In 1815, William Montgomery laid out an Ohio village which he called Uniontown.
It was part of Richland County at the time. The only street was, a streak of dust in the summer and
a mud-hole in the winter, with the cabins of about fourteen or fifteen families strung along either side,
(Duff, Ashland: The City of Progress and Prosperity 1815-1915, p.24)
The petition for a post office was denied in 1822 because Ohio already had a Uniontown post office. As a result
the name was changed to Ashland. In addition to Francis Graham's dry goods and grocery store, Ashland had a small tavern, a blacksmith shop,
two distlleries, a shoemaking shop, tanner, wheelwright and one physician (Duff p. 25).
Some early settlers were Willaim Montgomery, who distilled whiskey and had a tannery; Joel Luther, a physician; Joseph Sheets, a storekeeper; Francis
Graham, storekeeper; Rev. Thomas Beer, a Presbyterian minister; Elias Slocum, a tavern keeper; and Sam Urie, a blacksmith.
The town was incorporated in 1844 and became the county seat in 1846 when Ashland County was formed. Main Street progressed
from dust and mud to cobblestones to brick to asphalt. The gas street lghts gave way to arc lights, which in turn
yielded to electric lights.
In the early years the arc lights were on only until two o'clock in the morning. After 1910, the electric lights were left on all night.
The first public education began in 1850, with a single building being located on Cottage Street. It was referred to as the Central Building.
The Ashland Middle School currently (1999) occupies that location. Pleasant and Walnut Street Schools were built in the 1870's. In 1880 another building was built
on Fourth Street, and the construction of Grant street School followed in 1890.
Lincoln, Osborn, Taft, Edision were built in the twentieth century.
The first train came through Ashland in 1863. One of Ashland's main industries, F.E. Myers Company, began manufacturing pumps and hay tools in 1870. Ashland College was chartered in 1878,
having an administration building and boarding hall. The building known as Founders Hall burned in 1952. It was rebuilt and that seemed to spur further building
which resulted in the Ashland University, which is still expanding today.
During the 1890's a water works system based on the output of nine shallow wells was approved. About twenty years later the water treatment plant was built and chlorine
was first added to the water. This decade also saw the organization of the Star Telephone Company, although there were a few (talk boxes) in town prior to that.
Shortly after the turn of the century a trolley line was in business, and J.L. Clark provided funds to build a
hospital which was to be named Samaritan Hospital. The evangelistic revival of 1916, was the talk of the town. A tabernacle was built on Luther Street, and 2200 comversions or
reconsecrations were numbered. It was interdenominational with Lutherans, Methodists,
and Presbyterians well represented. A flu epidemic in 1918, closed the schools,
picture shows, Sunday Schools and church services. So many of the local telephone operators were sick that it was hard to keep the phone service going.
In the 1920's eight acres were transformed into Brookside park. It had a beautiful pond for boating, ball fields, and a pavillion for dancing. The Country Club and golf course were built,
and P.A. Myers donated five acres for a YMCA. Hetler's Restaurant was a popular eating place for Ashlanders. Grandma Hetler dished out wonderful chicken and noodles, and everything was prepared (from scratch). Business and professinal men's groups had regular
meetings in the banquet room.
Saturday evening was the night to go shopping. But in the 1950's the merchants changed their evening hours to Friday night. During this decade dial phones were
installed, and after much discussion, the city water supply was fluoridated.
The city has continued to grow and modernize. Presently (1999) a new justice center is being built.
This complex will accommodate the city police department and the county jail. Taft and Edison Schools have new additions which are equipped
with the latest technologies for providing the skills that will be needed in the next century.