Bellefontaine, Ohio

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Bellefontaine, Ohio
Missing image

City seal
City nickname: "The Peak of Ohio"
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Location in the state of Ohio

Founded 1820
CountyLogan County
MayorRobert C. Lentz
 - Total
 - Water

22.7 km² (8.8 mi²)
0.0 km² (0.0 mi²) 0.00%
 - City (2000)
 - Density

576.0/km² (1,491.3/mi²)
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5
40°21'39" N
83°45'29" W (

Bellefontaine is a city located in Logan County, Ohio. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 13,069. It is the county seat of Logan CountyTemplate:GR, and the center of the Bellefontaine Micropolitan Statistical Area (as defined by the United States Census Bureau in 2003). The highest point in Ohio (Campbell Hill) is within the city limits of Bellefontaine.



The name of the city of Bellefontaine is locally pronounced "Bell Fountin", with the emphasis on the "Foun". The name means "beautiful fountain" in French, and is purported to refer to several springs in the area.[1] (

Blue Jacket's Town

Around 1777, the Shawnee war leader Blue Jacket (Weyapiersenwah) built a settlement here, known as Blue Jacket's Town. Blue Jacket and his band had previously occupied a village along the Scioto River, but with the coming of the American Revolutionary War to the Ohio Country, Blue Jacket and other American Indians who took up arms against the American revolutionaries relocated in order to be closer to their British allies at Detroit. Blue Jacket's Town was destroyed in a raid by Kentucky milita in 1786 at the outset of the Northwest Indian War. The expedition was led by Benjamin Logan, namesake of Logan County. Blue Jacket and his followers relocated further northwest to the Maumee River.

Beginning in the 1800's, Revolutionary War veterans and others from Virginia and elsewhere began settling in the area of Blue Jacket's Town. Bellefontaine is on or near the edge of the Virginia Military District, and the Treaty of Greenville delineating lands to be held by Americans from those to be held by natives was poorly administered in the area.

The railroads

In 1820, the town of Bellefontaine was officially laid out. In 1837, the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad built the first railroad in Bellefontaine. This began Bellefontaine's reputation as a railroading town. This reputation was cemented in the 1890's, when the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis Railroad (also called the Big Four Railroad) built a main terminal here. This terminal also boasted the largest roundhouse between New York and Saint Louis.[2] (

Though railroading hit hard times in the late 20th century, and the Big Four terminal ceased operations in 1983, Bellefontaine remains a landmark on America's railways. The city is at the junction of CSX lines going to Cleveland, Indianapolis, and Dayton.

Automotive transportation

In 1891, Bellefontaine became the location of the first concrete street in America. George Bartholomew invented a process for paving using Portland cement, which until then had been used in stone construction. A small section of Main Street, on the west side of the Logan County Courthouse, was the first to be paved using that process. When that proved successful, Court Street, which runs along the south side of the courthouse, was then paved. While Main Street is now paved with asphalt, Court Street has retained its original concrete pavement for over 100 years.

In 1979, Honda began manufacturing motorcycles in nearby Marysville, Ohio. Since that time, Honda's operations in the Bellefontaine area have greatly expanded, and Bellefontaine is now centrally located to Honda operations in Marysville, East Liberty, Russells Point, Anna, and Troy, Ohio. It follows, then, that Honda is presently Bellefontaine's largest employer.

Campbell Hill and US military operations

To European settlers, Campbell Hill was first known as Hogue's Hill, perhaps a misspelling of the name of the person who first deeded the land in 1830, Solomon Rogue. In 1898, the land was sold to Charles D. Campbell, in whose name Campbell Hill is now known. Campbell sold the hill and surrounding land to August Wagner, who was the original brewer of Augustiner and Gambrinus beers. (These brands are now the trademarks of the Gambrinus Company of San Antonio, Texas, though the company has stopped production of these beers.)

In 1950, the family of August Wagner deeded Campbell Hill and the surrounding 57.5 acres to the Federal government of the United States. The government then stationed the 664th Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron on the hill in 1951. This military unit was responsible for monitoring for possible aerospace attacks from the Soviet Union during the Cold War. The 664th AC&WS and similar military units were eventually superseded by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (or NORAD), and the base in Bellefontaine was closed in 1969.

The Ohio Hi-Point Vocational-Technical District opened a school atop the hill in 1974. The school is now known as the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center.

Law and government

Bellefontaine has an elected mayor and city council style of government.


Bellefontaine's mayor is Robert C. Lentz.

City Council

The Bellefontaine City Council consists of one president, four ward council members, and three council members at-large:

  • William Patterson, Council President
  • David Haw, First Ward
  • Linda Erwin-Hutchins, Second Ward
  • Edwin Dougherty, Third Ward
  • Kerri Sullivan, Fourth Ward
  • David Henry, Council at large
  • Donald Horn, Council at large
  • Rick Gildow, Council at large


Bellefontaine is located at 40°21'39" North, 83°45'29" West (40.360878, -83.758126)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.7 km² (8.8 mi²). 22.7 km² (8.8 mi²) of it is land and none of the area is covered with water.


The median income for a household in the city is $36,029, and the median income for a family is $42,126. Males have a median income of $34,637 versus $22,849 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,781. 14.6% of the population and 12.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 20.7% of those under the age of 18 and 7.0% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Missing image
The Logan County (Ohio) courthouse in Bellefontaine

As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 13,069 people, 5,319 households, and 3,436 families residing in the city. The population density is 576.0/km² (1,491.3/mi²). There are 5,722 housing units at an average density of 252.2/km² (652.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 90.82% White, 5.13% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.93% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 2.40% from two or more races. 1.12% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 5,319 households out of which 34.1% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% are married couples living together, 14.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% are non-families. 30.5% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.43 and the average family size is 3.01.

In the city the population is spread out with 28.1% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.9% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 33 years. For every 100 females there are 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 86.4 males.

Sites of interest

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Sign declaring McKinley Street to be the "World's Shortest Street".
  • McKinley Street: Whether or not this is the shortest street in the world is the point of some contention. The sign at the street's south end (at the intersection of Columbus Ave.) makes this claim. However, Elgin Street in the municipal borough of Bacup, Lancashire, England also is claimed to be the world's shortest, at 17 feet (5.2 m)[3] ( The City of Bellefontaine ('s website is of little help in resolving this dispute; it places the length of McKinley Street at "about 20 feet". Curiously, the city's website does not repeat the claim of the world's shortest street. Instead, the city claims McKinley Street is "the shortest street in America".



The Bellefontaine City Schools operate four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school in the area. These schools have a combined enrollment of 2,840. In addition, the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, located atop Campbell Hill, offers both secondary and post-secondary education. Enrolled at Ohio Hi-Point are 505 students.

Several colleges and universities operate satellite campuses in the Bellefontaine area. These include:


Famous past and present residents

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Historical marker in downtown Bellefontaine marking the site of Blue Jacket's Town

External links





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