Sometimes the names bestowed upon municipalities reflect gratitude or warm memories. Such is the case with the Ohio cities of Fostoria and Dublin.
The city of Fostoria, about 40 miles south of Toledo and 90 miles north of Columbus, was created in 1854, though the groundwork was laid two decades earlier.
In August 1832 David Risdon, on behalf of Roswell Crocker, platted a half of a quarter of a section across the swamp from his namesake town. The two towns, Rome and Risdon, grew simultaneously. Their geographical connection was achieved when the swamp separating them was filled in and developed.
The two small communities had challenges maintaining their respective Methodist churches until a wealthy local merchant, Charles W. Foster, donated a plot of land between the two villages for construction of a Methodist church to accommodate all the faithful in one location. Foster donated his land in 1852, the church was built in 1854 and the townsfolk decided that merging their two settlements would serve their collective interests.
Neither Rome nor Risdon, however, relented to adopt the other community’s name. The citizens of both villages decided to name the new municipality after the benefactor and dubbed the town Fostoria. Foster’s son, Charles Foster II, later became the governor of Ohio.
Two industries launched the commercial success of Fostoria early on — railroads and glassmaking. Even today, the town is known for its railways on which more than 100 trains pass a day. The city is visited every year by thousands of railfans from around the world, and in 2013 Fostoria opened a railroad park, complete with a viewing platform, to accommodate devotees of the iron horses.
The glass industry was driven by the abundance of natural gas, particularly in the 1880s with the northwest Ohio gas boom. By the end of that century, more than a dozen glass factories flourished in Fostoria. When the gas supply, once thought to be inexhaustible, depleted, Fostoria’s glassmaking industry suffered extinction.
Today, the city of 13,194 residents subsists on other industrial production, including, most notably, the Autolite company, whose presence since 1936 has earned Fostoria the title of “Spark Plug Capital of the World.”
For more information, visit www.fostoriaohio.gov.
The countryside that would become Dublin was first inhabited by Native Americans of the Hopewell, Delaware, Shawnee and Wyandot nations.
The Wyandots figured most significantly in the settlement of Dublin’s location along the Scioto River just north of Columbus. The tribe migrated to Ohio after being ravaged by disease and suffering a calamitous defeat in a war with the Five Nations of the Iroquois. They were again defeated by General Anthony Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, and they surrendered most of their Ohio land in the Treaty of Greenville, signed the following year.
After the Revolutionary War, the U.S. government compensated Lt. James Holt for his service with 2,000 acres of land along the Scioto River. In 1802 Peter and Benjamin Sells, settlers from Pennsylvania, scouted Holt’s holdings and purchased the 400 riverside acres at the highest elevation for their brother, John.
John Sells and his family arrived in 1808 with their partner, a surveyor named John Shields, who they allowed to name the platted settlement.
Shields wrote, “If I have the honor conferred upon me to name your village, with the brightness of the morn, and the beaming of the sun on the hills and dales surrounding this beautiful valley, it would give me great pleasure to name your new town after my birthplace, Dublin, Ireland.”
The town, incorporated in 1881, remained small for nearly a century, sporting a population in 1970 of only 681 residents. That changed with the construction of Interstate 270, which sparked a population boom aided by the arrival of corporate entities such as Ashland Inc. and Wendy’s International.
Dublin was officially declared a city in August 1987 after reaching a population of 5,000. It has since grown to 50,366 residents.
Dublin hosts to several major companies, including Cardinal Health, Stanley Steemer, Nationwide Insurance and CenturyLink, and serves as a bedroom community for nearby Columbus, helping to render the city an upscale community that has received awards for its livability.
Dublin still honors it Irish heritage, hosting the annual three-day Dublin Irish Festival. One of the largest in the country, it attracts more than 110,000 attendees a year. The city is also noted for its prodigious roster of native sons and daughters who have their marks as athletes in professional football, baseball, basketball, hockey, golf, soccer and rugby.
For more information, visit www.dublinohiousa.gov.