History of Bellefontaine, Ohio
For centuries, many historic American Indians called the Logan county area home. Many tribes shared this land, among these were the Miami, who established this area as their traditional homelands. The Shawnee Nation dominated this area during the 1760’s and 1770’s, and built the village of Blue Jacket’s Town (Bellefontaine). American settlements established towns in the early 1800’s in the same areas that Indian’s villages had been, and Bellefontaine was officially laid out on March 20, 1820.
The summer of 1837, the Mad River & Lake Erie Railroad Company completed the first railroad in Bellefontaine. This marked the beginning of a long and prosperous relationship between the railroad and Bellefontaine. Bellefontaine became a major railroad town in the 1890’s when the Big Four (Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, and St. Louis) made it one of their main terminals and built its largest roundhouse between New York and St. Louis in Bellefontaine. Consequently, many railroad workers lived here and enhanced the economy of the town. In 1904, one in four people employed in Logan County worked for the railroad. The emergence of newer means of travel lessened the importance of the railroad and in 1983 the railroad left Bellefontaine. Today, Bellefontaine is in the center of Honda of America’s Ohio operations and home to several Honda suppliers.
Bellefontaine is known for having the first concrete street in America built in 1801, and the shortest street in America, McKinley Street, which is about 20 feet long.