3 Unusual Town Names in Ohio and Their Origins

Here in Ohio, our towns have some pretty unique names. Most people don’t know the meaning behind these 3 Ohio towns—and some aren’t nearly as unusual as they seem. See how many of these meanings you knew about.

If you’ve ever heard of a place called Utopia in Ohio you should know that it does in fact exist—and it has a strange and unusual history. While Utopia, Ohio isn’t technically a ghost town, it’s pretty close. Along the banks of the Ohio River in Clermont County, you’ll find what some consider to be a ghost town, although the town is still home to some residents. Once upon a time, the small unincorporated community was one of the “phalanxes” (or social communes) established in America in the mid-19th century. Today, it’s home to a gas station, a few houses and an underground chapel that may have been used as part of the Underground Railroad.

Between Butler and Warren Counties you can find the town of Blue Ball. Local legend says the town council changed the name of the town in the 1800s to reflect a landmark—a blue metal sphere that was suspended above the intersection of two highways in the middle of town—because passerby had trouble reading the town’s original sign.

Did you know the center of the world is actually right here in Ohio? Well, kind of. Actually, Ohio is just home to a small community named Center of the World, which most people don’t know about. Near Braceville Township, you’ll find this unique (and tiny) community. It consists of homes and a few small retail establishments near the crossroads where State Routes 82 and 5 diverge.
What other weird Ohio town names do you know of?

Peninsula: Ohio’s Day-Trip Gem

From waterfront towns to historic villages, there’s always a quaint Ohio town worthy of a day trip.

One of the state’s most naturally beautiful towns is lucky enough to sit in the heart of Ohio’s very own national park: Cuyahoga Valley National Park. If you’ve never been to Peninsula, Ohio before, you’re truly missing out. It’s not your typical town, as there’s so much to explore. It’s the remote Ohio town that’s full of adventure you’ll want to visit this spring.

The park was established in 2000. Peninsula was established long ago, in the mid-19th-century, and much of its history has been preserved. Autumn is especially beautiful in Peninsula, as the valley is set ablaze with colorful fall foliage.

The town also includes the Everett Covered Bridge, It’s the only remaining covered bridge in Summit County and was built in the 19th-century.

Long-distance hikers and bikers know the town well. The Ohio and Erie Canal Towpath Trail runs close to downtown Peninsula, making Peninsula a popular stop for many bikers and hikers, as it is one of the only towns between Akron and Cleveland.

The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad is another must-do when you’re in town. It’s a gorgeous train ride that takes you through the national park. And It’s a stunning 65-fooot waterfall within the park. You can drive right to it at 8176 Brandywine Road in Sagamore Hills Township. if you have the time, stop to see Brandywine Falls before you leave the area.

See you in Peninsula!

“Double Victory” Exhibit in Wilberforce, OH

African-Americans Fighting for a Double Victory in the National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center explores civilian and military service during World War II, and how African-American service during wartime advanced civil rights on the home front during the 1940s and beyond.

By using its own collections and archives, as well as materials from the National Archives, the Ohio History Connection and other resources, the exhibit brings attention to the unknown stories and sacrifice of African Americans during this critical time in America’s history. The exhibition features digital images of African American muralist Charles Alston, whose drawings were commissioned by the Office of War Information.

The exhibit also includes the personal reflections of Wilberforce-area World War II veterans and national civil rights activists who sought to end discrimination in military, wartime housing and employment. It closes with a look at the impact that veterans and others had on the postwar civil rights movement and resulting advances in political empowerment today. The exhibit is open during museum hours Wednesday-Saturday, 9am-4pm.

The National Afro-American Museum & Cultural Center opened to the public in April 1988. Since that time, thousands of visitors have enjoyed the museum and its exhibits, including former President George Bush, former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammed Ali, historian and Ebony Editor Lerone Bennett, Jr., acclaimed artist Benny Andrews, fight promoter Don King, musician Winton Marsalis, noted actor William Marshall, Hall of Fame basketball coach John McLendon, educator Dr. Alvin Poussaint, Hall of Fame basketball player Oscar Robertson, His Excellency President of Mali Moussa Traore, plus numerous Congressional representatives, senators and others.

Cincinnati Art Museum: Iris van Herpen Exhibit

Working with materials as diverse as metal umbrella ribs, industrial yarns, woven metal, leather strips, and transparent acrylic, Iris van Herpen is one of the most visionary fashion designers of the twenty-first century.

Credited with introducing 3D printing to fashion, she seamlessly blends hi-tech processes with traditional handwork, creating imaginative sculptural garments. The subject of international acclaim, van Herpen often collaborates with architects, engineers, and other artists, expanding her vision and the possibilities for creative design. This exhibition will introduce the Tri-state region to van Herpen’s collaborative process that rests at the intersection of art, engineering, architecture and science.

Herpen studied Fashion Design at ArtEZ Institute of the Arts Arnhem and interned at Alexander McQueen in London, and Claudy Jongstra in Amsterdam. Van Herpen immediately caught the eye with notable shows. In 2007, she started her own label. Since July 2011, she is a guest member of the prestigious Parisian Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, which is part of the Fédération française de la couture. She participates in many international exhibitions and creates two collections a year.

The exhibit is on display at the Cincinnati Art Museum until April 3rd.