Cutlery Capital of the World
"Where People Come First"
|• Mayor||Danny Sanchez (R)|
|• Total||8.74 sq mi (22.65 km2)|
|• Land||8.53 sq mi (22.08 km2)|
|• Water||0.22 sq mi (0.57 km2)|
|Elevation||627 ft (191 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||1,867.10/sq mi (720.90/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|Area code(s)||419, 567|
|GNIS feature ID||1040674|
Fremont (formerly Lower Sandusky) is a city in and the county seat of Sandusky County, Ohio, United States, located along the banks of the Sandusky River. It is about 35 miles from Toledo and 25 miles from Sandusky. It is part of the Toledo metropolitan area. The population was 16,734 at the 2010 census.
The city was the home of Rutherford B. Hayes, who served as President of the United States from 1877 to 1881. The Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center was the first presidential library and is one of the focal points of the city. The National Arbor Day Foundation designated Fremont as a Tree City USA.
Fremont is located on the former site of Junquindundeh, an historic Wyandot village on the west bank of the lower Sandusky River, near the falls and about 15 miles (24 km) upstream from its mouth at Sandusky Bay. French merchants established a trading post there in the 1750s, but British forces took over the trading post and rest of the area after their victory in the French and Indian War.
In 1787, the newly independent United States created the Northwest Territory to include all land west of the Ohio River. In 1803 the southeastern portion of the Northwest Territory was admitted to the Union as the new state of Ohio. Under the terms of Ohio's statehood, the area of Lower Sandusky was defined as Indian Territory. American settlers who entered the area were in violation of the 1795 Treaty of Greenville, which was meant to preserve at least some land for the Native Americans. During the War of 1812 the United States Army considered removing by force the white settlers who were violating the Treaty of Greenville, but they did not carry out the threat.
Tensions with Great Britain increased in the early 1800s, and the United States government declared a boycott on all trade with the British, including those in Canada. The U.S. Army built Fort Sandusky near the river to protect an important supply depot. The post's name was changed to Fort Stephenson during the War of 1812. In August 1813, British forces attacked and the Battle of Fort Stephenson took place. Major George Croghan and his U.S. Army garrison successfully fought off the invaders.
With the return of peace, a settlement grew up around the fort and became known as Lower Sandusky, since it was located on the lower part of the Sandusky River. In 1821 Lower Sandusky was designated as the county seat of Sandusky County. The town gradually increased in size, with the primary occupations being shipbuilding, fishing, and agricultural processing. Sandusky Bay leads to Lake Erie, and there was good fishing for walleye in the river, which return annually to spawn upriver. By the 1830s, the population included more white settlers, despite the area being a declared reserve only for Native Americans. Numerous Wyandot people still lived in the area, and some runaway African American slaves had made it their home after reaching safety in the free state of Ohio. The city had grain and sawmills, and the first sugar mill in Ohio.
In 1849 the residents changed the name of Lower Sandusky to Fremont, to honor John C. Frémont, who helped acquire California during the Mexican–American War.
In 1873, a few years before gaining national office, future president Rutherford B. Hayes moved into a family mansion in Fremont called Spiegel Grove, which was built by his late maternal uncle. That year Hayes announced his uncle Sardis Birchard's bequest in his will, donating property in his estate worth $50,000 to the City Council in order to establish a public library. It opened the following year on Front Street. A few years later, a new building was constructed for it in 1878 on the grounds of the Fort Stephenson State Park, per his bequest. It is now known as the Birchard Public Library of Sandusky County. Spiegel Grove was incorporated into the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center, founded in 1916 as the first presidential library in the United States.
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Fremont became a major center for the production of cutlery, with several manufacturing plants, as well as other industries. The cutlery industry has declined, but the city still has a large Heinz plant for producing ketchup.
The city set aside Fort Stephenson Park to preserve and commemorate the site of the fort that had a role in the War of 1812. Only its stone foundations are still visible. In 1885 the Sandusky County Soldiers Monument was installed in the park near Croghan Street, which was named after the commanding major of the fort. (He was promoted to colonel afterward for his success.) Former president Rutherford B. Hayes attended the ceremony.
In 1906 Colonel Croghan's remains were brought from his hometown in Kentucky to Fremont and reinterred under the Soldiers Monument. In the same ceremony, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) unveiled a plaque to the Soldiers Monument to commemorate Croghan and his garrison in their victory in the Battle of Fort Stephenson.
What is now the main building of the Birchard Public Library, which serves the entire county, was constructed in 1878 in Fort Stephenson Park, by the terms of the bequest from Sardis Birchard, who bequeathed $50,000 in assets to endow a public library in 1873. The first facility opened in 1874 in a building on Front Street.
