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The City of Delaware is the seat of Delaware County, located about 30 miles north of downtown Columbus, Ohio's state capitol. Delaware is an independent community that retains its small town qualities while benefiting from northward growth from the thriving Columbus region. Delaware County has been the state's fastest growing county for more than a decade and is among the top-20 fastest growing, wealthiest and most educated areas in the nation.

The population exceeds 30,000 and is growing at a pace of about seven to nine percent annually. Delaware is becoming a community of "old-timers" and newcomers. It has been home to many families for generations. It is also an appealing place for young families to move, attracted to the quality of life and the distance from the pace and problems associated with metropolitan areas. A fast growing component of the population is young families, increasing ages 35-45 and children ages six to 18. This has important significance for school programs and facilities, as well as for the City. Another fast growing component is people age 65 and over, increasing at a pace of five to seven percent per year. About five percent of the population is minority, a figure that is reflected in school enrollments. This portion is growing with the general pace of growth.

The total labor force of Delaware County is 43,800, with an unemployment rate less than three percent, the lowest in Ohio. The largest employers are manufacturers of automobile coatings, plastics, copper products, education, insurance, automobile parts and distribution, sports apparel, retail, services and government. Delaware County is a net importer of workers from throughout Ohio to its many employers.

Local History

The region was originally occupied by the Delaware Indians who shared the territory between Columbus and Lake Erie with the Mingos and other tribes. Prehistoric Hopewell mound builders inhabited this area even earlier. Delaware was a country village in an agricultural region in 1808, the year the county was established. Following the War of 1812, settlers arrived at a faster pace, including the parents of Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th President of the United States. Hayes was born in Delaware and met his future wife, Lucy, at Ohio Wesleyan University.

Ohio Wesleyan was founded in 1842 by Methodists seeking to establish a liberal arts college. The original Mansion House building, known as Elliott Hall, is still in active use on campus.

Prior to the Civil War, Delaware had Northern sympathies and abolishionists brought the Underground Railway through the area. The local Africa Road owes it name to this era. Camp Delaware, a Civil War-era camp for soldiers was one of the the few from which African-American soldiers deployed to fight for ther Union. During and following the War, railroads played an important role in expanding the markets of Delaware. By 1900, Delaware had its own electric street railway, and an electric interurban rail connected the community with Columbus and Marion, located about 20 miles to the north.

In the modern era, farming has declined steadily throughout Delaware County as residential and industrial development have flourished. The proximity to Columbus, as well as historic periods of growth and prosperity, have greatly influenced the economy of Delaware. Its history, however, is carefully preserved in its many 19th century buildings and homes, its comfortable scale and architecture and the pace of life as a home town.

So Much To Discover!

At the Delaware State Park and the Alum Creek State Park, residents of Delaware enjoy boating and fishing and the full variety of water sports. Delaware is also the home of The Little Brown Jug, the crown jewel of harness racing's Triple Crown. The cultural amenities of Columbus are available nearby, as well as Tthe Ohio State University's Big Ten athletics. Local residents also enjoy the Ballet Met, the Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, Columbus Symphony, Opera Columbus, Contemporary American Theater Company, the Columbus Museum of Art and many theater opportunities.

Family Living

Housing in Delaware is available in older, tree-lined neighborhoods, newer modern subdivisions, condominium developments and rental complexes. New residential construction during 1999 completed 359 new single family dwellings and in 2000 the figure was 327.

Throughout Delaware County, there are some 70 churches for almost all faiths. Ohio Wesleyan University coordinates fellowship activities for students and others who practice faiths from other regions of the world. First Presbyterian Church, United Methodist Church and St. Peter's Episcopal are the City's oldest, dating from the early 1800s. Active church organizations and the ministerial association carry out important community service programs, including Meals on Wheels, People in Need, Alcoholics Anonymous, Hospice, Habitat for Humanity, an annual CROP walk and many others.

Shopping in Delaware is made particularly appealing by the variety of stores and services and the friendly scale of the downtown. Retail centers are also growing near new residential areas and along the south corridor of U.S. 23 and U.S. 42. Financial and professional services are available downtown and in all the neighboring communities. Two shopping centers are located nearby south of Delaware, and major shopping malls in Columbus are convenient to Delaware residents.

