Prehistoric mound builders inhabited Perry County centuries before the Delaware tribe lived in the area. The ancient peoples created over 100 burial mounds and other earthworks in Perry County. The largest such work is "Stone Fort", a 27-acre stone compound whose walls are 10 feet high. The clay and rock monuments serve as silent testaments to the county's unwritten past.
In 1751 Perry County's first white visitor, surveyor Christopher Gist, camped near Buckeye Lake. Other visitors followed, but no settlers established residence until the next century. Germans from Pennsylvania first settled the area in the early 1800s. Between 1800 and 1815 the road through Perry County's territory served as the main thoroughfare between Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and the East. A constant stream of immigrants rolled westward along the road before steamboats created a new era of travel.
The county was formed March 1, 1818, from Washington, Muskingum and Fairfield counties. In addition to Germany, Perry County's settlers came from England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, Sweden and Norway. They provided constant business to the hundreds of tavern-keepers stationed at short intervals along the route, and they consumed all the spare grain for miles north and south of the road. They also cleared patches of forest and built log cabins. In addition to being fertile farmland, the area contained substantial deposits of clay and coal, which supported a thriving pottery and coal mining industry in the 19th century.
Business Growth and Potential
The 2002 annual average civilian labor force estimates for Perry County were:
total civilian labor force, 14,700; employment, 13,500; unemployment, 1,200; and unemployment rate, 8.1 percent. The government was the largest employer within the county, employing about a quarter of the workforce. The Southern Perry Incubation Center for Entrepreneurs has been established to help residents start small businesses or home-based businesses. The Center also has received funding to explore the viability of arts and heritage tours in the former mining region called "The Little Cities of Black Diamond."
Certain Teed Corp./Ludowici Roof Tile
New Lexington City Board of Education
Northern Local Board of Eduation
Precision Castparts Corporation
Southern Local Board of Education
Crooksville Exempted Village Board of Education
Business Support Organizations
Perry County Chamber of Commerce / Travel and Tourism / Economic Development
103 W. Brown Street
New Lexington OH 43764
East Ohio Development Alliance
326 Highland Avenue
Cambridge OH 43725
Southern Perry Business Center
115 West Main
New Straitsville OH 43766
(740) 394-2200 or (877) 277-6776
The Perry campus of Hocking College, located in New Lexington, offers coursework in any of the technologies taught at Hocking College's Nelsonville campus. The Perry campus has particularly strong programs in the following areas: Accounting, Business Management, Human and Correctional Services, Juvenile Corrections, Nursing Level I, Industrial Technology and Opticianry Technology.
Tourism and Lifestyle
Attractions and Points of Interest
- Wayne National Forest
- Perry State Forest
- Buckeye Lake State Park
- Tecumseh Lake Park
- National Ceramic Museum and Heritage Center
- General Phil Sheridan Monument and Home - The Civil War general's statue is located in Somerset's Square at the intersection of St. Rt. 13 and U.S. Rt. 22. His parents' home is on St. Rt. 13 (built by General Sheridan for his parents) and his boyhood home is just west off St. Rt. 13 on West Sheridan Ave.
- Alpine Pottery - 7674 Ceramic Rd. NE, Roseville, Ohio. Visitors can see hand decorated stoneware actually being made. Tours available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Call 740-743-0075.
- Beaumont Brothers Pottery - Keystone Street, Crooksville, Ohio. Early American-style stoneware and sponge ware pottery are made here. Tours available. Call 740-982-0055.
- National Ceramic Museum and Heritage Center - Situated south of Zanesville on St. Rt. 93, the center consists of five beautifully designed buildings devoted to the history of pottery. The complex includes a gift shop, artist studio, and buildings devoted to art pottery, utilitarian ware, and items in production. Open mid May to mid October from 10:00 am to 5:00 p.m. Tours available. Call 740-697-7021.
- New Straitsville History Center - Multiple exhibits tell of the town's rich history which includes mining, oil, and moonshining booms that are world renowned. Call Connie Dunkle for current hours at 740-394-2535.
- Rendville Folk Art Collective and Gallery - The gallery is located in a beautifully renovated church on State Route 13 halfway between Zanesville and Athens, and 40 minutes from Logan, Ohio. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
- Southern Perry County Museum and Model Rail Exhibit - Located in one of Shawnee's original storefronts, the exhibit is being developed to illustrate the importance of trains to the boom coal mining communities of southern Perry County. Call 740-394-2852 for current hours.
- Tecumseh Theater - Located at Rt. 93 and St. Rt. 155 in southern Perry County, the theater is Perry County's tallest building. Call 740-394-2278.
- Januarius MacGahan Statue - This massive statue stands in the park across the street from the Perry County Courthouse in New Lexington. Januarius, a Perry County native, is remembered as the liberator of Bulgaria.
- Unique Structures - Perry County has three covered bridges and at least four round barns that are points of architectural interest.
Convention & Visitors Bureaus:
Perry County Chamber of Commerce / Travel and Tourism
103 W. Brown Street
New Lexington OH 43764
Perry County Airport near New Lexington has a paved runway extending for 3497 feet.