An Overview of Zanesville

The Fourth Y Bridge around the middle 20th century. This bridge is allegedly the only bridge in which you can cross and still be on the same side of the river.

The Fourth Y Bridge around the middle 20th century. This bridge is allegedly the only bridge in which you can cross and still be on the same side of the river.

Zanesville is a small city in Muskingum County, Southeastern Ohio that is approximately around 11.77 square miles and is home to an estimated 25,411 people. Zanesville is also home to some famous regional and nationwide attractions, people, and goods such as the Y-City Bridge, famous western author Zane Grey, Bloomers Chocolates, and Roseville Pottery. Zanesville is a town large enough to have its own shopping mall and name brand stores and restaurants, but small enough to where air and noise pollution is not a prevalent problem like in larger cities. Zanesville is also a town steeped in interesting history, which you can learn more about from the articles on this site, but here is a general overview of the history of Zanesville. Enjoy exploring the Y-City.

Zanesville is named is named after Ebenezer Zane, made the Zane Trace, a trail from Wheeling, West Virginia to Mayville, Kentucky in 1796. The payment from Congress for his work was a square mile of land (640 acres) surrounding where he crossed a major river, of which he received land along the Scioto, Hocking, and Muskingum Rivers. Zane sold most of this land to land developers and they turned these lands into Chillicothe, Lancaster, and Zanesville, Ohio.

John McIntire from a portrait by James Pierce Barton painted for the McIntire Children’s Home. Pioneer & Historical Society collection.

John McIntire from a portrait by James Pierce Barton painted for the McIntire Children’s Home. Pioneer & Historical Society collection.

Ebenezer sold the land around Muskingum to his son-in-law and his brother, John McIntire and Johnathan Zane for a hundred dollar discount for their work on the trail, McIntire later bought Johnathan’s share of the land. In 1798 McIntire built a home for himself and his wife, Sarah, which doubled as an inn. McIntire worked in his inn to convince travelers to settle in Zanesville and, in 1801, enough people settled in Zanesville that the Postmaster in Washington, Ohio wanted a post office to be placed in Zanesville. At the time, McIntire had dubbed the town Westbourne, however the Postmaster saw that the town intersected the Zane Trace and that Ebenezer Zane had originally owned the land, so it official became Zanesville, Ohio and the name has stuck ever since.

John McIntire tried to expand in Zanesville in many ways including lobbying the Ohio government to move the state capitol from Chillicothe to Zanesville form 1810-1812.  Over the years, Zanesville continued to grow from its one square mile to incorporate various settlements including the New English settlement of Putnam.

This is example of the pottery that Roseville Pottery created while in production. This one pot is available for $425 on justartpottery.com

This is example of the pottery that Roseville Pottery created while in production. This one pot is available for $425 on justartpottery.com

By the mid-1800’s, Zanesville was in the swing of the industrial revolution creating glass, iron, and most importantly, pottery and tiles. During this time, famous clay tile and pottery companies were founded. S.A. Weller and Roseville Pottery created beautifully decorative and practical pottery that was in households throughout the United State and are now highly prized collective pieces. The Mosaic Tile Factory and tile factories produced tiles that were used in buildings throughout the country. These factories not only brought prestige to Zanesville, but also a population boom that would send the city from only having 10,000 in citizens 1870 to over 23,000 by 1900. The Clay Industry was so great in Zanesville that it nicknamed “The Clay Capital of the World.”

During the Great Depression many of the businesses that made Zanesville a successful place to live went broke or slowed down production. While unemployment rose in Zanesville, public works money was paid to Muskingum County citizens who worked on various public works projects such as the building of Seneca Lake in Guernsey County and Secrest Auditorium in Zanesville both which are still used today.

This the Secrets Auditorium in 1941, at the end of the Great Depression era. Cite: route40.net

This the Secrets Auditorium in 1941, at the end of the Great Depression era. Cite: route40.net

When Zanesville men and women returned from World War II, Zanesville became a faster-pace town. The average American family now owned a car, and people instead of living closer to Main Street moved to live outside of the hustle of the city. Ohio University of Zanesville also moved into its current campus in 1954. The biggest change to Zanesville however would be the building of interstate 70th, opened in 1961, above Underwood St that easily linked Zanesville with cities around the country and allowed residences to easily get to other markets and services outside of Zanesville faster and shorter than ever.

Zanesville is full of history that cannot be touched in this short introduction. It has been the Clay Capital of the World, the Ohio State Capital, and home to the Y-City Bridge to list a few of its titles. If you are interested in learning more about Zanesville check out some of the articles below and feel free to comment or ask questions email me at Dbarr@muskingum.edu.

Recommended Articles:

Ghost of the Past: Exploring Zanesville’s Historic Cemeteries

Putnam and Zanesville: The Story of Two Cities

The Servant and the Doctor: Two Stories from Muskingum County History

Zanesville Growing Up: A Glance at the 1850 Ohio Census

Further Reading:

A Pictorial History of Zanesville and Muskingum County

Census.gov: Zanesville, Ohio

City of Zanesville

History of Muskingum County 1882

My home: Zanesville and Muskingum County: A Short History for Schools 

Y Bridge City: the Story of Zanesville and Muskingum County, Ohio

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