Lancaster, Ohio
City of Lancaster
Main Street in Downtown Lancaster
Main Street in Downtown Lancaster
"Glass City", "The Stir", "L Town"
Location of Lancaster, Ohio
Location of Lancaster, Ohio
Location of Lancaster in Fairfield County
Location of Lancaster in Fairfield County
Coordinates: 39°43′N 82°36′W / 39.717°N 82.600°W / 39.717; -82.600Coordinates: 39°43′N 82°36′W / 39.717°N 82.600°W / 39.717; -82.600
CountryUnited States
 • MayorDavid Scheffler (R)
 • Total18.92 sq mi (48.99 km2)
 • Land18.85 sq mi (48.83 km2)
 • Water0.06 sq mi (0.17 km2)
879 ft (268 m)
 • Total40,552
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,148.58/sq mi (829.59/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area codes740 and 220
FIPS code39-41720
GNIS feature ID1048903[4]

Lancaster (locally /ˈlæŋk(ə)stər/ LANK-(ə-)stər) is a city in Fairfield County, Ohio, in the south central part of the state. As of the 2020 census, the city population was 40,552. The city is near the Hocking River, about 33 miles (53 km) southeast of Columbus and 38 miles (61 km) southwest of Zanesville. It is the county seat of Fairfield County.[5]


The earliest known inhabitants of the southeastern and central Ohio region were the Hopewell, Adena, and Fort Ancient Native Americans, of whom little evidence survived, beyond the burial and ceremonial mounds built throughout the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys. Many mounds and burial sites have also yielded archaeological artifacts.[6] Serpent Mound and Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, though not in Fairfield County, are nearby.

Before and immediately after European settlement, the land today comprising Lancaster and Fairfield County was inhabited by the Shawnee, nations of the Iroquois, Wyandot, and other Native American tribes. It served as a natural crossroads for the inter- and intra-tribal wars fought at various times.[7] Frontier explorer Christopher Gist reached Lancaster's vicinity on January 19, 1751, when he visited the small Delaware town of Hockhocking nearby. Leaving the area the next day, Gist rode southwest to Maguck, another Delaware town near Circleville.

Having been ceded to the United States by Great Britain after the American Revolution in the Treaty of Paris, the lands north of the Ohio River and west of the Appalachian Mountains were incorporated into the Northwest Territory in 1787. White settlers began to encroach on Native American lands in the Northwest Territory. As the new United States government began to cast its eye westward, the stage was set for the series of campaigns that culminated in the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794 and the Treaty of Greenville in 1795. With pioneer settlement within Ohio made legal and safe from Indian raids, developers began to speculate in land sales in earnest.

Knowing that such speculation, combined with Congressional grants of land sections to veterans of the Revolution, could result in a lucrative opportunity, in 1796 Ebenezer Zane petitioned Congress to grant him a contract to blaze a trail through Ohio, from Wheeling, West Virginia, to Limestone, Kentucky (near modern Maysville, Kentucky), a distance of 266 miles (428 km). As part of the deal, Zane was awarded square-mile tracts of land at the points where his trace crossed the Hocking, Muskingum, and Scioto rivers. Zane's Trace, as it is now known, was completed by 1797. As Zane's sons began to carve the square-mile tract astride the Hocking into saleable plots, the village of Lancaster was founded in 1800. Lancaster predated the formal establishment of the state of Ohio by three years. Many villages and townships right outside Lancaster, such as Lithopolis, Royalton, and Greencastle, were settled around the same time, which contributed to the village's success.

Initially known as New Lancaster, and later shortened by city ordinance (1805), the town quickly grew; formal incorporation as a city came in 1831. The connection of the Hocking Canal to the Ohio and Erie Canal in this era provided a way for the region's rich agricultural produce to reach eastern markets.[citation needed]

The initial settlers were predominantly German immigrants and their descendents, many from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Ohio's longest continuously operating newspaper, the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, was born of a merger of the early Ohio Adler, founded around 1807, with the Ohio Gazette, founded in the 1830s. The two papers were ferocious competitors since they were on opposite sides of the American Civil War, with the Adler anti-slavery and pro-Union. The city also had numerous migrants from the Upper South who sympathized with the Confederacy. The papers merged in 1937, 72 years after the war's end. This was shortly after the Gazette was acquired by glassmaker Anchor-Hocking. The newspaper is currently part of the Newspaper Network of Central Ohio, a unit of Gannett Company, Inc.


Lancaster is located at 39°43′N 82°36′W / 39.717°N 82.600°W / 39.717; -82.600 (39.7193, -82.6053).[8] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.90 square miles (48.95 km2), of which 18.84 square miles (48.80 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) is water.[9]


Climate data for Lancaster, Ohio (1991–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 37.5
Daily mean °F (°C) 29.5
Average low °F (°C) 21.5
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.86
Source: NOAA[10]


Historical population
Census Pop.

The city's median household income was $44,794 and median family income was $59,930. Males had a median income of $36,169 versus $24,549 for females. The city's per capita income was $25,230. About 12.0% of all families (4.4% of married-couple families), and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.0% of those under age 18 and 10.0% of those over 65. [14]

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 38,780 people, 16,048 households, and 9,937 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,955.9 people per square mile (755.0/km2). There were 17,685 housing units at an average density of 879.6 per square mile (339.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.9% White, 1% African American, 0.5% Asian, 0.30% Native American, 0% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.6% of the population.

