horizontal banner with Preserve America logo and images of a historic downtown, farm, courthouse, and mountain

Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

Preserve America Community:
Perrysburg, Ohio

Founded in 1816, Perrysburg, Ohio, (population 19,000) is one of only two cities in the United States platted by the federal government (Washington, D.C. is the other). Perrysburg, located along the Maumee River upstream of Lake Erie, is the home of Fort Meigs, which was the largest wooden walled fortification in North America. 

Home in Historic DistrictThe first settlers arrived in 1810, although the land had been reserved for military purposes since 1795. With the outbreak of the War of 1812, the site was chosen for the construction of a new United States fort. In February 1813, General William Henry Harrison oversaw the construction of Fort Meigs on a bluff above the Maumee River. The fort was attacked twice during 1813, but the soldiers were able to hold it.  

The Ohio Historical Society reconstructed Fort Meigs in the late 1960s and reopened it to the public in 1974. A major renovation in 2003 helped improve the site and construct new exhibit space. Visitors can learn about the history of the fort, the life of its soldiers, and the War of 1812.

By 1826, Perrysburg had begun attracting more settlers. However, a cholera epidemic in 1854 decimated the population and closed the town for two months. The town recovered, building new structures and a bridge in the following years. With its rich history, Perrysburg continues to grow and maintain its small hometown ambiance. Perrysburg features 11 sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The Downtown Improvement Program was implemented from 2006 to 2009 to encourage property owners to improve the existing building stock in the downtown business district. Property owners could receive reimbursements for up to 50 percent of qualified expenditures, up to $25,000. Eligible projects included window, door, and roof repairs or exterior improvements, such as cleaning, painting, signage, and awnings. All work was required to receive approval from the Perrysburg Historic Landmarks Commission and had to follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. During the three-year duration of the program, 21 of the 47 downtown businesses completed work on their properties.  

The Harrison Rally Day Festival is an annual event commemorating Presidential candidate William Henry Harrison’s rally held at Fort Meigs in 1840. The Harrison Rally Day festival is the largest community event in Perrysburg and features arts and crafts, live music, and goods from area merchants. Historic Perrysburg provides a hands-on demonstration area where individuals of all ages can learn about local history.   

For more information

City of Perrysburg: www.ci.perrysburg.oh.us

Perrysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau: www.visitperrysburg.com

Perrysburg Main Street: www.downtownperrysburg.org

Historic Perrysburg: www.historicperrysburg.org

Fort Meigs: www.fortmeigs.org

Updated October 28, 2009

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