988 until shortly after the demise and demolition of the factory owned by Medalist-Allen A, a direct descendant of the Atlas Underwear Company. Originally the festival had a serious historical focus. In later years it attracted adventurous types from surrounding towns, and Piqua residents discouraged their children from attending. Heritage Green Park now occupies the former Medalist factory site.
The Meteor Motor Car Company had a brief run as an independent record label and phonograph manufacturer in the 1920s. Acquired by Wayne Corporation of Richmond, Indiana, which manufactured school buses, it operated as the Miller-Meteor division. Miller-Meteor produced ambulances and hearses before closing down in 1979.
The Piqua Coca-Cola Bottling Company, owned by the Lange family, was located on the downtown square at the northeast corner of Main and High streets. It produced its signature product along with Sprite, Tab and Fresca in glass bottles for the Upper Miami Valley; metal canned products were shipped in from a plant in Speedway, Indiana. In the mid-1970s, the plant was bought by the Dayton Coca-Cola Bottling Company. The increased demand for Coke products in two-liter plastic bottles and cans made the aging local plant obsolete; it was closed down and razed by the end of the decade. A newer bottling plant was constructed in Huber Heights. A statue of pilot Don Gentile was erected at the site of the defunct plant.
The Val Decker Packing Company, which operated until 1981, was a local producer of hams, hot dogs, and other meats and lard under the tagline "Piquality." The large red steel cans, which contained the lard product, are now sought-after as collectors' items. The building which housed the meat packing plant was renovated in 1987 for office use by the Piqua Board of Education and several small businesses.
Piqua's industrial past produced a prosperity reflected in residential areas near downtown, which contain numerous large mansions and homes. Most notable is the Leo Flesh Mansion, built in the Chateauesque style. It looms over many of the surrounding buildings in the neighborhood. A "sister" house in Dayton, Ohio, was designed by the same architect.
Piqua's shopping mall, Miami Valley Centre Mall, opened in 1988 and was renovated in the mid-1990s. Its anchor stores include JC Penney, Elder Beerman, and Sears. Miami Valley Crossing (formerly Piqua East Mall, opened in 1970) was redesigned and updated in the late 1990s as a plaza with anchor stores, Big Lots, Wal-Mart, Jo-Ann Fabrics, El Sombrero Restaurant, and The Home Depot.
According to Piqua's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:
|#||Employer||# of Employees|
|1||Industry Products Company||351|
|3||Piqua City Schools||316|
|5||Tailwind Technologies/Hartzell Propeller||268|
|6||Crane Pumps & Systems||240|
|7||Upper Valley JVS||235|
|8||City of Piqua||195|
|9||Edison Community College||160|
|10||Jackson Tube Service||160|
Arts and culture
Two local festivals are held downtown. Taste of The Arts, attracting area artists, local restaurants and tourists alike, is held yearly in May. Christmas On The Green is held annually at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
The Piqua Heritage Festival, held since 1981, is an annual event at the site of the Col. John Johnston farm (also known as Piqua Historical Area) on Labor Day weekend. It draws historians, representatives of Native American tribes, and tourists. A restored segment of the Miami-Erie Canal is also located within this area north of the city off State Route 66.
The Piqua City School District operates four elementary schools, three middle schools, a junior high school, and Piqua High School.Piqua is also home to the Upper Valley Career Center. Piqua is also home to several private schools, including Piqua Catholic School, the Piqua Seventh Day Adventist School, and the Nicholas School.
Piqua schools compete in the Greater Western Ohio Conference (GWOC) North Division (Piqua, Troy, Trotwood, Vandalia, Sidney). Piqua High School's rivals are the Trojans from Troy, Ohio, a community about five miles (8 km) south. The following sports are available at Piqua High School: Football, Men's/Women's Basketball, Men's/Women's Soccer, Men's/Women's Tennis, Volleyball, Bowling, Golf, Baseball, Softball, Men's/Women's Cross Country, Track and Field, Wrestling, Swimming, Cheerleading, Show Choir, and Gymnastics. Piqua High School Show Choir "The Company" won numerous Grand Championships. The Piqua High School football team was also named the Division II state champions for the 2006 season.
