Circleville, Ohio

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Circleville, Ohio
Circleville's Main Street
Circleville's Main Street
Official seal of Circleville, Ohio
"Home of the Pumpkin Show"
Location in Pickaway County
Location in Pickaway County
Circleville, Ohio is located in Ohio
Circleville, Ohio
Circleville, Ohio
Location in Ohio
Coordinates: 39°36′N 82°57′W / 39.600°N 82.950°W / 39.600; -82.950Coordinates: 39°36′N 82°57′W / 39.600°N 82.950°W / 39.600; -82.950
CountryUnited States
 • MayorDon McIlroy
 • Total7.34 sq mi (19.00 km2)
 • Land7.22 sq mi (18.69 km2)
 • Water0.12 sq mi (0.31 km2)
Elevation696 ft (212 m)
 • Total13,927
 • Density1,930.02/sq mi (745.20/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)740, 220
FIPS code39-15070[3]
GNIS feature ID1056803[2]
WebsiteOfficial website Edit this at Wikidata

Circleville is a city in and the county seat of Pickaway County, Ohio, United States, set along the Scioto River, 25 miles (40 km) south of Columbus. The population was 13,927 at the 2020 census. The city is best-known today as the host of the Circleville Pumpkin Show, an annual festival held since 1903.

The city's name is derived from its original layout created in 1810 within the 1,100 ft (340 m) diameter of a circle of a Hopewell tradition earthwork dating to the early centuries of the Common Era. The county courthouse was built in the center of the innermost circle. By the late 1830s, for numerous reasons residents decided to gain authorization from the state legislature to change the layout to a standard grid, which was accomplished by the mid-1850s. All traces of the Hopewell earthwork were destroyed in Circleville, although hundreds of other monuments may be found in the Ohio Valley.


Early history[edit]

By the mid-18th century, the Lenape (Delaware Indians) were pushed west from Pennsylvania by European settlers flowing into the colony. The Lenape were given permission by the Wyandot people to settle in the Ohio country. One of their settlements was Maguck, built by 1750 on the banks of the Scioto River. Modern Circleville was built to the north of this site.[4]

The frontier explorer Christopher Gist was the first recorded European visitor to the Circleville area. Gist reached Maguck, the small Lenape village of about 10 families on the east bank of the Scioto River, on January 20, 1751. He wrote that he had stayed in the town for four days.[5] Between the time of establishment of the United States and of the city's settlement, the land was owned by the US federal government, as opposed to other land in the county which was part of the Virginia Military District.[6]: 213–4 

Family of George Hitler Sr. arrived in 1799, his descendants still live in the city. Dr. Gay Hitler used to be a dentist. Now there are here two Hitler roads, Hubert Hitler Road, Hitler Pond, Hitler-Park, Hitler-Ludvig cemetery.[7][8] There is no connection between the family and Adolf Hitler, whose surname was defined much later.


Map of Circleville's original layout

On January 12, 1810, Pickaway County was established by order of the Ohio General Assembly. On February 19 of that year, the assembly appointed David Bradford, George Jackson, and John Pollock to choose the location for the county seat. The men ventured into the county and inspected numerous sites. At the time, the Hopewell fortifications were still intact, and were selected for the site. An 1880 history of the county presumes that the men thought the site location would spur the preservation and maintenance of the Hopewell mounds. The group was then given a director on July 25 to oversee them, with Daniel Dreisbach appointed. Dreisbach was to purchase the land, determine lots, and distribute them. At the time, the land was owned by Jacob Zeiger, Zeiger Jr., and Samuel Watt; Dreisbach purchased 200 acres for $800 to $900.[9]: 31–32 

Circleville was founded by European-American settlers during 1810, as people relocated westward after the American Revolutionary War.

The first sale of property in the new town was followed with a celebration: a barbecue, and the manufacture of a several-hundred-pound wheel of cheese, which was drawn to the barbecue on a sled. A competition for the honor of constructing the first house also took place. By 1827, the town had 725 people in 102 individual houses, a courthouse, jail, government office building, a private and public school, one church, nine stores, three pharmacies, three groceries, and a market house. All were built in brick, except the jail, built in stone.[9]: 32–3 

The settlement was formally incorporated as the town of Circleville in 1814, and it was made a city on March 25, 1853.[9]: 36–8 

Squaring the circle[edit]

Dissatisfaction among residents rose over Circleville's layout, however. Some believed the design was "childish sentimentalism", and others complained that the lots were too irregular and inconvenient, and that a circular plan wasted space that could become profitable. As well, the space around the central courthouse was unpresentable. People from the countryside would hitch their horses around the courthouse, which would draw hogs and domestic animals to the area and surrounding city.[9]: 34 

