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Plain City

From History of Madison County, W. H. Beers & Co, Chicago, 1883

This is the only village in the township, and was laid out by Isaac Bigelow in 1818. Accordingly, we find the following record:

July 8, 1818. – The plan of Westminster, situated on the south side of Big Darby Creek, in Darby Township, Madison County, on the road leading from Worthington to Urbana. The above road, which is Main street from letter B, runs east, and is sixty feet wide; the alleys are thirty links wide and run from Main street north. The lot on the north side of Main street, measure each, north, twelve poles and east, four poles and eleven links. The lots on the south side of Main street measure each, south, ten poles, and west, five poles and one link.

DAVID CHAPMAN, Surveyor. June 11, 1818.

There were no other official acts until 1823. At this date, we find that the previous survey was resurveyed and additional territory incorporated as well as the original name changed from Westminster to Pleasant Valley. We also find that, from 1823 to 1851, the original proprietor made six additions to this village, besides additions subsequently made by the following parties: Barlow's. Sherwood's First and Second, Amonn's First and Second, Marshal's, Hager & Lombard's, Black & Mooney's. and I. E. Bigelow's Additions. Its name was again changed from Pleasant Valley to that of Plain City.

This town is situated in the northeast portion of the township and is bounded on the north by Union County. For a time it was superseded by Amity in Canaan Township, but the advantages of the former were mainly due to location, being situated on the post road, an important west-bound thoroughfare, over which much of the emigrant travel passed. This, in connection with natural advantages, rendered it much more desirable as a business location. From 1818 to 1850, her growth and business development were characteristic of doubt and uncertainty as to her future prospects among those of her rivals. But at the latter date, the location of a trunk-line railroad through her borders removed all uncertainty, and the impetus thus given to her growth, business and manufacturing developments were truly flattering. The first hotel was kept by Clark Provine, in a log building located on the same lot as the present National Hotel. It was surrounded with underbrush, hazel and plum thickets; but as the weary traveler neared the spot, he read with delight the invitation in glowing letters over the door. "Traveler's Inn." The principal guests were travelers, emigrants, speculators, hunters and trappers. The first dry goods and grocery store was that of the proprietor of the town, Isaac Bigelow. The first blacksmith was James Goldsberry. The first church was a small brick building belonging to the Methodist Episcopal denomination. The first schoolhouse was a log hut on Lot No. 14. and a Miss Suzan Fudger taught the first school. Here is a miniature pen picture of Plain City of the present, over which half a century and more has passed. She stands to-day dressed in beautiful mansions, extensive business blocks, magnificent halls, manufacturing establishments, banking houses, a large school building, fine church edifices, besides many other structures less imposing, but indicative of thrift and prosperity. If to this be added the productive wealth of the surrounding country, with an easy access to her markets, and a direct communication by rail to Eastern cities, she has a bright prospective future. The business establishments foot up twenty in the mercantile trade, ten manufacturers, two banking houses, two hotels, one printing office and a weekly newspaper, besides the transient and unsettled traffic common to all commercial towns. Her population in 1880 was about 1,000.

From Atlas of Madison County, by J.A. Caldwell (Condit, Ohio, 1875]

Plain City (Formerly Pleasant Valley) is located on the west banks of Big Darby, in the northern part of Darby Township, not far from the Union County line, eighteen miles north-west of Columbus, by rail, and twelve miles north from West Jefferson, and seventeen miles north-east of London, with a population of about 700, and was laid off by Isaiah Bigelow; and is a place of considerable business and enterprise, and improving quite rapidly, and now contains five churches — a Methodist Episcopal, a Presbyterian, a United Brethren, a Universalist, and a Catholic; a printing establishment, called The Plain City Press, one bank, called "Plain City Bank," and a spelndid brick planing-mill, which belongs to McCune & Wilson; a good flouring-mill, four dry goods stores, three drug stores, three groceries, a jewelery store, a hotel, a carriage and wagon works, two harness shops, two wagon shops, two blacksmith shops, boot and shoe stores. The future of Plain City is quite promising. Its merchants, mechanics and business men are enterprising, and it is surrounded by thrifty farmers. The Columbus, Piqua and Indiana Railway passes by it, which affords a good shipping point for the produce and stock of the surrounding country, both of portions of Madison and Union counties — and it receives a considerable amount of its trade from Union County. The corporation limits of Plain City were extended in 1868, the same recorded December 21st, 1868.

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