Ottawa County was formed March 6, 1840 and is located on Lake Erie about 15 miles southeast of Toledo, Ohio. It is situated in the Black Swamp district. The County is made up by various communities that include seven (7) villages, twelve (12) townships and the only city in Ottawa County, Port Clinton. The County’s peninsula and the islands to the north were part of the Connecticut Western Reserve in the late 1700s. For more information about the history of Ottawa County, please visit the Ottawa County Museum.
Built in 1821, the Marblehead Lighthouse is the oldest Ohio lighthouse in operation. A masonry finish covers the original limestone exterior of the lighthouse. The inside includes a brick stack constructed in the late 1800’s to raise the tower’s height by fifteen feet. The view from the top showcases several Lake Erie islands, a glacial alvar below, and on clear days, a view of the Cleveland shoreline. The on-site Keeper’s House was built in 1880 and is now a museum staffed by historical society volunteers.
During the War of 1812 the fleet of Commodore Oliver H. Perry put in near South Bass Island before defeating the British in the Battle of Lake Erie. The site is now called Put-in-Bay. Perry’s ship “Niagara” flew a banner with the words “Don’t give up the ship.” Afterwards, Perry reported to General Harrison the well-known words, “We have met the enemy and they are ours…” The Peace Monument at Put-in-Bay entombs both the American and British officers killed in the battle.
The Ottawa County Courthouse was completed May 20, 1901 and has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The outside of the Courthouse is Amherst Ohio sandstone and each side of the front entranceway has a carving of an Ottawa Indian. The tall bell tower is visible from all sides of the building. The inside features mosaic floors, marble wainscoting, and a pink marble staircase. The Courthouse is adorned with murals, including one of Perry’s Victory during the War of 1812. The other four represent means of making a living in the county in 1900.
Located on South Bass Island, The Hotel Victory opened in 1892. The hotel was once one of the largest hotels in America, with the first ever co-ed swimming pool. The hotel consisted of a main building that had 625 guest rooms, 80 with a bath room. The building’s rectangular shape measured 600 feet wide by 300 feet deep and surrounded an inner courtyard. The building had three elevators, bell boy stations on each floor, steam heating and incandescent lights. The hotel was destroyed by fire in 1919. Today, only the ruins of The Hotel Victory remain.
- Major manufacturing industries include rubber and plastics, primary metals, and stone-clay-glass
- 200+ licensed marinas and 15,000+ docks
- $233 million taxes generated by tourism in our region
- 13,831 full-time equivalent jobs the tourism industry employs
- Tourism generates $1.9 billion in annual sales
- Lodging Sales = $173,366,769
- Lodging Tax = $3,710,252
- Local Sales Tax = $24,183,455
- Direct Spending
- Retail 31%
- Recreation 20%
- Lodging 19%
- Food & Beverage 18%
- Transportation 12%
AWARD WINNING EDUCATION
All six public school districts and three private K-5 schools all have achieved a minimum of the state’s second highest rating of “effective” or higher. The average student-teacher ratio for the County is 15.5:1, which is level with the state and national averages of 15.3:1.
- R.C. Waters Elementary School received the 2014 National Blue Ribbon Designation for the nominating category “Exemplary High Performing Schools.”
- The Oak Harbor Middle School was recognized for its support of military families, becoming one of the first eight schools in the state to be honored with a Purple Star Award by the Ohio Department of Education in 2017.
- The Port Clinton Middle School was named “High Progress School of Honor” by the Ohio Department of Education, and was also recognized nationally as a “Model School” in 2017 by the International Center for Leadership in Education.
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