In March 1837 at the request of the town, the Ohio General Assembly authorized the town to make the alterations, given the consent of all property owners in the circle. In March 1838, after no activity, the assembly authorized alterations to any quarter of the circle given consent from property owners in the quarter.[9]: 34  The "Circleville Squaring Company" was created to convert the town plan into a squared grid, as was typical of other platted towns.[10] Later that month, the southeast corner was the first to be altered, followed by the northwest quarter in September 1838. The northeast corner was only squared in 1849, and the final quarter, the southwest, was altered in 1856. The work involved destroying, moving, or constructing buildings, grading and repaving roads, and more. Due to these changes, no traces of the original earthworks remain, beside a section of elevated ground at the corner of Pickaway and Franklin streets.[9]: 34–5 

The only drawings of Circleville before its squaring were made by G. F. Wittich. He made sketches of the courthouse, the circle, and other buildings in 1836, and used those and information from residents to create a map around 1860, which he made a watercolor of in 1870.[9]: 36 

A history of the county makes note that the citizens of Circleville regret the rare circular layout of the town was ever changed.[9]: 34 

20th century[edit]

The Circleville Pumpkin Water Tower

During April 1967, Bingman's Drug Store and several neighboring buildings on West Main Street in downtown Circleville were destroyed when Lee Holbrook, the husband of a drug store employee, brought a wooden box containing bundled dynamite to the store and it detonated during a struggle with the store's staff. Holbrook and four store employees died in the blast and ensuing fire; nearly thirty others were injured. Holbrook's wife was not at the store and was not among the injured.[11][12] [13]

Starting in 1976, residents began receiving mysterious letters from an unknown source. The identity of the letter writer remains a mystery to this day.[14][15]

On October 13, 1999, an F-3 tornado hit the city, set off by a squall line moving through the region. The tornado touched down on the north side of town, doing substantial damage to a barber's shop and a masonry building. A furniture store was also damaged with a hole in its roof, where it was reported that items from inside the store were sucked out.[16] Damage to nearby buildings occurred as the tornado moved east across the north-central part of town. The tornado moved into a residential area in the Northwood Park neighborhood, destroying several homes and damaging trees and vehicles.


Circleville is situated on the eastern bank of the Scioto River, and is 25 miles south of Columbus and 22 miles north of Chillicothe.[9]: 33 

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.76 square miles (17.51 km2), of which, 6.64 square miles (17.20 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.31 km2) is water.[17]

Calamus Swamp is a 19-acre public reserve located 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the town.


Climate data for Circleville, Ohio (1991–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 38.6
Daily mean °F (°C) 30.8
Average low °F (°C) 23.0
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.89
Average snowfall inches (cm) 6.7
Source: NOAA[18]


Historical population
Census Pop.

[21] Median home prices in the Circleville area as of 2009 were $120,147.[22]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[23] of 2010, there were 13,314 people, 5,402 households, and 3,447 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,005.1 inhabitants per square mile (774.2/km2). There were 6,024 housing units at an average density of 907.2 per square mile (350.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.4% White, 1.9% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 1.1% of the population.

There were 5,402 households, of which 30.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.2% were married couples living together, 14.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.2% were non-families. 30.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.5% 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 2.90.

The median age in the city was 39.3 years. 23.3% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.8% were from 25 to 44; 25.4% were from 45 to 64; and 17.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.9% male and 52.1% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 13,485 people, 5,378 households, and 3,581 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,037.2 people per square mile (786.5/km2). There were 5,706 housing units at an average density of 862.0 per square mile (332.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.36% White, 2.54% African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 0.27% from other races, and 1.08% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 0.82% of the population.

There were 5,378 households, out of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the city the population was spread out, with 26.7% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 26.7% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,572, and the median income for a family was $41,943. Males had a median income of $32,342 versus $26,115 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,220. About 11.1% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.4% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

Employers and industry[edit]

Manufacturing makes up a significant proportion of area industry and employment; in the 2010 census, 3075 county residents (13.4%) were employed in manufacturing.[24] Circleville is home to the largest DuPont chemical plant in Ohio. Opened in the 1950s, it produces Mylar and Tedlar plastic films, the latter used extensively in the production of photovoltaic modules.[25][26] PACCAR, a Seattle-based truck manufacturing company, has maintained a large factory for over 35 years.