Family recreation is provided close to home by City Parks and Recreation programs and facilities and by the State of Ohio Parks. Three major parks and several neighborhood parks provide both active playground and athletic facilities as well as passive uses. The Mingo Park Swimming Pool Complex features an Olympic size pool, diving pool, wading areas and a community recreation room. Five miles north of the City, the 7,000 acre Delaware State Park offers swimming and boating on the 1330 acre reservoir. Fishing, camping and hiking are popular here and in the adjacent State Wildlife Area. Similar facilities and activities are available just southeast of Delaware at Alum Creek State Park.

The Delaware County Cultural Arts Center in the city, opened in 1989, offers classes, art exhibits, museum trips, lectures, summer children's programs and special events. Classes are taught in the performing and visual arts. The Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra, sponsored by the Delaware community and Ohio Wesleyan, presents an annual concert program. The Delaware Community Chorus, Silver Phoenix Theatre Company and the Strand Theatre film series add to the variety of cultural events available in the city. An annual Spring Arts Festival is held downtown.


The Delaware City Schools district covers the majority of the current city limits. The district has earned Delaware the reputation as an Ohio BEST (Building Excellent Schools for Today and the 21st Century) Community because of a commitment to continuous improvement. The District is responding proactively to existing needs and new growth. It is an active partner with parents, the City Council, Ohio Wesleyan, the Joint Vocational School, businesses, non-public schools and other agencies. Total enrollment exceeds 4,600.

The K-12 District provides for elementary education at five neighborhood schools, plus a middle school and Hayes High School. The full curriculum is supplemented by vocational and college preparatory programs. Many high school students enroll in classes at Ohio Wesleyan or the Joint Vocational School. There are special programs available for students with disabilities, before and after school care programs, many extracurricular activities, including music participation, and community volunteer programs. The athletic program of Delaware City Schools includes 30 sports and emphasizes academics among its participants.

Delaware Hayes High School enrollment includes 8.4 percent minority students. The expenditure per student is about $4,846, with a K-12 pupil/teacher ratio of 20.56:1. The Delaware City School District has been recognized three times since 1997 for BEST practice awards. The Delaware City Schools is one of only 10 districts in the nation to take part in the Standard Bearer School District Pilot Project, a process to support continuous improvement. The district's Enrichment Program identifies and provides services to students grades K-12. The high school houses a state-of-the-art information technology lab for integration of technology into all curricular subject areas. Of the nearly 300 teachers in the Delaware City School District, 153 hold masters or doctoral degrees. The Hayes High School Athletic Department fields 30 varsity teams each year. Hayes orchestra and symphonic choirs have received nine superior ratings in the past five years. Five schools have been awarded Venture Capital Grants for school improvement initiatives.

St. Mary Catholic School serves K-8 grades. Delaware Christian School serves students of all grades. Ohio Wesleyan in downtown Delaware and the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, just south of the City, are important parts of the education offered in this community.

Ohio Wesleyan University enrolls 1,850 students from 35 states and 31 countries. The level of academic excellence has earned OWU the recognition as one of the 80 top liberal arts colleges in "America's Best Colleges" listing. It is also one of the "Best College Values" among the top 40 in the nation. Students live in residence halls and benefit from a large campus providing academics, athletics and services. There is a traditionally positive town-government relationship, with student volunteers in the community and coordination of institutional and cultural interests with the City. The University has traditionally influenced the international and ethnic diversity of Delaware.

Healthcare Facilities

Grady Memorial HospitalDelaware is fortunate to have a complete range of health services in the city and additional resources in the Columbus region. The Grady Memorial Hospital has served the community since 1904, providing the full range of inpatient, outpatient and 24-hour emergency services. Its medical staff includes more than 100 physicians. An intensive/coronary care unit and cardiac rehabilitation program use the latest technology. Complete diagnostic medical facilities include both CT scanning equipment and magnetic resonance imaging. Other important medical facilities are located at the Ohio State University Medical Center and community hospitals throughout the region. The community is also served by the Delaware Speech and Hearing Center, the Central Ohio Mental Health Center, and the Delaware City/County Health Department.

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