History & Tourism

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About: State Route 97

27 Oct , 2021  

By: 1812Blockhouse

We continue our series “Everything You Always Wanted To Know About,” where we dive into weeds to bring you details on Richland County ‘s geographical, cultural, and scenic landmarks. Other “Everything You Always Wanted To Know” posts in this series are available here.

It is not the longest, or the most-traveled, highway in the state or even the region.

Along its length, however, which runs almost 35 miles along farm fields, along rivers, and through small towns, State Route 97 adds a lot to the character of this place we call home. It even boasts the birthplace of a United States President!

Here, then, is the latest post in our series looking in some depth at area places and institutions – this time, for SR97.

Exact length: 34.57 miles

Western terminus: Intersection of East Street and Harding Way East on the east side of Galion – intersects with SRs 309, 61, and 19.

Eastern terminus: Intersection with SR 3 in rural Hanover Township, Ashland County

Runs alongside: For some distance, the Clear Fork of the Mohican River; the Richalnd B & O Trail, and the headwaters of the Olentangy River

Launched: In 1923, with the original section between Lexington and Bellville. Extended eastward to SR3 in 1926/7, and westward to Galion in 1939.

Improved: Received first pavement in 1938, and was fully paved by the mid 1950s. The stretch between Bellville and Butler was re-routed in 1952-3, eliminating four dangerous curves.

Route: Through Crawford, Morrow, Richland, and Ashland Counties, and the cities/villages of Galion, Blooming Grove, Lexington, Bellville, and Butler

Historic and Natural Sites on State Route 97: Birthplace of President Warren G. Harding; Vidonish Stained Glass Studios; Ohio Genealogical Society and its Samuel Isaly Library; Bellville Bandstand (National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)); Bellville Cemetery Chapel (NRHP); All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church (NRHP); Bellville Village Hall/Opera House (NRHP); Praire Peddler area

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