Sofidel Group, one of the world's largest tissue paper manufacturers, invested $400 million in building a 1.4 million square foot plant on the south side of the city. Once it is operating at full capacity, the plant will employ approximately 700 people.[27] The first roll of paper was produced from the plant in June 2018.[28]

The PPG Industries Circleville plant is the company's center for polymer resin production, primarily for automotive applications.[29] Fastenal Company distributes industrial, safety and construction supplies from its facility on US Highway 23 west of Circleville.

Global Transmission Parts, a world-class distributor of vehicle transmission parts, has its corporate headquarters and main warehouse located east of Circleville on State Route 56.

Other major employers include OhioHealth; Circleville City, Teays Valley Local and Logan Elm Local School districts; Circle Plastics/TriMold LLC; the State of Ohio; and Wal-Mart Stores.[24]


Circleville City School District operates one elementary school, one middle school, and Circleville High School.[30]

Ohio Christian University, an institution affiliated with Churches of Christ in Christian Union, has been in operation at Circleville since 1948.[31]

Circleville has a public library, a branch of the Pickaway County Library.[32]

Arts and culture[edit]

Circleville hosts the Circleville Pumpkin Show every October.[33]

Notable people[edit]

The Ted Lewis Museum, the last remaining building from the town's circular plan


  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 20, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ a b c "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ Hurt, R. Douglas (1998). The Ohio Frontier: Crucible of the Old Northwest, 1720–1830. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. p. 17.
  5. ^ Gist, Christopher. Darlington, William (ed.). Christopher Gist's Journals.
  6. ^ History of Franklin and Pickaway counties, Ohio. Williams Bros. 1880. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  7. ^ The Good Hitlers of Circleville
  8. ^ Wie die Hitlers nach Ohio kamen
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i Van Cleaf, Aaron R., ed. (1906). History of Pickaway County, Ohio, and Representative Citizens. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Company. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  10. ^ "History of Circleville". City of Circleville. Retrieved May 11, 2015.
  11. ^ Zachariah, Holly (15 April 2017). "Bombing in '67 rocked, united Circleville". The Columbus Dispatch. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  12. ^ Collins, Steven (23 March 2017). "New book focuses on 1967 Circleville bombing". Circleville Herald. Retrieved 15 April 2017.
  13. ^ Foster, J.; Red Raku Press (2017), When Normal Blew Up: The Story of the People Who Died and the People Who Lived on, Lockhart, Texas.
  14. ^ Hewitt, Les (2016-10-05). "Circleville Letters Mystery Still Unsolved". Historic Mysteries. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  15. ^ "The Mysterious Circleville Letter Writer". Unsolved Mysteries. Retrieved 2020-08-25.
  16. ^ "October 13, 1999 Public Information Statement". Wilmington, Ohio: National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Dept. of Commerce. October 14, 1999. Archived from the original on March 10, 2003. Retrieved March 30, 2017.
  17. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  18. ^ "NOAA NCEI U.S. Climate Normals Quick Access". NOAA. Retrieved 2022-09-03.
  19. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Ohio" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. 1960. Retrieved 24 April 2020.
  20. ^ "Ohio: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  21. ^[dead link]
  22. ^ Schlichter, Brandon (2009). "Circleville". Homes and Real Estate for sale. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved March 30, 2017. ...prices for homes range from about $20,000 to upwards of a million dollars, with $110,000 being the median value for the city of Circleville.
  23. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  24. ^ a b "Demographics and Income plus other local statistics for Pickaway County P3 Ohio". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
  25. ^ "DuPont celebrates Tedlar expansion". Circleville Herald; May 22, 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
  26. ^ "News & Events for Pickaway Progress Business Development Project Central Ohio". 2010-01-18. Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
  27. ^ "Sofidel's largest, most modern and sustainable plant has been inaugurated today in Circleville (US)". Sofidel. 2018-10-03. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  28. ^ "Sofidel makes historic first roll of paper". Circleville Online. 2018-06-19. Retrieved 2019-09-05.
  29. ^ "Circleville, OH". Archived from the original on 2013-09-27. Retrieved 2013-09-22.
  30. ^ "School list". Circleville City School District. Archived from the original on 2010-10-02. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  31. ^ "About OCU". Ohio Christian University. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  32. ^ "Locations". Pickaway County Library. Archived from the original on 3 March 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  33. ^ "Circleville Pumpkin Show". Ohio Traveler. Retrieved 3 March 2018.
  34. ^ "Lutz, Ralph Haswell, 1886-1968 - Social Networks and Archival Context". Social Networks and Archival Context. Retrieved 15 July 2019.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]