About Perrysburg, Ohio

In August 1794, General “Mad Anthony” Wayne defeated the Indians in the Battle of Fallen Timbers across the river at about the present location of US Route 24 and I-475, and then marched his army to opposite of where Perrysburg now stands to defy a British garrison.

In May and August of 1813, a scant mile west of uptown, General William Henry Harrison held off the British and their Indian allies in the two sieges of Fort Meigs that helped end the War of 1812 in the west.

In 1816 the U.S. government sent surveyors here to lay out a town—the only one other than Washington, D.C. so created in the United States. It was named in honor of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, whose victory over the English in 1813, not far away at Put-in-Bay on Lake Erie, helped open the way to peaceful development of the Northwest Territory.

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Downtown Perrysburg (date unknown)

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Downtown Perrysburg (c. 2007)

With the opening of the Northwest Territory, many settlers passed through the area, crossing the river at the first opportunity upstream from Lake Erie, the ford at the Foot of the Rapids, and continuing their journeys north or west into the newly acquired lands of the expanding United States.

During the so-called Toledo War over the Ohio-Michigan boundary dispute in 1835, the Governor of Ohio marched state militia from Columbus to Perrysburg, set up headquarters and drilled in our streets.

Sitting on the northern rim of the Great Black Swamp, early transportation was largely restricted to the river, and the town became a distribution center for goods consigned to the interior in exchange for furs and dried meat. In time Perrysburg became a major lake port and shipbuilding center—second only to Cleveland and Buffalo in goods shipped. As the swamp was drained, huge forests of virgin timber became available and untold millions of board feet of logs and sawed lumber were floated or shipped down river, across the lake and on to domestic and foreign markets. A hydraulic canal, taking water from the river several miles upstream, cascaded water to the riverfront powering grist and saw mills, a tannery, furniture factories, a paper mill and a machine shop.

With the coming of canals connecting the east coast with the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, and the need for deep water ports, Perrysburg’s commercial importance waned and it gradually changed to an agricultural market center for the surrounding rich farm lands, and a suburb of Toledo. But the people who came here over the years, many from New England, brought their architectural preferences with them.

Perrysburg possesses over 175 years of important regional and vernacular architecture, which stands as testimony to different strands of tradition as well as to an impressive diversity and creativity of builders who have brought their own unique expressions to individual structures.

Special thanks to Historic Perrysburg, Inc. for use of the article and historic photo located above. Visit Historic Perrysburg at www.historicperrysburg.org.