Franklin County

From Ohio History Central
Franklin County map.jpg

On March 30, 1803, the State of Ohio authorized the creation of Franklin County. The county originally was part of Ross County. The county was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin. In 1812, Columbus became Ohio's state capital. Surveyors laid out the city in 1812, and the Ohio General Assembly met for the first time in the new capital in 1816. The first capital of Ohio was in Chillicothe and it later was moved to Zanesville and back to Chillicothe. Columbus was chosen as the site for the new capital because of its central location. The legislature selected it as Ohio's capital over a number of other competitors, including Franklinton, Dublin, Worthington, and Delaware.

Prior to the state legislature's decision in 1812, Columbus did not exist. The city was designed and platted to be the state's capital. The first state penitentiary was completed in 1813. The first church, school, and newspaper as well as the new statehouse were opened in 1814. The new capital had a population of seven hundred people by 1815. Columbus officially became the county seat in 1824. In 1834 the population of Columbus was five thousand people and the capital officially became a city.

Columbus is currently the largest city in population in Ohio. Columbus's population was 711,470 people in 2000, while Franklin County had 1,068,978 residents. The county's population had increased by more than eleven percent between 1990 and 2000. Franklin County's 540 square miles averaged 1,980 people per square mile in 2000. Despite this dense population, Franklin County still had six hundred farms, averaging 170 acres apiece, in 2000.

The largest employers in Franklin County are service industries with sales establishments finishing a relatively close second. Government and manufacturing positions finish third and fourth respectively. Franklin County has changed through the twentieth century as the economy of the United States has changed as well. Nationwide Insurance, The Limited, Cardinal Health and other major businesses now employ the county's residents. Columbus is the birthplace of Wendy's International, Inc. and the longtime home of White Castle System, Inc.

A number of major educational institutions are located in Franklin County. They include Capital University, Columbus State Community College, Franklin University and Ohio Dominican University. The largest of these institutions is The Ohio State University. Major research service organizations such the Battelle Memorial Institute, OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc., and Chemical Abstracts Service are also based in Franklin County.

Franklin County also has a strong cultural life with a large number of music, drama, dance and other arts organizations. The Columbus Museum of Art, the Ohio Historical Center, and the Center for Ohio Science and Industry are three of the county's important museums. Franklin County was the home of the 2002 NCAA football national champion Ohio State Buckeyes. The Columbus Blue Jackets, a member of the National Hockey League, and the Columbus Crew, a professional soccer team, are also located in the capital city.

Most voters in Franklin County claim to be independents. Among Franklin County's more prominent residents were a number of national, state and local political figures who either came from Columbus or stayed here to live after their terms in office. American artists George Bellows and Alice Schille were Columbus natives as was Eddie Rickenbacker, America's World War I Ace of Aces. The home of Columbus humorist James Thurber has been restored as a museum and literary center.

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