Piqua is home to Edison Community College. Edison opened a new, 35,671-square-foot (3,313.9 m2) addition to its campus during 2007, completed by The Collaborative Inc., architects, landscape architects and interior designers in Toledo. The new building, the Regional Center of Excellence (RCE), is an academic and student life center. The RCE houses classrooms, seminar rooms, library/learning center, cybercafe, and a multi-function lobby.
The Regional Center of Excellence won an AIA Ohio Honor award.
The college has a satellite location in Darke County.
In popular culture
- Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants children's book is set in Piqua. It was chosen because of its annual "Underwear Festival" and history of manufacturing.
- Brock Bolen - football player.
- Mills Brothers - jazz musicians, inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998.
- Don Gentile - World War II ace.
- Charles Blue Jacket - 19th-Century Shawnee chief in Kansas, and Methodist minister.
- Girard Edward Kalbfleisch - U.S. federal judge.
- Ollie Klee - baseball player.
- Terri Hemmert - Chicago area disc jockey at WXRT-FM.
- Kristin King - player on the bronze medal winning Ladies' U.S. Hockey team at the 2006 Winter Olympics.
- Bill Lear - inventor and businessman, founder of Lear Jet and inventor of the 8-track cartridge.
- William McCulloch - lawyer, long-time member of the U.S. House of Representatives and an author of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
- John F. McKinney - U.S. Representative from Ohio.
- Rich McKinney - baseball player.
- John G. Mitchell - General in the Union Army.
- Quinn Pitcock - former starting defensive tackle for the Ohio State University football team and retired member of the Indianapolis Colts.
- William H. Pitsenbarger - posthumously awarded Congressional Medal of Honor.
- Louis Joseph Reicher - first Bishop of Austin, Texas (1948-1971).
- Harry Reser - banjo player and bandleader of the Clicquot Club Eskimos.
- Stephen Clegg Rowan - Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy.
- Brandon Saine - 2006 Ohio Mr. Football Award winner and running back for The Ohio State University football team. Now with the Green Bay Packers.
- Helen Schelle - Founding partner of Fisher-Price, American toy manufacturer.
- Lawrence Yates Sherman - U.S. Senator, 28th Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, and Speaker of Illinois House of Representatives.
- Tanya Thornton Shewell - member of the Maryland House of Delegates.
- Hiram Y. Smith - lawyer and U.S. Representative from Iowa.
- Mike Smith - baseball player.
- Jack Snow - writer and scholar.
- Joseph J. Spengler - economist, statistician, and historian of economic thought.
- Joseph Widney - doctor, educator, historian, and religious leader.
- Robert M. Widney - founding father of the University of Southern California.
- James P. Wisecup - Vice Admiral, U.S. Navy.
- Patrick Zircher - illustrator of Marvel and DC comic books.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-17.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Peter Finkelman, "Thomas Jefferson and Anti-Slavery: The Myth Goes On", Virginia Historical Quarterly, Vol. 102, No. 2 (April 1994), p. 222, accessed 14 March 2011
- David Lodge, "Randolph Slaves Come to Ohio", Untitled article, Cincinnati Gazette, 2 July 1846, at Shelby County History, 1998, accessed 15 March 2011
- Randolph Settlement/Jackson Cemetery (African), Ohio Historical Society, 2008. Accessed 2013-12-20.
- Owen, Lorrie K., ed. Dictionary of Ohio Historic Places. Vol. 2. St. Clair Shores: Somerset, 1999, 1002.
- Hartley, Susan. "Piqua Public Library dedicated in renovated Fort Piqua Plaza", Piqua Daily Call, 20 October 2008
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Number of Inhabitants: Ohio". 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "Ohio: Population and Housing Unit Counts". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
- "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
- City of Piqua CAFR
- Piqua Indians Football