Highland County


In prehistoric times, indigenous people inhabited the land that is now Highland County. Evidence of their existence remains - the Hopewell Culture built an immense earthwork around the flat summit of Fort Hill to enclose their ceremonial meeting place.

In the 18th century, the future Highland County became part of the Virginia Military District. In 1781 Congress granted Virginia the land between the Scioto and Miami rivers to pay the state's Revolutionary War veterans. Most of the men who received land grants sold them; however, some did move into the area.

Henry Massie platted the town of New Market in 1798, and it became the first permanent settlement in that locale. The state legislature made New Market the county seat when it formed Highland County in 1805. Hillsboro, platted by Virginian David Hays, became the county seat in 1807.

Business Opportunities

Employers seeking a place to start or relocate a business or industry in Highland County will find available sites, affordable housing and employees who are ready, willing and able to work. The manufacturing sector is the largest provider of employment opportunities in the county.

Business Growth and Potential
Seventy percent of the population of the United States lives within 500 miles of Highland County, with businesses and industries having access to most major markets within 10 to 12 hours through highways and airports. Highland County has continued to diversify its economic base by adding international business to agriculture.

Highland County public officials help existing businesses and industries thrive and grow by investing in the infrastructure and services necessary for economic development. The 90-acre Leesburg Industrial Park and 200-acre Greenfield Industrial Park offer sites with water, sewer and gas lines, electric power and access roads in place.

Major Employers
Banta Corp.
Greenfield Exempted Village Board of Education
Greenfield Research Inc.
Highland District Hosptial
Hillsboro City Board of Education
Huhtarnki Plastics
Illinois Tool Works/Hobart Corp.
Johnson Controls Inc.
Lancaster Colony/Candle-Lite Inc.
Toyo Denso Co./Weastec Inc.

Natural Resources
The agricultural industry in Highland County is diverse. The top five commodities produced in Highland County are soybeans, corn, tobacco, beef and dairy. Agricultural production in 2000 generated over $42 million in sales for Highland County farms.

Business Support Organizations
The Ohio Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at The Ohio State University South Centers provides consulting and training to assist new and existing business owners. Reputed to be the most comprehensive and effective business assistance network in the nation, its purpose is to help existing businesses develop and retain a competitive advantage in the ever-changing global economy, and to help entrepreneurs realize their dream of business ownership.

Highland County Chamber of Commerce
1575 N. High Street Suite 400
Hillsboro OH 45133
(937) 393-1111

Southern Ohio Economic Development Corporation
135 N. High Street
Hillsboro OH 45133
(937) 393-0339

Highland County Economic Development
135 N. High Street
Hillsboro OH 45133
(937) 393-0339

Highland County Area Idea Center
1575 North High Street
Suite 400
Hillsboro, OH 45133

Educational Opportunities

The nationally accredited Southern State Community College (chartered in 1975) in Hillsboro, is a comprehensive two-year institution with 18 associate degree programs and four certificate programs.

Tourism and Lifestyle

Highland County is an excellent choice for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, water sports, golfing or sightseeing. Two state parks, Rocky Fork (2,080 acres of lake and 1,384 acres of land) and Paint Creek (1,200 acre lake and 9,000 acres of land), offer a variety of ways to enjoy the beautiful hills of Highland County. Miller's Nature Sanctuary and Highlands Nature Sanctuary are especially attractive because of their interesting geologic formations.

Attractions and Points of Interest
  • The sounds of the Bluegrass Festival are heard in Hillsboro each May.
  • The Festival of the Bells, held annually in July, celebrates the heritage of the C.S. Bell Company. Beginning in 1875, this company manufactured steel alloy bells that were literally heard around the world from courthouses, churches, farmhouses, schools and ships.
  • Greenfield celebrates its industrial history at the Wheels of Progress Festival each July with displays, tours of historic buildings, crafts, food and entertainment.
  • Lynchburg Covered Bridge Festival, featuring historical displays, live music, food and crafts, draws people to the grounds of the Lynchburg Covered Bridge (one of the few covered bridges left standing in Southern Ohio) in August.
  • The Highland House Museum in Hillsboro, built in 1842-1844, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and houses an extensive collection of memorabilia from the area.
  • Highland County Courthouse is the oldest courthouse still in use in Ohio.
  • Fort Hill State Memorial has trails, picnic areas, ancient Indian fortifications and a state of the art museum.
  • Magic Waters Theater offers comedies and musicals.
  •   The Seven Caves are rich in Indian history, and each cave has its own unique formation.
  • The historic Pioneer Farm in Paint Creek State Park includes a log house, a collection of log buildings, livestock, gardens and croplands. The buildings create an atmosphere of a working pioneer farm of the early 1800's.
  • The B. & O. Railroad Depot and the adjacent D.T.I. Railroad Depot in Greenfield offer fine examples of days gone by.
  • The Edward Lee McClain High School in Greenfield houses a fine collection of classical artwork.
  • Traveller's Rest in Greenfield is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and offers an interesting glimpse of the history and tradition of the Greenfield area.
Famous People
Among Highland County's best-known citizens are Charles Willing Byrd, the first United States judge for the Ohio District, acting governor for the Northwest Territory and one of Ohio's 35 Founding Fathers; Allen Trimble, the eighth governor of Ohio; Joseph Foraker, the 37th governor of Ohio; Charles Gossett, a 20th-century governor of Idaho; Governor Trimble's daughter, Eliza Jane Thompson, who successfully attacked the sale of liquor in Hillsboro in 1873, leading to the founding of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU); Dr. Samuel G. Hibben, lighting expert who illuminated the Washington Monument, Holland Tunnel and Statue of Liberty; Hugh Fullerton, sportswriter who uncovered the Black Sox scandal; Albert J. Beveridge, United States Senator from Indiana; Wilbur John Carr, international diplomat; Joseph Hiestand, world champion trapshooter; Milton Caniff, creator of the comic strips "Steve Canyon" and "Terry and the Pirates", Johnny Paycheck, country/western singer, Four Star General John Hull U.S. Army, Four Star Admiral John Ballentine U.S. Navy, 2nd Lt. Caspar Collins who was killed in an Indian attack at the Platte Bridge and for whom the city of Casper Wy. is named, Lt. Col. William Oliver Collins Commanding Officer of the 11th Ohio Volunteer Cavalry who served at Ft. Larime and for who was considered one of the best when dealing with Native Americans and for which Ft. Collins, Colorado is named.

Visitor Information

Convention & Visitors Bureaus
Highland County Convention and Visitors Bureau
1575 N. High Street
Suite 400
P.O. Box 638
Hillsboro, OH 45133
Phone: (937) 393-4883
Fax: (937) 393-2697

Highland County Airport serves Hillsboro and Highland County and is owned by the County Board of Commissioners. The paved runway extends for 3520 feet. The airport is about 3 miles from Hillsboro.  The airport has 24-hour fuel service, flight training, avionics, airframe and engine repair service.

Travel Agents
AAA Travel Agency
125 W. Main Street
Hillsboro, OH 45133
(937) 393-3489

First Choice Travel
254 W. Main Street
Hillsboro, OH 45133
(937) 393-4447

Greenfield Area Medical Center
550 Mirabeau Street
Greenfield, OH 45123
(937) 393-1941

Highland District Hospital
1275 North High Street
Hillsboro, OH 45133
(937) 393-6100

County Features
Economic Development
Visitors Bureau
Chamber of Commerce
Related Links
The Highland House Museum
The Seven Caves
Rocky Fork State Park
Highlands Nature Sanctuary
Fort Hill State Memorial
Magic Waters Theater
OVRDC Tourism Map
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