There were 16,048 households, of which 27.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.1% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the city the age distribution of the population shows 24% under the age of 18, and 15.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37.5 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.


Top employers

According to the city's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[15] Lancaster's top employers are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Fairfield Medical Center 2,099
2 Fairfield County 947
3 Anchor Hocking 900
4 Lancaster City Schools 745
5 City of Lancaster 430
6 Kroger 412
7 TreeHouse Private Brands 341
8 Crestview Manor Nursing 230
9 Fairfield Homes 185
10 Glasfoss Industries 175

Arts and culture

Lancaster is home to the Fairfield County Fair,[16] a weeklong fair and the last (88th) county fair in Ohio each year, always in the second week of October. It features a variety of attractions, including truck, tractor, and horse pulls, demolition derbies, concerts, bands, and horse races. The Fairfield County Fair also includes lots of food, animals, exhibits, games, and rides for people of all ages.

AHA! A Hands on Adventure

AHA! is a children's museum founded in 2006. Its mission is to provide a hands-on, interactive, playful and educational environment that invites curiosity, allows exploration, encourages participation, and celebrates the childlike wonder in everyone.[17]

Georgian Museum

Originally built in 1832 for the Maccracken Family, this Federal home is constructed predominantly of brick and local limestone. Converted into a museum, it is now furnished as it would have been in the 1830s with some original pieces and numerous early Fairfield County items. Located in one of Lancaster's three National Historic Districts, the structure mixes elements of American, Georgian and Regency architecture.[18]

The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio

The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio is a nonprofit museum whose mission is to foster knowledge and appreciation of the decorative arts; celebrate the architecture and heritage of the Reese-Peters House; and enhance historic Lancaster's vitality and integrity. It provides exhibitions, public programs, art classes and workshops for all ages, and a focus for research and communication about the decorative arts of Ohio.[19]

Ohio Glass Museum

Opened in 2002, the Ohio Glass Museum is in historic downtown Lancaster and dedicated to recording the history of the glass industry, which for over 100 years has been one of the mainstays of Fairfield County's economy.[20]

Sherman House

Main article: John Sherman Birthplace

Lancaster was the birthplace of Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman and his brother, Senator John Sherman. The house where they were born, built in 1811, has been converted into a museum, housing articles related to General Sherman's life and Civil War artifacts. The Sherman family expanded the frame house in 1816 and again, with an additional brick front, in 1870.[21]

Robert K Fox Family YMCA Swim Team

The Robert K Fox Family YMCA Swim Team (LYST, or Lancaster YMCA Swim Team), is a competitive, year-round swim team coached by Axel Birnbrich and a team of experienced assistant coaches. Birnbirch is in his 39th year of coaching and his second year at LYST. The team has swimmers from ages 5–18 and around 130 members per year. They regularly attend the YMCA Short Course and Long Course National meets. They are also a USA Swimming team, attending many USA meets per season.[22]


The city's main shopping district is centered around River Valley Mall, or downtown Lancaster.


Lancaster City School District operates Lancaster High School.[23] Lancaster has a public library, a branch of the Fairfield County District Library.[24] Additionally, Ohio University-Lancaster is a branch campus of Ohio University that operates in the area.


Lancaster has a daily newspaper, the Lancaster Eagle-Gazette.

Lancaster has a monthly magazine, the Lancaster Living Magazine, published by Cher Jaurigue.

Notable people

Lancaster is the birthplace and/or hometown of:


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  3. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  6. ^ Woodward, Susan L., and McDonald, Jerry N., Indian mounds of the middle Ohio Valley : a guide to mounds and earthworks of the Adena, Hopewell, Cole, and Fort Ancient people, University of Nebraska Press, 2002
  7. ^ Garbarino, William M. Indian Wars along the Upper Ohio: a history of the Indian Wars and related events along the Upper Ohio and its tributaries Midway, Pennsylvania : Midway Pub., c2001.
  8. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-07-02. Retrieved 2013-01-06.
  10. ^ "NOAA NCEI U.S. Climate Normals Quick Access". NOAA. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  11. ^ "Number of Inhabitants: Ohio" (PDF). 18th Census of the United States. U.S. Census Bureau. 1960. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  12. ^ "Ohio: Population and Housing Unit Counts" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 17 May 2020.
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  14. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  15. ^ City of Lancaster CAFR
  16. ^ "The 168th Fairfield County Fair -- October 7-13, 2018". Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  17. ^ "AHA! A Hands-On Adventure". Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  18. ^ "The Georgian Museum". Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  19. ^ "The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio". Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  20. ^ "Ohio Glass Museum". Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  21. ^ "Sherman House Museum". Archived from the original on 2002-01-23. Retrieved 2011-03-05.
  22. ^ "Lancaster YMCA Swim Team".
  23. ^ "Homepage". Lancaster City School District. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  24. ^ "Hours & Locations". Fairfield County District Library. 13 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
  25. ^ Inc., Baseball Almanac. "Allan Anderson Baseball Stats by Baseball Almanac". Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Malcolm Forbes :". Archived from the original on 2014-04-13.
  27. ^ Davis, Henry Blaine Jr. (1998). Generals in Khaki. Raleigh, NC: Pentland Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-1-5719-7088-6. D507.D281998.