Lancaster is located near the Hocking River in the southeast part of Ohio, approximately 33 miles from the state's capital, Columbus. More than 35,000 people live within the Lancaster city limits. The town is in the midst of a rich agricultural region, producing primarily swine, dairy, and cattle farms. However, the primary industry in Lancaster is glass. In fact, in 2003 Lancaster was dubbed the "Pressed Glass Capital" of Ohio by the state legislature. Glass has been the root of Lancaster's economy since 1888, due to the abundance of sand and gas resources.
ECONOMY AND INDUSTRIES
Major industries in Lancaster include agriculture, fiberglass, and the manufacturing of meters, regulators, shoes, heating equipment, and automotive parts.
Lancaster is also home to these national companies:
- Anchor Hocking: The leading marketer and manufacturer of glass products, including drinkware, candleholders, serveware, ovenware, storage containers, and lighting fixtures. Founded in 1905, Anchor Hocking is the second-largest supplier of glassware in the United States.
- Ralston Foods/Bremner Food Group: Ralston is a national cereal manufacturer. Bremner, the cookie and cracker division of Ralston, is the largest supplier of private-label cookies and crackers in the United States.
NEIGHBORHOODS AND DISTRICTS
Lancaster's distinct neighborhoods include:
- Square 13: Along the banks of the Hocking River, this historic district is considered by architectural historians to be one of the best displays of 19th-century homes in one area. Both homes and businesses are located in this area of Lancaster.
- Carroll: This quiet, suburban neighborhood is home to mostly manufacturers and laborers.
- Main Street/Marietta Road: Both owners and renters reside in this quiet, upper-middle-income area of Lancaster.
- City Center: As the downtown portion of Lancaster, this is a more urban area. These historic homes are mostly inhabited by seniors over the age of 65. This is a walkable part of town, with well-groomed sidewalks and a logical checkerboard street layout.
- Ohio Glass Museum: Displays of educational exhibits highlight the importance of glass to the Lancaster area. Visitors are taken through the development and production of industrial, blown, and art glass.
- The Decorative Arts Center of Ohio: This statewide organization provides workshops, exhibitions, art classes, and public programs that focus on research and exploration of the decorative arts.
- Covered Bridges: After the state of Pennsylvania, Fairfield County has the most original covered bridges still standing in the United States-nearly 20 covered bridges can be spotted around the county. Most of the bridges were built between 1871 and 1907.
- Mount Pleasant: A sandstone bluff that stands more than 250 feet tall, this bluff was once called "Standing Stone" by early Native American residents of Lancaster. It is possible to climb to the top of Mount Pleasant by accessing it through a trail in Rising Park that travels through the woods and to the bluff. From the top of the bluff the whole city of Lancaster can be seen. And on the clearest days, the skyline of nearby Columbus is visible.
- Sherman House: Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman and his brother Sen. John Sherman were born in Lancaster. The Sherman House is the house they were born in and today serves as a Civil War Museum offering daily tours.
- Alley Park: a handicap-accessible park with fishing, hiking trails, and picnic facilities
- Hocking Park: softball and baseball fields and a picnic area
- Miller Park: outdoor pool and football and softball fields
- Rising Park: fishing, hiking trails, softball, tennis, soccer, sledding, a playground, and horseshoes
- Cederlen Park: softball, baseball, tennis, and picnic facilities
Lancaster is home to the Lancaster campus of Ohio University. This campus has been open for more than 50 years and offers associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees.
Lancaster City Schools has one high school, two junior high schools, and eight elementary schools.
- Lancaster Festival: Held at and around the Lancaster branch of Ohio University, this 12-day celebration is a mix of music and the arts and features more than 75 performances and an ArtWalk of exhibits.
- Fairfield County Fair: Held much later in the year then most county fairs, the Fairfield County Fair is held annually in October. The fair offers truck, tractor, and horse pulls; demolition derbies; concerts; bands; and horse races. The fair also has several exhibits and rides for the whole family.