Fremont is located on both sides of the Sandusky River.
The city has a total area of 8.57 square miles (22.20 km2), of which 8.35 square miles (21.63 km2) is land and 0.22 square miles (0.57 km2) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 16,734 people, 6,745 households, and 4,162 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,004.1 inhabitants per square mile (773.8/km2). There were 7,541 housing units at an average density of 903.1 per square mile (348.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.7% White, 8.3% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 5.3% from other races, and 5.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 16.1% of the population.
There were 6,745 households, of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.1% were married couples living together, 18.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.3% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.04.
The median age in the city was 35.3 years. 27.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.7% were from 25 to 44; 24.7% were from 45 to 64; and 13.9% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 17,375 people, 6,856 households, and 4,374 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,313 people per square mile (893.3/km2). There were 7,368 housing units at an average density of 980.9 per square mile (378.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 82.24% White, 8.29% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 5.85% from other races, and 3.19% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 12.32% of the population.
There were 6,856 households, out of which 33.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.2% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city the population was spread out, with 27.6% under the age of 18, 10.0% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $34,051, and the median income for a family was $39,439. Males had a median income of $32,453 versus $22,048 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,014. About 9.8% of families and 12.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.8% of those under age 18 and 9.9% of those age 65 or over.
The world's largest ketchup plant, operated by Heinz is located in Fremont, producing 80% of the ketchup sold in the United States. At one time the city was home to several cutlery companies: the Christy Company, Clauss Cutlery Company, Quikut, B.A.P. Manufacturing, the Ginsu Cutlery Line, and Herbrand tools. It was also home to a Pioneer Sugar processing plant which closed in 1997, but as of 2020, remains a Michigan Sugar warehouse, despite plans in 2009 to open an ethanol refinery plant on the site.
Downtown Fremont is located next to the Sandusky River on Front Street. Front Street has a pedestrian scale and is home to many small businesses in historic buildings: they include boutiques, gift shops, restaurants, and other attractions. Downtown Fremont has been the center of the city for many years.
Mayor Daniel R. Sanchez Republican President of Council Jamie Hafford Independent Auditor Paul D. Grahl Democrat Law Director James F. Melle Democrat Treasurer Holly R. Elder Democrat Council At Large Kristine Weiss Republican Council At Large John S. Elder Democrat Council At Large Denis Otte Republican 1st Ward Council Justin C. Smith Republican 2nd Ward Council James S. Sleek Democrat 3rd Ward Council Angie Ruiz Democrat 4th Ward Council Christopher E. Liebold Democrat Municipal Judge Daniel L. Brudzinski Republican
Public education is provided by the Fremont City School District, which enrolls 3,519 students in public primary and secondary schools. The district administers four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school, Fremont Ross. The city is also home to Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Centers, offering career-specific college level classes, Bishop Hoffman Catholic Schools, affiliated with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo, which serves students in grades preschool through 12 and includes Saint Joseph Central Catholic High School for grades nine through 12. Another private school for grades preschool through grade 12, Temple Christian Academy, is operated by Fremont Baptist Temple.
Terra State Community College, a two-year community college founded in 1968, is located on a 143-acre (58 ha) campus in the western part of the city. It has an enrollment of approximately 2,400 students, mainly from Sandusky, Seneca, and Ottawa counties.
Fremont has a public library, a branch of the Birchard Public Library of Sandusky County.
Fremont's daily newspaper is The News-Messenger. WFRO-FM (99.1 FM) "Eagle 99" broadcasts from Fremont.
Two long-distance US routes run through Fremont, U.S. Route 6 and U.S. Route 20. State Routes 12, 19, 53 and 412 also pass through or terminate in the Fremont area. SR 53 roughly parallels the path of the Sandusky River, designated as a state scenic river, to its mouth at Sandusky Bay.
None of these routes passes through Fremont but were constructed outside. They are multiplexed on a bypass of the city, most of which is 4 lanes. The bypass has both grade-level crossings and controlled-access interchanges. Prior to completion of the bypass in the late 1950s, all of these routes passed through Fremont. Their former alignments are currently signed as "City Route (number)", with the number being that of the predecessor highway.
The Ohio Turnpike, another long-distance east–west route, passes approximately 4 miles north of the city. The Turnpike is signed as Interstates 80 and 90. Exit 91 (originally Exit 6) links the Turnpike to Fremont via State Route 53.
Industry is served by the Norfolk Southern railroad. In the city, it uses parts of two defunct railroads as spurs to factories.