One could say that the village center of Plymouth might be termed a “One-Half Landmark of Richland,” as Main Street, the downtown’s main thoroughfare, straddles the Richland County – Huron County line.
It would be hard to argue, however, that its downtown boasts one of the most intact sets of nineteenth century commercial buildings in north central Ohio. And, as of December of last year, it is also an area recognized as significant by its inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
The 50 or so structures included in historic downtown Plymouth did not arrive until three decades after the village’s founding in 1815, the oldest current building (the Beelman Furniture Building) having been constructed about 1848.
Plymouth was founded by initial pioneer settler Abraham Trucks. First called Paris, it grew steadily in the years before the American Civil War based on its location along important area roads.
It was the intersection of these roads, in fact, which created a unique street pattern. From the National Register nomination:
“The Public Square and all of the principle streets seen on the original plat are still extant today, including the street names. Even the route of Beall’s military road, which itself followed an existing Wyandot trail, is still evident as Trux Street/Ohio. 603. The angled roads have not been straightened to conform to a standard grid, and conforming to them created several irregular lots within the village plat. Diagonal blocks in the commercial center continue to reflect Plymouth’s historic streetscape.”
Two churches – First Lutheran and Plymouth United Methodist – continue to occupy original downtown locations.
The Richland County (south) side of Main Street includes the building which housed the medical office of Dr. Jay Kling, one of the lead surgeons at what is widely considered the most important Union Army Field Hospital during the Battle of Gettysburg. Dr. Kling is among those profiled in a new book being published this year by the Gettysburg Foundation, and is the Great Great Great Uncle of 1812Blockhouse publisher Thomas Palmer.
The area also reflects the village’s strong industrial history, including the Plymouth Locomotive Works.
The National Register of Historic Places provides both official recognition of a property or district’s historic significance, and also provides a door to important financial and legal incentives for building preservation and downtown revitalization.
The photos above and to the right were taken during Plymouth’s 200th Birthday celebration in 2015. 1812Blockhouse File Photos