Welcome to the Findlay-Hancock County region of northwestern Ohio, where the city of Findlay is the county seat of beautiful Hancock County. We are proud of our region of more than 74,000, which boasts a rich history and heritage that span over 200 years. Hancock County is also home to 12 other communities spread throughout the county.
Findlay was named after Colonel James Findlay of Cincinnati, who built Fort Findlay in the War of 1812. After the war, the community was born and the first town lots were laid in 1821. Findlay was a safe stop along the Underground Railroad and later became known as a booming center for natural resources like gas and oil. For its part, Hancock County was created in 1820 and organized in 1828. It was named for American Revolution Patriot and statesman John Hancock, the first person to sign the Declaration of Independence. In 1968 Findlay gained the distinction of being named Flag City USA, the only one in the country.
Over the years, Findlay and Hancock County have become hubs for numerous corporations and innovations. Many companies still keep headquarters, distribution centers and plants here. Findlay is the headquarters of Cooper Tire and Rubber Company, Marathon Petroleum
Company and MPLX LP, Blanchard Valley Health System and Whirlpool Corporation’s dishwasher manufacturing plant is notably the largest dishwasher plant in the world.
For the third year in a row, Findlay has the distinction of being ranked the top micropolitan community in the U.S. for new and expanding facilities by Site Selection magazine, the official publication of the Global FDI Association and the Industrial Asset Management Council. The magazine ranked 575 of the nation’s micropolitan areas, cities of 10,000 to 50,000 people that cover at least one county. Findlay has also been named an Ohio Magazine’s Best Hometown as well a three-time choice in America’s Best Places for Kids.
In 2012 Findlay celebrated its Bicentennial. As a city, Findlay was founded in 1812 and incorporated as a city in 1887.
- Findlay was originally settled by Frenchman Jean Jacques Blanchard in 1769. He lived in Findlay until his death in 1802, a year before Ohio became a state.
- Findlay was named by Wilson Vance and was originally spelled Findley. The modern spelling was changed in 1870. The city derives its name from a fort erected on its site in 1812 that was used as a local outpost in the War of 1812. It was commenced by Col. James Findley and named in honor of that officer.
- In the years prior to the American Civil War, Findlay served as a stop on the Underground Railroad for slaves escaping to Canada.
- John Adams-not the former president of the United States-was the first mayor of Findlay. He was elected in 1838 and was a cabinet and chair maker.
- In the mid 1880s, the community suddenly gained national attention when natural gas and oil were discovered nearby. The most famous of the gas wells was the Great Karg Well which could be seen for several miles. During the gas jubilee of 1887, 30000 flames burned for three days and nights. It was less expensive to leave the fires burning than to turn them on and off.
- Findlay hosted the highly competitive Ohio State Music Festival in 1884. A young cornet player, Warren G. Harding, and his Citizens’ Cornet Band of Marion placed third in the competition. Harding would go on to be elected the 29th President of the United States.
The Hancock County Courthouse was officially dedicated to the citizens of Hancock County on October 27, 1888. Sandstone quarried from the Findlay area was used in the structure to make it as fireproof as possible. On the second floor of Courtroom #1, the mural of Justice is one of only three that portray her without her blindfold and in 1922, John Hancock standing on top of the courthouse was blown off his pedestal by a tornado to the ground.
- The town opened its first public library in 1890.
- The first high school in Findlay was built in 1900.
- Riverside Park opened in 1906. It featured a movie theater, concessions, swimming beach, a miniature train and a Shoot the Chutes ride.
Five Findlay glass factories produced tableware from 1886-1902. Hundreds of skilled glass workers came from the eastern states of America, as well as Europe, especially Belgium, France, and Germany. Bottle glass workers were among the first workers to unionize and to use collective bargaining.
- The deal to buy the Findlay Motor Co., 400 Santee Ave., by the Grant Motor Co. of Detroit, Mich., was closed on November 25, 1913. It was anticipated that within future years 250 men would be needed for the building of the Grant, to sell for $495. Production began on December 1, 1913. By April of 1914, the company was turning out 25-30 cars each day and employed more than 100 workmen. On November 16, 1916, the Grant Motor Co. closed their Findlay offices, moving their operation to the Cleveland area.
- In 1920, Ed Dietsch opened his ice cream and candy store. The store closed from 1934 -1937 when it reopened as Dietsch Brothers Fine Chocolates and Ice Cream. The brothers began producing fine chocolates and ice cream using Ed’s family recipes and is now a three-generational operation.
- Wilson’s Sandwich Shop was opened in 1936 by H. F. Wilson of Lima.
- In March of 2020 Findlay was named Top Micropolitan by Site Selection Magazine for the sixth consecutive year
For more information about business development and the business community in Findlay and Hancock County contact the Findlay • Hancock County Economic Development team and the Findlay • Hancock County Chamber of Commerce.
- The first graduating class of Findlay students was in 1873. There were 8 graduates-2 men and 6 women. In 1912, Findlay High School won the State Basketball Championship in Delaware. They won again in 1948 in Columbus.
- Findlay College opened its doors in 1886 with 95 students. In 1989, the name was changed to the University of Findlay. Enrollment is now over 3,700 students. The Men’s Basketball team became NCAA Division II National Champions for the 2008-2009 season on March 28, 2009 in Springfield, Massachusetts
- For three months in the early 1960s, Findlay had the distinction of being the only community in the world where touch tone telephone service was available. Touch tone service was first introduced on November 1, 1960.
Among Findlay natives and those who called Findlay home are Tell Taylor, who penned and published the song, “Down by the Old Millstream” in 1910, Jo Ann Davidson, Ohio’s first female Speaker of the House, Grant “Home Run” Johnson, an American shortstop in baseball’s Negro Leagues who played for many of the greatest teams of the deadball era, Ray Harroun, race car developer and driver, and first Indianapolis 500 winner, Willard Harrison Bennett, inventor of the radio frequency mass spectrometer, Golfer Peggy Kirk Bell, winner of the 1949 Titleholders Championship, Ben Roethlisberger, the two time Superbowl champion quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Tony Award-winner Gavin Creel.