Garrettsville, Ohio

Garrettsville is a village in Portage County, Ohio, United States. It was formed from portions of Hiram, Nelson, and Freedom townships in the Connecticut Western Reserve. The population was 2,262 at the 2000 census. On July 1, 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 2,203 people resided in the village. It is part of the Akron Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Garrettsville is located at (41.283955, -81.095179).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 2.5 square miles (6.6 km²), all of it land.


As of the census of 2000, there were 2,262 people, 930 households, and 619 families residing in the village. The population density was 893.8 people per square mile (345.2/km²). There were 976 housing units at an average density of 385.6/sq mi (148.9/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 98.41% White, 0.27% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.13% Asian, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.40% of the population.

There were 930 households out of which 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.4% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.4% were non-families. 29.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the village the population was spread out with 25.9% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.6 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $47,256, and the median income for a family was $54,297. Males had a median income of $39,469 versus $28,080 for females. The per capita income for the village was $20,198. About 2.5% of families and 4.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.6% of those under age 18 and 2.4% of those age 65 or over.


The James A. Garfield Local School District is the primary education for Garrettsville residents. Schools include:

  • James A. Garfield Elementary School (Kindergarten - 4)
  • James A. Garfield Intermediate School (Grades 5-6)
  • James A. Garfield Middle School (Grades 7-8)
  • James A. Garfield High School (Grades 9-12)


It was July of 1804 when John Garrett III arrived in the section of the Western Reserve destined to become Garrettsville. Col. Garrett had purchased 300 acres in southwestern Nelson Township for $1,313 the year before. For his $4.40 per acre, he obtained wilderness in need of taming and water rights to Silver Creek. In 1804 and 1805, Garrettsville's founder, his family and two friends began to carve a community from the forest. Among their first tasks was construction of an earthen dam and a saw and grist mill on Silver Creek. Then tragedy struck. In January of 1806, some say on the day the grist mill was to open for business, John Garrett died.

But the new mill in the new country was destined to live. The few mills in existence in the area at that time were primarily for the use of individual families or single neighborhoods. Early settlers who left their grain to be ground at these mills often reclaimed it unground and ate it boiled throughout the winter. John Garrett's mill was different. It was destined to serve residents within a 20-mile radius, and it did. In 1805, a road was cut from Mantua to Garrettsville. In 1806, the Cleveland-Pittsburgh Road was cut near the mill. Hardy pioneers traveled these roads and paths through the forests from Nelson, Mantua, Hiram, Freedom and Windham to get their grain ground at Garrett's mill.

As time went on, a settlement grew up around the mill. Churches were built, and stores and one~room schools, and the railroad came to town. And the little community had growing pains. One of the pains was the mud shoppers visiting Garrett's mill had to walk through to get to other stores. To overcome some of these problems, residents of the southwest corner of Nelson in 1864 petitioned the Commissioners of Portage County to permit the incorporation of a one-mile square area "to be designated by the name of Garrettsville."

On September 1, 1864, at a shoe shop, 62 voters elected a mayor, recorder and five trustees. Nine days later, at the first meeting of the incorporated village of Garrettsville, the building of a plank walk from the depot to the east side of town was unanimously approved. By that time or soon after, Garrettsville had become the home of a grist mill, carriage factories, distillery, tannery, woolen mill, chair and table factory. two or three foundries, a saw mill which also turned out rakes, a pail factory and, because flax was an important crop, a linseed oil factory.

About 1820, the store which was to become The Root Store, the o1dest department store in Portage County, was founded near the intersection of what today is S.R. 82 and 88. And in 1830, a tin shop which added hardware in 1854 was established near the intersection of Center Street and Maple Avenue. That today is Irwin Hardware located across Main Street from Hopkins Old Water mill, once Garrett's mill. A Farmers Bank, founded in 1871, remains today as Portage National Bank. Prior to this date, the meat market known today as Main Street Market was begun. Pelsue Drug is a descendant of Morris Brothers, a pharmacy established in 1875. That was also the year when J. H. Bogrand Dry Goods and Clothing, destined to become Menough's, was founded. The business was then purchased in 1896 by R. B. Waters and Sons. The forerunner of Lansinger Jewelry began in 1886, the same year telephones were introduced to the community and the opera house was built at a cost of $15,000.

By 1899, Garrettsville was considered the largest maple syrup center in the world. The man primarily responsible, Arthur Crane, had his cannery on Windham Street. It was his son who founded Crane Candies and who developed the formula for Lifesavers candy, and his grandson, Hart Crane, who wrote poems now studied on college campuses throughout the country. As the business district developed, so too did churches, schools, public services and service-oriented and social organizations.

In November, 1935, Alvin Karpis robbed a train in Garrettsville. Karpis was a member of Ma Barker's gang, and was assisted in the robbery by gang member Harry Campbell and at least one other accomplice. Karpis and his gang stole $30,000, and obtained a private airplane to escape to Hot Springs, Arkansas. Karpis was eventually convicted of his crimes, and was imprisoned at Alcatraz longer than any other inmate.

Reuben Archer Torrey began his ministerial career here in 1878.

Maple syrup and Life Savers

The Garrettsville-Hiram Chamber of Commerce reports that at the beginning of the 20th century, Garrettsville was the largest center in the world for the processing of maple syrup. This was due largely to the efforts of Arthur Crane, who canned this maple tree product at a cannery on Windham Street. Crane's son, Clarence Arthur (C.A.) Crane, grew up in Garrettsville. The younger Crane married Grace Edna Hart in the village on June 1, 1898. In 1899, Grace gave birth to Harold Hart Crane, who later became renowned as a poet.

Clarence Crane and his family left Garrettsville in the 1900s. Clarence continued to work in the maple sugar and candies industry, having started out in the industry working for his father. In 1912, Clarence Crane and his company, the Queen Victoria Chocolate Company, invented Life Savers candy.


Garrettsville is near several recreational venues. Many of these are in the vicinity of Nelson Kennedy Ledges State Park in Nelson Township. The Nelson Ledges Road Course hosts motorcycle and sports car racing events. Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, called the "Crystal Forest" by fans of Insane Clown Posse, was the home of the 4th, 5th, and 6th Annual Gathering of the Juggalos.

Much of the film The Year That Trembled, starring Jonathan Brandis, Martin Mull, and Fred Willard, was filmed in Garrettsville and nearby Hiram. The film, "a 1970 coming-of-age story set in the shadow of Kent State," was filmed in Garrettsville because of its proximity to Kent State University..


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