Canal Winchester, Ohio, (population 6,300) was first settled around 1811 by Henry Dove, who divided his land between his sons, Reuben and Jacob.
When the Ohio & Erie Canal came through Reuben Dove’s wheat field, he wanted to sue the state. The canal workmen convinced him he would be better off laying out a town, and Dove named the village after his father’s hometown of Winchester, Virginia. The name was changed to Canal Winchester in 1841 to distinguish it from other Ohio towns named Winchester.
The community’s economy, based on agriculture and transportation, flourished. The Ohio & Erie Canal brought passengers, freight, and a means to transport grain to market, and in 1869, the railroad brought further prosperity to Canal Winchester. Today, the town relies on manufacturing and the service/tourism sector.
Canal Winchester has 30 historical sites, including four historic districts listed on the National Register. Just outside of town, the Slate Run Living Historical Farm features volunteers who wear period costumes and use equipment from the 1800s to work a farm.
The Canal Winchester Area Historical Society offers educational programs and docent-led tours for students and adults at its complex, which includes the O. P. Chaney Grain Elevator of 1879, the 1894 train depot, a 1929 C&O wood-sided caboose, and the Barber Museum, which showcases barber shops from six different historical periods.
The town farmer’s market attracts up to 1,000 people to the historic downtown area each week in the spring/summer to shop for locally grown produce and other items.
Designated a Preserve America Community in July 2007.