From Ohio History Central
New Philadelphia is the county seat of Tuscarawas County, Ohio. John Knisely established the community in 1804. Residents named the town after Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Once formed in 1804, New Philadelphia grew quickly, having over one thousand residents in 1846. One of the principal reasons for this quick growth was New Philadelphia's location on the Ohio and Erie Canal, making the community an important trading center. That same year, the community contained three churches, five stores, two newspaper offices, one oil well, one gristmill, and one woolen mill.
Over the next several decades, New Philadelphia's status as a trading and manufacturing center continued to expand, especially following the completion of two railroads through the community. In 1890, 4,476 people resided in the town. In 1888, four newspaper offices, eight churches, two banks, and several manufacturing businesses, many of which were affiliated with the iron and steel industries, existed in the town. That year, New Philadelphia's largest employer was the New Philadelphia Iron and Steel Company, with 250 employees. During the twentieth century, the community faced difficult financial times as the local steel and iron industries weakened. In 2000, many of New Philadelphia's 17,056 residents worked in retail sales, although several also found employment in service industries, and a few people still worked in mining. Several residents commuted to Canton, in nearby Stark County, to find employment.