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How cities in Ohio earned their names

Learn how cities in Ohio were named, whether that’s from early settlers to the area or homage paid to bigger cities across the world.

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Dublin, Ohio was named after the famous Ireland city, and has one of the largest Irish festivals in the world. | Photo via Visit Dublin Ohio

Table of Contents

Have you ever noticed that many cities in Ohio share the names of larger cities elsewhere in the world? It’s no coincidence — there’s a reason these cities earned their names, and we decided to dig deeper and find out why.

London

With many of the original residents being from Great Britain, it’s suggested that this is how the Madison County city earned its name.

Dublin

John Shields, who surveyed this land in 1810, named the city after his hometown of Dublin, Ireland. The city commemorates its name with the Dublin Irish Festival every year.

Athens

As the home of Ohio University, this southern city was named after Athens, Greece, which is known to be the ancient center of learning.

Versailles

The village was named after the major French city in 1837, but don’t let the pronunciation fool you. Here in Ohio, it’s pronounced “Ver-Sales.”

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The village Versailles, Ohio is home to about 2,700 people. | Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Manchester

This small Adams County village was named after the surveyor of the land Nathaniel Massie, whose ancestral home was Manchester, England.

Oxford

Home to Miami University, this city was named after the university town of Oxford, England.

Lima

This Ohio city was named after the capital of Peru to honor the malaria vaccine which was established there. It’s pronunciation, however, is “Ly-mah.”

Bonus: Pataskala

This Columbus suburb didn’t earn its name from elsewhere in the world, but it still has a pretty cool story. Pataskala was named by Native Americans who called the river in the area Pataskala, translating to clear water. Additionally, Licking County was named by white settlers because of its abundance of salt licks.

We also asked our readers what Ohio city names stuck out to them. Here’s what they said:

“I grew up in Akron, from the Greek word “akros”, meaning the top (like the acropolis). And, it’s in Summit County, continuing the theme. The irony is that the elevation of Akron is not very high, and not even close to being the highest point in Ohio.” — Reader Larry D.

“I’m originally from North Canton which was first settled in 1805 by German settlers and named New Berlin. In 1918, in response to anti-German sentiment caused by World War I, the village changed its name to North Canton.” — Reader Dena L.

“Marietta, founded in 1788, is named for Marie Antoinette, then Queen of France, in honor of French aid in the American Revolution.” — Reader Pam R.

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