Ontario, Ohio

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{area, community, home}
{city, large, area}
{build, building, house}
{household, population, family}
{school, student, university}
{line, north, south}
{land, century, early}
{town, population, incorporate}
{village, small, smallsup}

Ontario is a city in Richland County in the U.S. state of Ohio. It is part of the Mansfield, Ohio Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 5,303 at the 2000 census. Ontario is a major regional retail hub serving the entire North-Central Ohio area, with a shopping population of over 150,000.

Contents

History

The original town of Ontario started as a settlement in Springfield Township near Mansfield. In 1834, the Ontario settlement combined with another small settlement known as New Castle.

Ontario is located on a major east-west transportation corridor that was originally known in the early 1900s as "Ohio Market Route 3." This route was chosen in 1913 to become part of the historic Lincoln Highway which was the first road across America, connecting New York City to San Francisco. The arrival of the Lincoln Highway to Ontario was a major influence on the development of the town. Upon the advent of the federal numbered highway system in 1928, the Lincoln Highway through Ontario became U.S. Route 30.

In 1956, General Motors built a large Fisher Body stamping plant in Ontario and on June 25, 1958, the residents voted to incorporate Ontario into a village.[3]

In 1960, the new Ontario High School was built, complete with an indoor swimming pool, a theatre, 3 shops, and numerous high-tech classrooms and labs for college-preparatory studies. New school construction and renovation has continued over the years, and today the Ontario School District enjoys a long and distinguished reputation for education excellence with state-of-the-art facilities.

In 1969, the Richland Mall was built. It was the first modern enclosed mall in north-central Ohio, and was originally anchored by the prestigious Lazarus Department Store (based in Columbus), the O'Neil's Department Store (based in Akron), and by Sears. The Lazarus store was the first Lazarus built outside of Columbus. The store's unique "high-hat" entrance tower remains visible for miles along U.S. Route 30. The Lazarus store eventually became Macy's, and then subsequently was closed in 2006 following the purchase of the May Department Store company by Federated Department Stores, parent of Macy's and the former Lazarus. The mall in 2002 was renamed Westfield Shoppingtown Richland for a period of time, is once again called Richland Mall following a name change in 2006. It is now home to almost 70 stores and is anchored by Macy's (located in the original O'Neils store that had become Kaufmann's for a period of time), Sears, and JCPenney (a later addition to the mall).

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