History & Tourism

Former Richland County Community Celebrates A Family’s Bicentennial

4 May , 2018  

RichHistory Weekend is almost here, an opportunity to visit venues that showcase the extraordinary history of this part of Ohio. It’s the second annual presentation, sponsored by the RichHistory Alliance, a consortium of heritage venues in Richland County.

Our story about the weekend is here, and includes an overall schedule with links to additional information.

Before 1845, a slice of an adjacent county called Richland County home. This included the eastern townships of what is now Crawford County, including the present city of Galion and the village of Crestline. The southern part of that area was settled not longer after Mansfield, with the first “pioneers” from the east arriving in Galion in 1817. There, they met a Wyandots which occupied ground along what is now called the Olentangy River.

The very next year, 1818, as the arrival of additional families including that of David and Catherine Gill. David Gill served as the settlement’s first schoolteacher, and the Gill family would have a profound and multi-generational impact on the community. Two later generations built significant houses along the city’s Main Street, one about 1855 and the other in 1902-1904, that survive to this day.

The latter house, known locally as the Gill House, was purchased some years ago by a non-profit organization that promotes the built past of the community and which has set out to restore it to its original grandeur. People associated with the Gill family – and visitors to the house – include inventor Thomas Alva Edison, automobile pioneer Henry Ford, the Postmaster General that developed the zip code, and the Oscar-winning playwright of The Philadelphia Story and An Affair to Remember. The house was designed by a noted architect and stands as the sole surviving commission in its style.

The Gill House, located at 342 Harding Way West in Galion, begins tours this Saturday, May 5, from 1 to 3 PM, and tours will continue on successive Saturdays during the summer months. Admission is just $5 per person.

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